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What is a difference between payment routing and payment fraud detection?

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

Payment routing and payment fraud detection are two distinct processes within the realm of financial transactions, and they serve different purposes in the payment ecosystem. Here's a brief explanation of each and the key differences between them:

Payment Routing

Payment routing is the process of directing a payment from the payer to the payee through various channels and intermediaries, ensuring that the transaction reaches its intended destination. It involves determining the best and most efficient path for the payment to follow, which can include decisions on the payment method, payment processors, banks, and payment networks to use. Payment routing focuses on optimizing the flow of funds and reducing transaction costs, while ensuring the payment reaches its intended recipient as quickly and securely as possible. Key points about payment routing:

  • Objective: Optimize the path and channels used to complete a financial transaction.

  • Focus: Efficiency, cost optimization, and reliability of the payment process.

  • Factors Considered: Factors like transaction speed, cost, currency conversion, and routing paths are considered.

  • Examples: Choosing between ACH, wire transfer, or credit card for a payment based on cost and speed considerations.

Payment routing is typically implemented using a combination of event filtering and rules. These two components work together to determine how to process each payment transaction based on various criteria. Here's how they are commonly used:

1. Event Filtering:

  • Event filtering involves the initial screening of payment transactions based on specific criteria or characteristics. These criteria can include factors such as the payment amount, payment method, origin of the transaction, and more.

  • Event filtering helps identify transactions that meet certain predefined conditions. For example, it can be used to filter out low-value transactions or transactions that don't meet certain requirements.

  • Event filtering narrows down the set of transactions that need further processing and routing, making the process more efficient.

2. Rules-Based Routing:

  • After the initial event filtering, rules-based routing comes into play. Rules are defined to make decisions about how to process a payment based on various conditions and criteria.

  • Rules can be defined to determine the routing path for a payment, such as choosing between different payment processors, banks, or payment gateways based on specific transaction attributes.

  • Rules can be highly customizable and can consider factors like transaction speed, cost, currency conversion, and other business-specific requirements.

For example, consider a scenario where an e-commerce platform receives a payment. Event filtering might first identify the payment method, currency, and transaction amount. Then, rules can be applied to decide which payment processor to use based on these attributes. This combination allows for flexibility and customization in determining the optimal processing path for each payment transaction.

Payment Fraud Detection

Payment fraud detection is the process of identifying and preventing fraudulent or unauthorized transactions. It involves the use of various security mechanisms and technologies to recognize and block fraudulent activities within the payment system. Fraud detection systems analyze transaction data, user behavior, and other relevant information to identify patterns or anomalies that suggest potential fraud. The main goal of payment fraud detection is to protect financial institutions, businesses, and consumers from financial losses due to fraudulent activities. Key points about payment fraud detection:

  • Objective: Identify and prevent fraudulent or unauthorized transactions.

  • Focus: Security and risk mitigation.

  • Factors Considered: Transaction patterns, user behavior, IP addresses, geolocation, and other data are analyzed to detect anomalies.

  • Examples: Flagging a credit card transaction as suspicious if it's from an unusual location or significantly deviates from the cardholder's typical spending behavior.

The order of implementation for payment routing and payment fraud detection can vary depending on the specific requirements. In many cases, both payment routing and payment fraud detection are implemented in parallel. Payment routing is typically implemented early in the process, as it's essential to have a reliable and efficient payment infrastructure in place for processing legitimate transactions. Payment fraud detection is also implemented early in the process, often concurrently with payment routing, as it's crucial to safeguard the payment system from fraudulent activities from the start.


In summary, the key difference between payment routing and payment fraud detection lies in their primary objectives and areas of focus. Payment routing is primarily concerned with optimizing the path and channels for legitimate payments, while payment fraud detection is focused on identifying and preventing fraudulent or unauthorized transactions. Both processes are crucial in the world of financial transactions, but they serve distinct purposes within the payment ecosystem.

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