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Pay.UK knocks back Faster Payments fees to cover APP fraud

15/11/2019

Proposals by seven UK banks to levy a per transaction fee for for certain Faster Payment transactions as a means to provide a long-term, sustainable funding arrangement for the reimbursement of APP scam victims, have been knocked back by governing body Pay.UK following an industry-wide consultation.

Pay.UK says it received 41 responses to its call for input from a range of different types of Payment Service Providers (PSPs), as well as some businesses and charities. The responses were split in terms of support for the rule change – with 12 respondents in favour of the proposal, 24 opposed to it and five stating no firm view. Only a third of payment service providers reported that they would be willing to pay the fee.

Many of the naysayers were concerned that the rule changes would introduce unjustifiable cross-subsidies and may, in fact, have a negative impact on incentives to reduce fraud/fraud costs.

A significant number of this group consider that better incentives for fraud control would be created by a so called “self-funding model” – whereby the cost of customer reimbursement for “no-blame” would be provided by the customer’s own PSP, with that PSP then in the best position to manage the risk of APP fraud to its own business and customers.

Pay.UK has therefore been forced to conclude that there is “no industry consensus” to finance a central fund to reimburse innocent victims of APP fraud.

APP fraudsters have become adept at tricking customers into authorising payments into scam accounts, using a variety of social engineering cons and electronic trickery to dupe their victims into thinking the payouts are legitimate.

The industry has recently implemented a Voluntary Code which agrees to refund all customers who fall for APP scams, provided they did everything expected from under the Code.

To fund this compensation, as an interim arrangement a number of the launch signatories of the Code established a “no blame” fund to provide reimbursements from implementation until a new long-term funding arrangement is in place.

The industry’s failure to agree a robust model for refunding customers has been recently criticised by a scathing Treasury Select Committee report, which suggested that the Code should be made compulsory and applied retrospectively. MPs have also called for a 24-hour delay on a subset of Faster Payments transactions to give people the chance to consider if they are being defrauded.

In a statement, Pay.UK says that it is “now calling on industry and regulators to work together to find a solution that gives customers peace of mind and meets the needs of different types of payment providers”.

Stephen Jones, chief executive of industry lobby UK Finance, expresses disappointment that a solution to the problem has yet to be reached.

He says the industry will continue to call for new legislation to make the Code mandatory and agrees with the Treasury Committee and consumer group Which? that issues of liability and reimbursement should best be addressed by new laws rather than just a voluntary Code alone.

“We urge any future government to work together with the Payment Systems Regulator to put news laws in place quickly that ensure victims are protected and reimbursed,” he adds.

Author: Kate Nelson