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UK regulator won't make banks liable for payment scam losses

Banks could take further steps to combat potentially fraudulent payments and prevent account holders from falling under the influence of scammers, the U.K.'s Payment Systems Regulator said Dec. 16.

But in responding to a "super complaint" lodged by consumer body Which? in September, the regulator said there was no sufficient evidence to justify a change in liability, including holding banks liable for reimbursing victims of fraud via an authorized push payment, or APP.

APP scams involve customers being tricked into authorizing the transfer of money from their account to another account. Such transactions, which can be done via online banking, over the phone or in person, are completed instantly. Which? had argued that victims of APP scams are not receiving sufficient protection from fraudsters compared to other types of payments, such as card and direct debit transactions.

However, the regulator said it will assess whether there is a need to propose changes to the obligations or incentives that banks have for these types of scams.

"Tens of thousands of people have, combined, lost hundreds of millions of pounds to these scams, but the data we have seen so far, is incomplete," said Hannah Nixon, managing director of the Payment Systems Regulator. "We need a concerted and coordinated industry-wide approach to better protect consumers."

The Payment Systems Regulator is part of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority.