Banking lobby UK Finance has floated the idea of imposing a universal tax on funds transfers which banks could dip into to compensate victims of push payments fraud.
Push payments fraud, which happens when businesses or individuals are conned into sending money to a fraudulent account to pay for goods or services, has become a political hot potato in UK financial circles.
Statistics released by UK Finance show that, in the first half of 2018, consumers lost ￡92.9 million because of this type of fraud.
The UK's Payment Systems regulator has been working with banks and consumer groups to develop an industry code for reimbursing victims of APP scams.
Last month saw the publication of a draft voluntary code drawn up by a steering group of UK banks and consumer rights campaigners.
One sticking point which has yet to be resolved occurs in instances where a victim of an APP scam has met their requisite level of care, and so should be reimbursed, but no bank or other Payment Service Provider involved in the payment journey has breached their own level of care.
In a presentation to The UK's treasury Select Committee, UK Finance chief Stephen Jones suggested that “a tiny levy on each payment” made in the UK could be a suitable mechanism to resolve the deadlock.
“Customers will pay if the banks have to pay,” Jones told MPS. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch here. It’s a question of how can the cost be fairly distributed across the system.”
The proposal has been derided by consumers groups and cyber-fraud firms. Brooks Wallace, head of Emea at fraud prevention out Trusted Knight comments: "Mr Jones talks about reducing financial incentives for cyber criminals, but asking consumers to pay the bill does nothing to stop the ultimate payday for the criminal. Rather, it seems like a cynical attempt among banks - who know that online crime is growing - to shift financial responsibility to the customer before it really starts to impact their bottom line."