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Online Payment Protection Scheme Suffers Setback

15 August 2019 - 08:53 by Simon Crisp

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Under original plans a new scheme to lower the likelihood of consumers suffering fraud when carrying out safe shopping online was set to roll out next month. However, the Financial Conduct Authority has now said that its introduction will be pushed back until 2021 as a result of complaints made by industry representatives.

The idea was to enforce two-factor authentication on any purchase with a value of over £28. When customers committed to a sale, they would be sent a PIN via text message which they would have to enter into the shopping site they were using.

Concerns had been raised about this move by a number of banks and retailers, with critics claiming that it would result in a drop in sales and create other complications, especially in the event that the text messages containing the codes were not received.

Places with limited mobile network coverage, as well as people who did not have their handsets with them at the time of a purchase, would be hit by this move.

FCA spokesperson Jonathan Davidson told BBC News that in spite of the likelihood that these steps would combat online fraud, it was still necessary to check that the introduction of the new system would not be disruptive for legitimate consumers and retailers alike.

Other types of authentication are being considered, many of which rely on the hardware found in modern mobile phones. Fingerprint scanning, iris scanning and even voice and face recognition could eventually become the norm, although again these are things which rely on every consumer having access to cutting-edge handsets, which are far from universally owned.

The 18-month delay will either result in the kinks in this system being ironed out or could lead to it being shelved altogether, especially in the event of a no-deal Brexit.