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CFIT Creates Coalition to Devise Solutions to Defend and Protect from Fraud

Authorised push payment (APP) fraud has emerged in the last few years as a massive threat to the UK. As a result, the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT), has announced a new coalition which will devise solutions to detect fraud, bolster defences and protect SMEs from APP fraud and beyond.

Economic crime in the UK is on the rise, with almost £1.2 billion stolen from consumers in 2023. Almost half of that figure is through authorised push payment (APP) fraud (£459.7million in 2023). This is where victims are tricked into sending money to scammers for products or services that are never received, like concert and football tickets. Three-quarters (76 per cent) of APP fraud originates online, with an estimated 232,429 cases last year.

CFIT’s coalition will unite big tech providers, trade associations, major retail and challenger banks, fintech firms, digital ID solution providers and credit agencies to explore how collaboration can make the UK economy even more resilient against fraud.

Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO of The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT)
Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO of The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT)

Commenting on the new coalition (Fighting Economic Crime Through Enhanced Verification) CFIT’s CEO, Ezechi Britton MBE, said: “Economic crime is a major threat to the UK’s financial security, and it can have a profoundly distressing impact on consumers and businesses.

“At CFIT, we are committed to addressing this and making the financial services industry more robust by uniting the best minds across the sector and beyond to combat this pressing issue. This will be achieved through verifying UK businesses to fight economic crime.

“Our intention is to support the incoming Government and industry to put in place measures that will make financial services safer, and our economy even more resilient in the years to come.”

What the coalition will do

Participants will carry out data-driven research and testing on solutions to verify the legitimacy and identity of businesses interfacing with financial services, as well as other security challenges in commerce and payments for UK businesses and consumers.

The coalition will aim to demonstrate how tackling prevalent financial crime will prevent businesses and their customers from being defrauded. It will also enable banks and the fintech community who provide financial services to these groups to generate efficiency savings, reduce their liability, and optimise customer journeys.

This new initiative follows the success of CFIT’s inaugural coalition on open finance. It demonstrated the potential of data-sharing technology to deliver better financial outcomes for UK consumers and faster, more effective access to finance for SMEs. The coalition’s ‘proofs of concept’ are now being trialled with Citizens Advice and a select group of retail banks following the proof of concept with HSBC.

CFIT is currently developing the core use cases for its second coalition and will announce the final cohort of partners over the summer. Immediately kicking off a programme of activity, CFIT intends to provide interim findings in Q4 2024, and a final report in early 2025.

Who’s doing what?
Federation Small Businesses
Federation of Small Businesses’ role in the new coalition, national chair, Martin McTague fraud
Federation of Small Businesses’ role in the new coalition, national chair, Martin McTague

Commenting on the Federation of Small Businesses’ role in the new coalition, national chair, Martin McTague, said: “Fraud exacts a huge toll on small businesses, and every effort must be made to tackle it, so that customers can shop safely online, and small firms can trade securely.

“Any proposed solution to fraud must take the needs of small businesses into account, in terms of how it can best protect them, and in terms of considering how to make it as simple as possible for them to integrate into their processes.”

City of London Corporation
Chris Hayward, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation fraud
Chris Hayward, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation

Chris Hayward, policy chairman, City of London Corporation commented on what was expected of the company: “Last year, our landmark Vision for Economic Growth report laid out how the financial and professional services sector could contribute to unlocking economic growth, with one of the key recommendations being to accelerate digital verification (DV) solutions.

“I am delighted to see the Centre for Finance, Innovation, and Technology (CFIT) continue the momentum and take this forward in its second Coalition with a focus on businesses and fraud mitigation. Furthermore, digital verification has the potential to help protect businesses and consumers and deliver a £4.8billion boost to the UK economy from 2024 to 2030.

“As one of CFIT’s co-founders, the City Corporation supports CFIT’s mission and looks forward to working with them on this important initiative.”

Nationwide

Otto Benz, director of payments, discussed Nationwide‘s role saying: “We need payments to be safe and secure, and to ensure our customers have good protection against fraud. Which is why it is important to deliver against these objectives. Consequently, we share CFIT’s commitment to creating an ecosystem that employs digital verification and will collaborate with coalition partners to achieve this.”

The Payments Association
Tony Craddock, director general of The Payments Association fraud
Tony Craddock, director general, The Payments Association

Commenting on The Payments Association’s role in the new coalition, Tony Craddock, director general, said: “The CFIT campaign-led model, bringing together multiple stakeholders to tackle a thorny issue facing us all, really works. Fraud is such an issue, making up 40 per cent of all crime in the UK today, and it won’t be prevented without us being able to verify identities using shared data at the point at which people pay.

“So The Payments Association is delighted to participate in the next CFIT coalition, building on the success of the Open Finance coalition, in the months ahead.”

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