The “go-live” date for new mandatory reimbursement rules in cases where people are tricked into transferring money to fraudsters could be pushed back by around six months.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) previously consulted on a starting date of April 2 2024.
But it is now seeking views on a date of October 7 2024, which the regulator feels is more in line with industry evidence it has received to its consultation on when necessary systems will be in place.
Consumer group Which? said the delay means people who would have been protected “risk facing devastating financial losses on top of the emotional ordeal of being targeted by scammers”.
Currently, many banks have signed up to a voluntary reimbursement system for authorised push payment (APP) fraud, but there have been concerns about rules not always being applied consistently and customers sometimes being expected by firms to have a high level of technical knowledge.
A document published by the PSR on Thursday said: “The response from industry was that an April date was unachievable.
“We have listened to this feedback, and we would like to now invite views on further options and our preferred implementation (go-live) date of October 7 2024.”
It added: “We will not be confirming the implementation date of the reimbursement requirement in this consultation.
“Instead, we plan to confirm the implementation (go-live) date alongside the finalised legal instruments in December 2023.”
Paul Davis, director of fraud prevention at TSB, which operates its own fraud refund guarantee, said: “Since introducing our fraud refund guarantee in 2019, we have seen first-hand the life-changing impact that fraud refunds have on scam victims – so it’s clear that mandated refunds for all bank customers can’t come soon enough.
“But crucially, social media and telcos must step up and act to stop fraud from happening in the first place.”
Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “Hundreds of millions of pounds are lost every year to bank transfer fraud, and victims desperately need stronger protections in the form of mandatory reimbursement in all but exceptional cases.
“It has been seven years since Which? first launched a super-complaint over the treatment of bank transfer fraud victims, and progress towards creating a reimbursement system that doesn’t blame innocent victims for being duped by callous fraudsters has been frustratingly slow. This further delay by the regulator means people who should have been protected risk facing devastating financial losses on top of the emotional ordeal of being targeted by scammers.
“There must be no backtracking on the PSR’s proposals to create a fairer and more consistent system of APP reimbursement. With bank transfer fraud continuing to cause misery for so many consumers, these changes can’t come soon enough.”
Chris Hemsley, managing director at the PSR, said: “The PSR is leading the way on the fight against APP fraud in the UK, providing consumers with a significant new level of protection against this devastating crime.
“As we progress with our plans, today’s proposed direction builds upon our recent consultations, making sure all the right foundations are in place for the new requirements to be implemented by industry as soon as possible and in the most effective way possible.”