Skip to main content Skip to footer

Which? super-complaint on payment scams

Find out what we're doing and what happens next

Working at a desk

In September 2016 the consumer group Which? submitted a super-complaint to us about payment scams.

This page tells you more about the complaint, what we are doing, the time-frames and next steps, as well as providing further information about super-complaints more generally.

We’ll keep this page updated with the latest relevant information.

Which?’s super-complaint

We received the super-complaint, ‘Consumer safeguards in the market for push payments', on 23 September 2016. 

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 consumers from harm.

Read the super-complaint in full.

On 16 December 2016 we published our formal response to the super-complaint.

You can also read the press release we issued at the time we published our formal response.

What is a super-complaint?

Legislation we operate under, the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013, says that certain representative bodies can complain to us if they believe that features of the payment systems market are, or appear to be, significantly damaging to the interests of service-users. The PSR has to respond to a super-complaint in 90 calendar days.

What happens now?

Our research identified three main issues that need to be addressed:

  • The way banks currently work together in responding to reports of APP scams needs to improve.
  • There is some evidence to suggest that some banks could do more to identify potentially fraudulent incoming payments and to prevent accounts falling under the influence of scammers.
  • The data available on the scale and types of APP scams is of poor quality.

To help address these concerns we have secured agreement from Financial Fraud Action UK to help bring about change:

  • Industry, liaising with the Information Commissioner’s Office as appropriate, to develop a common understanding of what information can be shared under the current law, and the key legal barriers to sharing further relevant information (for example, information that would help victims recover their money).
  • Industry to develop a common approach or best practice standards that sending and receiving PSPs should follow when responding to instances of reported APP scams. We would expect this to cover issues such as the availability of fraud specialists and processes for agreeing indemnity agreements between banks.
  • Industry to develop, collect and publish robust APP scam statistics, to address the lack of clear data on the scale and scope of the problem, and to enable monitoring of the issue over time

Further reading

We've created a factsheet that summarises the key points and information from our formal response to the super-complaint.

Read our press statement when we first received the super-complaint in September 2016.