Call for levy on con­sumers to help fi­nance firms foot the bill for bank trans­fer fraud

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Iain With­ers

CON­SUMERS should pay a tax on all pay­ments to help foot the bill for com­pen­sat­ing vic­tims of fraud, a lobby group for banks has ar­gued.

UK Fi­nance chief Stephen Jones told MPs on the Trea­sury com­mit­tee lenders should not al­ways be on the hook for payouts when crim­i­nals trick peo­ple into trans­fer­ring money.

Fig­ures last month showed £145m was stolen through “au­tho­rised push pay­ment” scams over the first half of the year, with £31m re­turned.

Lenders have re­sisted sug­ges­tions they should pro­vide blan­ket com­pen­sa­tion to pay­ment fraud vic­tims.

Mr Jones said “a tiny levy on each pay­ment” made in the UK could be a so­lu­tion to meet the ris­ing cost of eco­nomic crimes. “Cus­tomers will pay if the banks have to pay,” the former San­tander ex­ec­u­tive said. “It’s a ques- tion of how can the cost be fairly dis­trib­uted across the sys­tem.”

Gareth Shaw, money ex­pert at con­sumer group Which?, said: “The cost needs to sit with those that are best placed to man­age the risk and pro­tect cus­tomers, which is the banks.”

The bank­ing in­dus­try and con­sumer groups launched joint plans to crack down on fraud last month, in­clud­ing a code ad­vis­ing lenders on when they should re­fund vic­tims. But there was no agree­ment on who should pay com­pen­sa­tion when both banks and con­sumers had acted ap­pro­pri­ately.

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