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The digital pound: A critical analysis of its evolution and future

Conversations around a digital pound are growing louder as the weeks roll by. With use cases popping up around the globe, is it time Britain followed suit? In a similar fashion to the way coins largely made way for banknotes, digital currency is the next natural progression in the evolution of money, whether consumers like the idea of it or not.

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Big Tech

Is Big Tech a help or hindrance to the payments sector?

Since 2019, the UK’s banking sector has been refunding customers who become victims of authorised push payment (APP) scams, causing heated debate among industry professionals who believe the responsibility should lie elsewhere.
This year, rules laid out by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) in 2023 will come into force. The rules stipulate that both the sending and receiving firms should hold equal liability when reimbursing fraud victims in most cases. The rules have received widespread criticism from insiders and industry bodies alike. UK Finance has hit out at the PSR’s rules, which avoid the mention of Big Tech in the conversation.

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Stablecoins

Regulation spotlight: Future of UK stablecoin regulation

On 30 October 2023, HM Treasury (HMT) issued its long-awaited policy document on the regulation of fiat-backed stablecoins in the UK. Framed as “Phase 1” of the UK’s approach to cryptoasset regulation, HMT’s paper was quickly followed by discussion papers from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Bank of England (BOE) on the future regulatory approach to such stablecoins.

Although there are a number of steps to go before the stablecoin regime comes into effect (with implementation anticipated in 2025), the 2023 papers give helpful insights into the direction of the new regime.

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FCA announcement

FCA publishes guidance on money mule prevention

The FCA recently published its latest guidance on detecting and preventing money mules. This came off the back of the national Economic Crime Plan 2 and Fraud Strategy that has been introduced to focus on disrupting money mule activity.

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From Vulnerable Customers to the New Consumer Duty – Unpicking the FCA’s expectations of payment and e-money institutions

There may be 12 months to implement the new rules however there is only weeks left to the initial deadline of 31 October 2022, to have a Board approved implementation plan in place to show the FCA, if requested.

This report dives deeper into the topics discussed at the webinar, and while focusing on the payments sector, it contains lessons for all regulated financial services firms. The report assesses the impact of the new Duty on how firms identify and protect customers in vulnerable circumstances and then outlines seven clear steps firms should follow to prepare to meet the demands of an increasingly active regulator.

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Embedding the Consumer Duty

Last month, our Project Regulator team spoke to the FCA about its new Consumer Duty. With only 6 months to implement the principle into business plans, what does this mean

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An Overview of Buy Now, Pay Later Regulation in the UK, EU, USA, Australia & Singapore

The exponential growth of the eCommerce sector in recent years has fueled demand for easily accessible consumer credit. One of the fastest growing trends in the online payment sphere has been that of Buy Now, Pay Later schemes, with transactions using this payment method growing by 292% between 2018 and 2020, and providers attracting $11bn in venture capital funding in 2021 alone.

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What to expect from an FCA Skilled Person Review – and how to prevent one in the first place

A webinar with Philip Creed, fscom’s Director and Head of Financial Crime was recently held, to help firms understand and respond to this development – and this blog captures some of the highlights. We will unpick the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) approach to Skilled Person reports, explain why your firm might be reviewed, and advise how best to approach one – or better yet, to avoid it happening in the first place.

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Buy Now, Pay Later is now regulated in the UK. What does the future hold for the payment method?

Buy Now, Pay Later is a rapidly growing trend in a number of market sectors, including retail, entertainment and travel. During the COVID-19 pandemic, use of the payment scheme increased fourfold in the UK, to the tune of £2.7 billion in transactions.

In this article, I’ll give a brief overview of how BNPL works and the industries where it’s most prevalent, before discussing the recent regulatory changes that have been enacted and what they mean for the future of this popular payment method.

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