Many people still being left vulnerable to bank transfer scams, says Which?

Many banks and building societies are yet to sign up to a new code that helps to protect people from payment scams, research from Which? has found.

Research from the consumer group found that, as at the start of July, 12 out of 27 UK banks and building societies had not yet signed up to new voluntary standards.

The code, which came into force in May, aims to make it easier for victims of authorised push payment (APP) fraud to get their money back.

UK Finance said payment service providers representing more than 85% of authorised push payments have already signed up.

The Which? research found that, as of July 1, nine providers – Bank of Ireland, Citibank, Clydesdale Bank, Monzo, Post Office Money, Tesco Bank, Co-op Bank, Virgin Money, and Yorkshire Bank – said they were working to become a signatory.

The consumer group found that Danske Bank, First Trust Bank and N26 were assessing what becoming a signatory involves.

Monzo told PA it is still adhering to the spirit of the code while in the process of signing up.

APP fraud happens when someone is tricked into transferring money directly to a fraudster, often because they think they are paying a legitimate business.

Banks have not been obliged to refund money in such situations because the fraud victim authorised the bank to make the payment.

But customers of banks signed up to the code who fall victim to an APP scam will be reimbursed, provided that they did everything expected of them under the code.

Major providers that have signed up to the code include Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest/RBS, Santander UK and Nationwide Building Society.

In April, TSB launched its own guarantee, which refunds innocent fraud victims.

Which? said that, with £434 being lost every minute to bank transfer fraud, it is calling for all banks to urgently sign up to the voluntary code.

Which? money editor Jenny Ross said: “People’s lives are being derailed every day as life-changing sums of money are lost to bank transfer fraud, so it’s incredibly concerning to see so many banks not yet signed up to this vital code.”

A UK Finance spokesman said: “The launch of the authorised push payment scams voluntary code in May marked a significant moment, bringing a new level of protection from these scams.

“The payment service providers which have already signed up represent over 85% of authorised push payments and the Lending Standards Board is actively working with a number of others in preparation for them to join.

“To help stay safe from fraud, customers should follow the advice of the Take Five To Stop Fraud campaign and question any uninvited approaches asking them to transfer money, or give away their personal details, in case it’s a scam.”

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