One step forward…

…and another step back. The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has responded early to our super-complaint.

Just over two months ago, Which? asked the regulator to:

  • formally investigate the scale of bank transfer fraud and how much it is costing people; and
  • take action and propose new measures and greater liability for banks to ensure people are better protected when they are tricked into making a bank transfer.

In less than two months hundreds of supporters shared their experiences and reported losing over £5.5 million to bank transfer scams.

Its response is a mixed bag.

The good news

The PSR agrees with us that bank transfer scams are a serious problem, that it’s a growing issue, and much more needs to be done to tackle it. It has asked the banks to set out better ways to respond to these scams, and agree how they will share data with each other  to stop people losing money and catch the thieves quickly. The regulator also found evidence that banks could do more to identify fraudulent payments in the first place.

The bad news

But the PSR has said it’s not yet convinced that banks should be made liable for money lost to bank transfer scams. By failing to adequately address the issue of liability, it has let the banks off the hook, giving them little incentive to do more to protect their customers.

The regulator hasn’t ruled out shifting the liability. But we need to keep up the pressure to make this happen – so banks put as much effort into tackling bank transfer scams as they do for credit card and debit card fraud.

In the meantime, we expect banks to swiftly take forward the actions they’ve been given.