UK regulator PSR receives super-complaint on Push Payments from consumer watchdog Which?

UK payments systems regulator PSR has received a “super-complaint” from Which? relating to concerns it has around consumer safeguards in the market for push payments.

Which? is the largest consumer body in the UK, with over 680,000 members that subscribe to its magazine, plus over 335,000 online subscribers. Which? is best known for doing things such as testing household products including washing machines and digital cameras. However it gets involved in virtually all areas of importance to consumers.

What is a super-complaint?

The UK Financial Services Banking Reform Act of 2013 states that certain representative bodies can complain to the PSR if they believe that features of the payment systems market are, or appear to be, significantly damaging to the interests of service-users. This is known as a “super-complaint”.

Which? is concerned that when consumers are tricked into transferring money to a fraudster via a ‘push’ payment (such as when the consumer instructs their bank to send money) there is not an appropriate level of protection compared to other types of payment.

Specifically, Which? believes an investigation is needed to address the following:

  • The extent to which banks could change their conduct to reduce consumer harm from scams that trick people into authorising push payments to a fraudster.
  • Possible changes to legislation or regulation, to change the incentives on banks and payment system operators, and to ensure that more is done to manage the risks from these types of scams and to protect consumer from harm.

psr-logoThe PSR will now examine the evidence Which? has supplied and gather its own to build a clearer picture of the issue and decide a course of action.

While the super-complaint has been made to the PSR, the PSR will work closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on the matter as well as any other relevant organisations. Under UK rules, a super-complaint may not be made to the FCA if it is a one which could be made to the Payment Systems Regulator.

The PSR must respond to a super-complaint within 90 calendar days. The possible outcomes include, but are not limited to:

  • regulatory action by the PSR (including, but not limited to, taking enforcement action against a participant or participants in a regulated payment system, or launching a market review under our regulatory powers)
  • using our competition law powers (including launching an investigation into anti-competitive conduct of a participant or launching a market study)
  • initiating a review of our relevant directions, requirements or guidance
  • referring the complaint to another authority or regulatory agency that may be better able to address the complaint
  • initiating further assessment of the matters raised in the complaint
  • deciding that no action should be taken

This is the first super-complaint that the PSR has received. The PSR became operational in April 2015.


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