Cost of living: Is enough being done to tackle scams and fraud?

by Anthonia Kehinde, The Payments Association

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In the first of a series of Financial Crime 360 interviews, The Payments Association asks the Payment Systems Regulator’s Head of Policy Kate Fitzgerald about her work and what she will be discussing at the Financial Crime 360 conference.

Kate Fitzgerald has more than two decades of payments expertise across companies including Lloyds Bank. TSB, and Nationwide Building Society. Now at the PSR, she is responsible for all the PSR’s policy development projects, ranging from APP scams, the future of open banking payments, Account to Account retail payments, market reviews and the New Payments Architecture.

“We have just finished our card acquiring market review and we are starting to turn our sights on to card fees now,” she tells The Payments Association. “We are also very focused on APP scams,” she adds.

 

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Q: Kate, can you tell us about the PSR’s next focus?

Kate: Our strategy, published in January 2022, focuses on four key areas: access and choice, protection, competition and unlocking account-to-account payments.

In September, we released a consultation focuses on preventing APP scams and protecting consumers. We are focused on getting the best outcomes for users.

It is important that people can trust the payments system. Consumers need to be able to make sure that their payments are safe when they use faster payments.

Q: How is the PSR working with wider industry and how are you balancing all the different needs?

Kate: We want to make sure that UK payments system meet people’s needs and that they are protected. We also want to make sure there is effective competition, because that leads to better services for everyone. We want payment systems to be efficient and commercially sustainable.

We have done a lot of work with Pay.UK and Payment Service Providers. On all our projects we ensure that we talk to a broad range of stakeholders, including consumers and consumers groups. Our role is to make sure that the problems we see are addressed with the policy proposals we deliver.

We’ve just completed a joint TechSprint with the FCA, where we worked with various organisations to look at different ways of tackling fraud. We are also holding a lot of roundtables and bilateral meetings with banks to talk about our APP scams consultations. We are making sure that we understand the consumer voice in this.

In October, we had a day in Birmingham with Britain Thinks, where we spoke to a large group of consumers, some of whom have been a victim of fraud. We heard directly from them, about their views on APP scams and what their thoughts are on our proposals.

Q: What measures have been taken by the PSR to combat financial crime?

Kate: Confirmation of Payee has been a really important step. We are really pleased to see banks implementing this and we intend that over the coming years they will achieve 99% coverage.

We want to ensure that the right incentives are in place for banks to stop fraud happening and that there is consistent reimbursement, for all victims, from all banks, not just the ones that are signed up to the voluntary code.

In the CRM Code today, the cost of refunding fraud usually falls to the sending bank. We think that the receiving bank has a big part to play, therefore we would like to dial up the incentives for the receiving bank too.

Our proposal is to get the right incentives in place for fraud to be stopped, investigated, and reimbursed at the receiving end, which is why in our latest consultation we propose that liability for reimbursement is split between the sending and receiving bank.

Q: What does success look like to you?

Kate: We’ll achieve success if people feel like they can trust the payment system and we don’t have a system where fraudsters are allowed to target pick and defraud people. So, nirvana for me would be everybody working jointly and really hard to keep fraudsters out of our payment systems every day.

Q: Why is your session on payment fraud at the Financial Crime 360 Conference important? What do you hope attendees will get out of this session?

Kate: What I hope is that between us as a panel, we manage to convey a joined-up way that everybody is working to tackle fraud, because it’s not just about regulation. It’s also about data, investigation and action. It’s about the industry working and finding innovative ways to tackle these fraudsters. I hope that people come away with a view of many of the different joined up ways that everybody is trying to tackle this problem.

Have you registered for this year’s Financial Crime 360 Conference on 22 November? It has two streams focusing on fraud and anti-money laundering. Click here to see the agenda and register: https://thepaymentsassociation.org/site/financial-crime-360/

Did you miss the financial crime podcast on scams and fighting fraudsters? Listen now: https://thepaymentsassociation.org/article/podcast/fighting-fraudsters-how-can-the-payments-industry-stay-ahead/

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Join The Payments Association and unlock a world of benefits:

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