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Kevin Smith Leads Panel Discussion on Authorised Push Payment (APP) Fraud at Payments Leaders’ Summit (PLS) in UK

Updated: May 4


An expert panel at the most recent Payment Leaders’ Summit in London in April 2024[1] discussed Authorised Push Payment (APP) Fraud as it remains the scourge of the UK financial services industry.

 

Kevin Smith, Apart from Riskskill, is also Payments Risk Director at the Payments Consulting Network[2] led a panel discussion at the summit, that drew the very successful two-day thought-leadership event to a close. Subject matter experts on this controversial subject included Claire Simpson (Senior Policy Manager, Payment Systems Regulator), Virraj Jatania (CEO at Pockit), Peter May (Group Head of Fraud at HSBC) and Chris Ainsley (Head of Fraud and Risk Management at Santander Bank UK).

 

Statistics: Full fraud reporting is available via UK Finance[3], but latest published statistics reported £240m lost to APP fraud activity in the first half of 2023, with nearly 20% of this by value reported by impacted businesses versus the remainder by individual consumers. A report from the Payment Systems Regulator published in October 2023 highlighted the leading financial organisations that contribute to the APP fraud activity send and receive statistics[4].

 

There are various types of APP fraud scams, which are either:

 

·       ‘malicious payee’, for example, tricking someone into purchasing goods, which do not exist or are never received, or

·       ‘malicious redirection’, for example a fraudster impersonating bank staff to get someone to transfer funds out of their bank account and into that of a fraudster.

 

Classification: The complexity of APP fraud scams and reporting, means that further classification aids identification, communication, reporting and analysis, namely:

 

·       Purchase

·       Invoice and mandate

·       Investment

·       CEO

·       Romance

·       Impersonation: Police and Bank staff

·       Advance Fee

·       Impersonation: Other

 

Panel Discussions included economic and social challenges, earlier industry actions, planned actions and what more needs to be done. Key to this discussion was the recognition of a need for collaboration between financial service providers, as well as with external parties, including but not limited to end-users, consumer groups, telcos, law enforcement, social media platforms and UK Government.

 

The introduction of shared financial liability between sender and receiver organisations from October 2024 was discussed. This replaces the current ‘temporary’ voluntary code for reimbursement. It will galvanise sender and receiver organisations to ‘step-up’ transaction monitoring, account opening and other ongoing monitoring, customer communications and direct engagement. More statistical data will be provided to Pay.UK[5] by all payment service providers, who will report enhanced analysis in time for an October 2024 liability shift; which will all enable a better outcome to victims of APP fraud.

 

The challenges are varied and complex, but the industry continues to develop and deliver better controls and outcomes that help improve detection and prevention of more APP frauds. This includes use of Confirmation of Payee (CoP) functionality, more customer education and communication, and customer engagement to highlight APP fraud activity, as well as better internal reporting and MI.

 

Recent announcements from UK Law Enforcement demonstrate the benefits of cross-industry collaboration to disrupt and break complex APP fraud activities.

 

In the end, some panel members felt that there is still more to be done, e.g. a) social media platforms should become more engaged, as many APP fraud activities are initiated and conducted there; b) the balance of actions and work undertaken by Fintech and the larger payment providers may need to be reviewed; and c) further actions and the balance/ values of the actions can be re-assessed once more statistics and reporting starts to become available through Pay.UK.


 

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Author: Kevin Smith, Payments Risk Director, London, Payments Consulting Network

 

Kevin Smith has over 30 years’ experience in the retail management, financial services and payments industries. With 17 years at Visa globally he has a proven track record in developing and executing innovative and practical business strategy, product development and service definition in card acceptance and acquiring. With both marketing and risk management backgrounds, he brings a pragmatic approach to business development.

 

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Payments Consulting Network is a knowledge-based partner for the Payments Leaders’ Summit 2024 series.                                                                                     

 


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