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Authorised push payment scams: the role of payment system operators – final Terms of Reference

Published 30 03 2017

These final Terms of Reference confirm how we will consider the role payment system operators (PSOs) could play in minimising consumer harm caused by authorised push payment (APP) scams in the UK.

APP scams occur when someone is tricked into instructing their bank to transfer money to a fraudster. 

Why are we publishing this?

In December 2016 we committed to a package of measures aimed at reducing this type of fraud and making it harder to commit.

These final Terms of Reference outline one part of this work, specifically the work that the PSR will be doing.

In February 2017 we published draft Terms of Reference and asked stakeholders to provide us with feedback.

We received a total of 15 responses to the consultation. The majority of respondents either supported or broadly supported our proposed work.

These final Terms of Reference reflect our consideration of, and response to, the feedback we received and set out our confirmed approach.

What are PSOs?

Payment system operators (PSOs) manage the systems, such as Faster Payments Service (FPS) or CHAPS, which allow us to make payments - either by moving money from our own account to another, or by using debit and credit cards to complete a transaction.

What are the objectives of this project?

We are going to explore whether operators of push payment systems should play a greater role in preventing and responding to APP scams.

If we conclude that new measures are appropriate, we will consider whether it would be best to introduce them through regulatory action or through other approaches (for example, industry-led).

If we decide on a regulatory approach, we will develop proposals for consultation. 

Which payments will the project focus on?

The two payment systems that consumers may use when making push payments are CHAPS and FPS, so our work will centre around these systems.

Who should read this document?

This document is relevant to participants in regulated payment systems under the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 (FSBRA), (including any payment service providers which operate in the UK), consumers and consumer groups and anyone interested in our work following the Which? super-complaint.

Next steps?

Following this publication we will begin gathering information to inform our work. As well as examining existing research and analysing information that we already hold, we plan to collect additional information from market participants.

We will engage with operators, PSPs, service-users and other interested parties over the coming months. We will use a variety of methods for this engagement, which may include interviews, roundtables and site visits. We may also gather evidence through the use of specific surveys and requests for detailed information from some participants.

Indicative timetable

Date Action
Q2 2017 Information collection, including bilateral meetings with key stakeholders and issuance of any information requests
Q3 2017 Analysis of information and identification and development of any initial proposals.
Q3/Q4 2017 Publication of our report setting out our findings on the role of PSOs in APP scams. This report may include proposals for consultation

In the event that we need to alter these timings, we will provide a revised timetable on the PSR website.

We welcome stakeholders’ views and evidence that will help us inform our assessment of the key questions outlined in the Terms of Reference. 

Please send any comments to app-scam-pso-project@psr.org.uk.

Or in writing to:

APP scams project team

Payment Systems Regulator

25 The North Colonnade

Canary Wharf

London

E14 5HS