How much for a stolen credit card? The logic behind the underground pricing

A seismic shift has taken place in the underground market on the dark web -- what was once exclusive and open to those with tech savvy is now a varied, crowded and functioning eco-system of goods and transactions.

In this blog post, we will give you information about the pricing criteria of stolen credit cards and break down several other aspects of the underground credit card black market.

What kinds of credit cards are usually sold?

Not every credit card is equal. Here are most common types, and how much they are worth:

  1. Scraps cards: These are prepaid cards that contain a credit of several dollars. They are often a scam or are sold to other scammers hoping to re-sell them. These can be found in bundles of 10 for about $5.
  1. Clean prepaid cards: These are cards that are new when they are sold on the black market. They usually have a nickname like “Clean”, “Kill” or “Fresh.” They are often sold for 30-50% of the card value. There are two common types of prepaid cards: “Single charge” and “Reloadable”.

Single charge - A card that is being charged with an initial sum of money, that is also the sum to be withdrawn. These cards are usually offered without identification info, except for CC number, expiry date, CVV, and the relevant IP. Hence, they are limited in the amount of money that can be charged (few dozens to few hundreds Dollars/ Euros).

Reloadable - Cards that can be used multiple times. These cards are connected to identification info, and therefore can be loaded with bigger sums of money (few thousands Dollars/ Euros).

  1. Simple Cards: Classic cards, or “Simple”, are sold with the cardholder’s name and private details (address, email address, etc.). These are generally sold in a bundle and sometimes reused or resold to different buyers. The cost is usually between $7-10.
  1. Stealth Accounts: Stealth accounts are either gift cards or credentials for services connected to a Virtual MasterCard, such as Amazon, Venmo and Audible. Their prices vary according to the accounts type, value and brand.
  1. Prestige Cards: These are Platinum, Gold, and Corporate credit cards that are considered the most expensive but also the most reliable. Like simple cards, prestige cards are sold with identifying details like address and names. Prices for these vary from a minimum of $40 to hundreds of dollars.
  1. Combos: A combo is a bundle of credit cards, usually containing around 100, with a cost of up to $2 per card. Combos are another way to sell prepaid or simple cards on black markets, and most likely will contain a high number of reused cards.

Stolen Credit Pricing (price per card)

Credit Card grid.jpg

What affects the value of a credit card?

A variety of factors influence how much a card is worth:

  • Card type
  • Expiration date
  • Card origin: Credit cards originating from Countries with financial fortitude and stability (USA, Western Europe, Canada etc.), increase the price of the credit cards because they are characterized by citizens with high credit limits. In contrast, those originating in developing countries that traditionally suffer from higher rates of credit card fraud decrease the price of the card since there is a higher probability that the CCs won't work.
  • Credit line: The higher the limit, the more expensive the card is due to the potential for high-priced transactions before the card is discovered as stolen. Since the credit companies build customer profiles based on spending behavior, cards with a bigger line of credit will raise less suspicion when making big purchases.
  • Cardholder information, including age, gender, etc. The existence of private details of a credit card’s original owner increase the possibility that the card is valid and how it can be used. In addition, when private details match the profile of a big spender, bigger purchases can be done without raising the suspicion of the credit card company.

The nature of stolen credit cards remains the same, but the ecosystem around it is evolving quickly. We will keep our eye on the marketplace, watch this blog for updates.

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