Getting the right outcomes for the victims of APP scams


by Genevieve Marjoribanks, Head of Policy

An authorised push payment (APP) scam happens when someone is tricked into sending money to a fraudster. These crimes can have a devastating effect on those who fall victim. At the PSR, we think that someone who loses money as a result of an APP scam, despite taking reasonable care, should get their money back. 

In February 2018, we established a steering group to develop an industry code to protect people from APP scams. That steering group developed the Contingent Reimbursement Model (CRM) Code which has offered protections to customers of signatory Payment Service Providers (PSPs) – which include the UK’s biggest banks - since 28 May 2019. 

Reimbursing the innocent victims of APP scams is a widely agreed principle of the Code’s signatories and remains a top priority for the PSR. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has not only changed the way many of us make payments but has also left people across the UK more vulnerable to fraud. This means that it has never been more important for the Code to be delivering the best possible outcomes.

Since the Code’s introduction, positive steps have been taken but more still needs to be done and we want to see industry doing everything it can to prevent APP scams and protect consumers.

Protections under the CRM Code

In the world of personal banking and payments, protections for consumers have existed for some time, for example, in the form of chargeback on card payments and the Direct Debit Guarantee. 

The CRM Code adds to those protections. It sets out expectations and standards for PSPs and the circumstances in which customers should be reimbursed. It protects consumers, micro-enterprises and small charities.

Under the Code, signatory PSPs must implement and comply with the Code in a way which supports the reduction in APP scams while increasing the proportion of customers protected from their impact (for example, by preventing scams happening in the first place, repatriating funds or reimbursing victims when they have done nothing wrong) and minimising the disruption to legitimate transactions. 

Prevention not only protects customers, but it reduces industry costs and limits the flow of funds to fraudsters. This is one reason why we have consistently emphasised the need to look after customers, with a high standard of protection against APP scams. 

Implementing the Code 

Over a year on from its introduction, the CRM Code has made a real difference in protecting people making payments from their bank accounts. We can always do more