New safeguards designed to protect online and mobile payments

Two new safeguards have been announced by the UK payments industry to help protect people when they pay online or via mobile phone.

The changes, announced by the Payments Strategy Forum, will allow consumers to double check they are paying the right person. The aim is to help prevent fraud and stop accidental transfers.

“Around £755m was stolen from UK bank accounts last year and the problem looks set to worsen as criminals become more technologically savvy,” said Ruth Evans, chair of the Payments Strategy Forum. “We need to address the issue head on.”

The proposed measures are part of the first industry-wide strategy to overhaul payments in the UK.

The first new safeguard, known as ‘Confirmation of Payee’, will allow bank account holders to avoid sending payments to the wrong account, either by accident or when tricked into doing so. When a customer makes a payment online, the bank sends confirmation of the recipient and the payment will only go through when they click ‘OK’.

With the second safeguard, ‘Request to Pay’, regular payments such as utility bills or gym membership fees are only taken from a bank account when the customer authorises the payment.

Ruth Evans commented: “It’s important that we give people more control over how they manage their money. This is especially true in the ‘gig economy’ as people move away from traditional nine to five jobs, and adopt more flexible working patterns.

“The introduction of Confirmation of Payee and Request to Pay, alongside our longer term solutions for a new payments architecture, will revolutionise the way we handle money, with systems that are fit for purpose in the 21st century.”

The changes are due to come into force by 2020.

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