In May 2019, many of the UK's largest banks and building societies signed up to a voluntary code requiring them to reimburse customers who are victims of fraud except where the customers have been grossly negligent.
However, according to the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), it now appears that many of the banks are taking a very restrictive approach to their obligation to reimburse defrauded customers. From the PSR's data, it appears that the most generous bank has provided full refunds to 6% of its defrauded customers and partial refunds to 93% of them (rejecting 1% of claims). Whereas the least generous bank has only fully refunded 1% of its customers and given a partial refund to 3% of them, meaning that it has rejected 96% of the claims.
This is disappointing news at a time when authorised push payment fraud is on the rise. It also flies in the face of the obligation which the banks themselves signed up to last year. As a result, the PSR is calling for reform of the code. This call for reform also comes on the heels of comments made by the Treasury Committee in November 2019 expressing their view that the code should be made compulsory for all banks and should have retrospective effect back to 2016 meaning that customers could claim a refund for frauds which were carried out up to four years ago.
Chris Hemsley, managing director of the PSR, is calling for urgent reform of the voluntary repayment code after the analysis found that in most cases banks simply left victims, many of whom lost life-changing sums of money, to bear the financial burden of fraud.