Chapter contents

Highlights

  • 50% reduction in chargebacks over busy holiday season
  • 5000+ bogus accounts shut down using Ravelin’s Graph Network tool
  • No specialist fraud team required
  • Deep insight into user behaviour through Ravelin’s interface
  • Ravelin weaves together the operations, finance and customer service teams

The customer

YPlan (who was acquired by TimeOut in October 2016), is all about making it as simple as possible to discover and book tickets to events through their app, operating across the UK, Ireland and Europe. They continue to grow rapidly adding venues, cities and experiences by the day, offering users excellent deals to activities ranging from cinema tickets to immersive theatre experiences.

We spoke to Astrid Verstraete, Miriam Grant and Paddy Fletcher about their decision to use Ravelin and the impact on their business. 

The challenge: stop fraud without interrupting the customer

YPlan connects users with experiences in their cities often at short notice. Key to its success is the simple and fast booking procedure on the app but in common with all on-demand businesses, reducing the barriers to buy can open up the risk of becoming a target of fraud.

We know that fraudsters who are buying cinema and theatre tickets with stolen credit cards are reselling them to make a profit but some fraudsters just want to have a good night on someone else’s dime. - Miriam Grant, Financial Operations Manager

When the legitimate card-owners saw these suspicious transactions on their cards and complained to their banks, it meant a mounting number of chargebacks each month, which was having a significant impact on margins. For finance director Paddy Fletcher, who arrived in mid-2015, getting on top of fraud was a priority from day one. 

We had a number of competing priorities. We didn't want to cap growth, nor did we want to put any more steps into signup and payment processes. At the same time, if you don’t tackle fraud immediately, it only grows into a larger problem that becomes ever more difficult to fix. When we met with Ravelin, it was clear they immediately understood our situation and had designed a product specifically to help. - Paddy Fletcher, Finance Director

Empowering operations and customer service

Introducing fraud control though did not mean hiring a fraud team. Instead they wanted to find a solution that would empower existing teams to manage the issue rather than assume the expense of hiring specialists:

I had no experience dealing with, let alone fighting fraud before joining the project. Within six months of working with Ravelin, I felt confident dealing with fraudsters and making decisions whether to ban users or not. - Astrid Verstraete, Customer Service Manager

The solution: how the introduction of Ravelin impacted the service

YPlan started using Ravelin in their fight against fraud because they wanted a solution that did more than prevent fraud, they wanted to understand their users’ behaviours better - both genuine and fraudulent.

The two companies worked closely together to understand the types of fraud that the company was seeing. Initially Ravelin recommended a combination of rules and machine learning models as this was the fastest way to embed YPlan's knowledge into a fraud prevention system and start the process of scoring their customers. 

The impact was immediate. The combination of increased focus on fraud by the team itself, the intelligence provided by Ravelin and the increased confidence in banning risky transaction saw a 50% reduction in chargebacks during the the busy holiday season. 

Using the Graph Network to root out fraudsters

Fraud graph database
 

In 2016 it soon emerged that while fraud was a problem, a potentially larger issue was the number of bogus accounts that were being created, linked in some way to confirmed fraudsters. By analysing chargebacks coming in and feeding that information into Ravelin, they were able to uncover accounts connected by email, card, device ID (both phone and browser) and address and ban them before they could become used for fraud. This has seen them shut down over 5,000 bogus accounts in the first six months of 2016 so far, with more uncovered and banned every week. 

YPlan uses graph visualisations to interrogate their own data even further, seeing connections that ought not to be there and stopping even greater numbers of fraudsters before they have the opportunity to act. 

Advice: what would the ticketing service advise other merchants to do?

Today, YPlan is using Ravelin to autoban fraudsters in their network while continuing to learn more about the ways fraudsters act. 

"We love the close communication with the Ravelin team. They are attentive and answer almost instantaneously when we write with any problems or questions. This has helped them tailor their product to us allowing us to fight fraud more effectively." - Astrid Verstraete
"We like how Ravelin aligns with our operations priorities. We need to have a frictionless sign-up process and Ravelin fits with that. It gives us the confidence to see bad actors and shut them down without interrupting the smooth experience the rest of our customers get. This is critical to a business likes ours and Ravelin gets that." - Miriam Grant
Don’t wait until it’s too late to find a partner to help you fight the fraudsters in your network. We would recommend Ravelin to anyone looking for a solution. In addition to fraud protection, they have given us unique insight into our user network. Crucially, the system can sit within our existing operations priorities and is managed by our operations team, without the need to bring in expensive, specialist technicians to manage it. The more you can know about how fraudsters are targeting you, the more effective you will be at stopping them. It is never too early to bring in fraud protection, and Ravelin’s pricing model makes it attractive from the earliest days of a consumer-facing company. - Paddy Fletcher