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Fighting fraud must be a priority for everyone and the introduction of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is a key weapon in the industry's fight in the short to medium term. Even though this is a huge priority, the implementation of SCA for card transactions has experienced a number of setbacks related to things such as regulatory uncertainty, revised clarifications through guidance, insufficient or delayed availability of technological solutions, and low awareness among merchants.
Payments are incredibly important to the functioning of the everyday economy. With the huge growth in e-commerce over the last few years, which will continue into the future, payments need to be not only efficient, convenient and competitive; critically, they also need to be safe for everybody. The ability to shop with a card, buy easily and securely online and pay bills without having to think is what makes the UK's financial services and e-commerce sectors so strong.
Yet an enforced 14 September deadline for SCA could have had a very significant impact on payments in the UK, with as many as 25-30 per cent of transactions being declined, bill payments missed, and high levels of confusion experienced by consumers failing to understand why they cannot make purchases. This is why UK Finance has placed so much emphasis on not just the reduction of fraud in the managed SCA rollout but encouraging everybody to work together to provide the best customer experience.
Today's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) statement, which supports our proposals for a managed rollout, will help the industry ensure a timely migration to SCA and result in the best outcomes for consumers while effectively balancing both convenience and security.
UK Finance seeks to ensure that the UK is the safest and most transparent financial centre in the world. We have worked very closely with the financial services industry, the FCA, retail bodies and beyond to prepare the managed rollout of SCA while avoiding the potential negative impacts mentioned above - but in a way that achieves the overall aims of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and SCA, and gradually reduces fraud whilst protecting retail business and encouraging a better customer experience.
In the managed rollout, we propose a number of measures aimed at implementing SCA at pace, but also in a way that is structured through the setup of an industry Programme Management Office (PMO) to help coordinate as well as help answer the remaining tricky questions the industry still has. UK Finance has also committed to the further scoping of a merchant and consumer communications campaign to ensure consumers and merchants aren't caught by the surprise of additional steps in their authentication journey. This in turn will help to keep customers safer from fraud. All of this will be regularly reported back to the FCA.
UK Finance leads this critical work to ensure a coordinated approach around a significant number of industry changes and to secure the best outcomes for UK customers and the market. The UK is and will remain one of the most sophisticated payment markets in the world, with some of the best anti-fraud tools currently in use. The UK will maintain this view of the fight against fraud by implementing a long-term rollout of compliant SCA solutions. These will deliver the best customer experience, whilst being at the cutting edge of innovative authentication. These solutions will drive down fraud over the 18-month period agreed today with the FCA.
David Song, Principal, EU Personal Finance Policy, UK Finance