BANKS could charge customers to transfer money of more than £30 under proposed plans that would help fund fraud compensation schemes.
The idea has been put forward by payment services provider Pay.UK and would see banks pay a 2.9p transaction fee per transfer – but it could passed on to customers.
The money made from the fees would be put into a central fund to be used to pay out compensation to victims of fraud.
It comes after new rules were introduced in May to make banks cough up if a customers unwittingly transferred cash to a fraudster, known as Authorised Push Payment (APP).
Before, they only paid out to victims of unauthorised scams, such as if your credit card was stolen.
But banks could pass on the transfer charges to customers every time they make a payment of £30 or more.
What to do if you think you’ve been scammed
HERE'S what to do if you think you've been stung by a bank transfer scam:
- Contact your bank or card provider immediately to notify them of the fraud – urgency is needed so your bank can try and trace the money and prevent any further attempts to steal your cash.
- Notify crime reporting agency Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040. If Action Fraud is able to look into your case, it will provide updates on its investigation. But even simply reporting fraud may help police as part of a wider investigation.
- Monitor your credit report for suspcious transactions or credit requests as fraudsters may try their luck again.
- If you're struggling to cope with being a victim of crime, contact charity Victim Support. You can do this online or by calling 0808 1689 111.
They could also be passed on through cuts in savings rates or increased borrowing charges.
Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, said: "It is vital that a long term sustainable "no-blame" reimbursement pot for scam victims is established quickly, and it should be collectively funded by the banking industry.
"However, it must not lead to banks directly passing fees on to their customers, who shouldn't be left footing the bill for this crime."
Last year, there were almost 85,000 cases of bank transfer fraud, leaving Brits £354.3million out of pocket.
Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, RBS and Santander have signed up to the new compensation code, while TSB has launched its own Fraud Refund Guarantee scheme.
The proposed plans are currently in a consultation period until October and a decision is expected to be made at the end of November.
Eric Leenders from UK Finance, which represents the banks, said that the proposed system will "provide long-term, sustainable funding" for reimbursing fraud victims. He added: "Criminals are indiscriminate, often using information stolen in data breaches to make their scams seem genuine.
"This funding system will effectively serve as a centralised insurance policy which would fairly distribute the risk from fraud across the industry, while supporting new firms entering the market."
APP has seen people conned out of large amounts of cash, such as landscape gardener David Hunt who lost nearly £10,000 when scammers pretended to be from HMRC, and grandmother Jo Wilson, who had her £40,000 life savings stolen.
Experts have previously warned that banks could dodge issuing refunds to fraud victims by asking them to tick a box when making payments.
How to protect yourself from fraudsters
ACTION Fraud recommends taking the following advice to stay safe:
- When making a purchase, be suspicious of any requests to pay by bank transfer or virtual currency instead of safer methods, such as credit card or payment services such as PayPal.
- Listen to your instincts: If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Don’t pay for goods or services unless you know and trust the individual or business.
- Personal information obtained from data breaches is making it increasingly easier for fraudsters to create highly targeted phishing messages and calls – watch out for these.
- You shouldn’t assume the caller is genuine just because they’re able to provide some basic details about you.
- Always be suspicious of unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information.
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