Which? is concerned that when consumers are tricked into transferring money to a fraudster via a ‘push’ payment (such as when the consumer instructs their bank to send money) there is not an appropriate level of protection compared to other types of payment.

Specifically, Which? believes an investigation is needed to address the following:

  • The extent to which banks could change their conduct to reduce consumer harm from scams that trick people into authorising push payments to a fraudster.
  • Possible changes to legislation or regulation, to change the incentives on banks and payment system operators, and to ensure that more is done to manage the risks from these types of scams and to protect consumer from harm.

The PSR will now examine the evidence Which? has supplied and gather its own to build a clearer picture of the issue and decide a course of action.

While the super-complaint has been made to the PSR (see Notes to Editors 2), the PSR will work closely with the Financial Conduct Authority on the matter as well as any other relevant organisations.

What happens now?

The PSR must respond to a super-complaint within 90 calendar days. The possible outcomes include, but are not limited to:

  • regulatory action by the PSR (including, but not limited to, taking enforcement action against a participant or participants in a regulated payment system, or launching a market review under our regulatory powers)
  • using our competition law powers (including launching an investigation into anti-competitive conduct of a participant or launching a market study)
  • initiating a review of our relevant directions, requirements or guidance
  • referring the complaint to another authority or regulatory agency that may be better able to address the complaint
  • initiating further assessment of the matters raised in the complaint
  • deciding that no action should be taken

This is the first super-complaint that the PSR has received. The PSR became operational in April 2015.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 (FSBRA) states that certain representative bodies can complain to the PSR if they believe that features of the payment systems market are, or appear to be, significantly damaging to the interests of service-users. This is known as a super-complaint. Read more.
  2. Under FSBRA, a super-complaint may not be made to the Financial Conduct Authority if it is a one which could be made to the Payment Systems Regulator. See FSBRA section 68.
  3. What are payment systems, how they work, and why they are important.
  4. The PSR was incorporated on 1 April 2014 and became fully operational on 1 April 2015.
  5. The PSR is the regulator and concurrent competition authority for payment systems in the UK and all participants in those payment systems (payment service providers, operators and infrastructure providers to those payment systems).
  6. The PSR has three statutory objectives:
  • to promote effective competition in the markets for payment systems and for services provided by those systems, including between operators, payment service providers and also infrastructure providers, in the interest of service-users;
  • to promote the development of innovation in payment systems, in particular the infrastructure used to operate payment systems, in the interest of service-users;
  • to ensure that payment systems are operated and developed in a way that considers and promotes the interests of service-users.