Published On: Tue, Mar 12th, 2024

Banks given more time to investigate payments under new anti-fraud laws | Personal Finance | Finance

Banks are being given extra time to stop scammers in their tracks before sending payments, according to new draft legislation revealed on Tuesday. This means that payment service providers like banks will have more time to get in touch with customers, the police and others when they suspect fraud before a payment is sent.

The new rules will give providers an additional 72 hours to look into payments, but only if there’s a good reason to think fraud or dishonesty is involved and they need more time to contact the customer or other parties such as law enforcement, the Government explained.

These changes will mainly apply to authorised push payments (APPs).

Over the past few years, the UK has seen a rise in authorised push payment fraud. In 2022 alone, victims lost a whopping £485 million to these types of scams, the Government reported.

APP scams occur when sneaky fraudsters trick victims into starting and approving a transaction, often by pretending to be legitimate organisations like banks, businesses or even the police.

Until now, payment service providers have generally had to process payments by the end of the next business day, which doesn’t leave much time for investigations.

The Government plans to present this legislation to Parliament so it can start being enforced by October 7 the same day new protections against APP fraud for consumers will kick in.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Bim Afolami has spoken out: “Fraudsters spin whole webs of lies and fabricate all sorts of things to convince people to send them money this legislation will give banks, other payment service providers and law enforcement more time to get in touch with victims and break the fraudster’s spell before money is sent.”

“The Government is absolutely committed to tackling fraud and recognises the impact of this devastating crime on victims this legislation is another tool in our arsenal to fight fraud.”

In December 2023, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) announced new rules to protect people from APP fraud. These rules will start on October 7 this year.

Right now, many banks have agreed to a code that says they should pay back money lost to scams, but it hasn’t always worked the same way for everyone. This means getting your money back might depend on which bank you use.

The regulator said its new rules will make a big difference in stopping fraud and will mean most of the cash stolen by scammers will be given back to the people who lost it.

They also said that the most money you can get back if you’re scammed will be £415,000. You might have to pay up to £100 yourself before you can claim the rest back.

This £415,000 limit matches the most the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) can give when it looks into complaints.

In addition to the newly introduced requirement to refund victims, the PSR has previously shared plans to push all payment firms to boost their efforts in spotting and stopping APP fraud from the get-go. This includes sharing the cost of reimbursement equally between the “sending” and “receiving” firms.

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