The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has outlined a new set of measures designed to reduce the risk of money laundering via the Post Office.
Working with the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), industry members and the government, the FCA says it has tightened controls while maintaining the role the Post Office has as a hub for everyday banking.
According to the NECC, ‘hundreds of millions’ of pounds are laundered annually using cash deposits at the Post Office.
Measures set out for banks by the FCA include moving towards card-based transactions and away from paying-in slips; educating staff around suspicious patterns of behaviour and enhancing monitoring capabilities. This is also in addition to reducing cash deposit limits below the existing £20,000 and cutting the time taken to submit suspicious activity reports to the National Crime Agency (NCA). Lastly, it includes improving intelligence-sharing protocols.
The FCA expects banks and the Post Office to keep their controls under review to ensure they are proportionate. This is as well as using data to update measures as money laundering risks evolve.
FCA executive director of consumers and competition Sheldon Mills says the regulator has balanced the need for “vital cash banking services” at the Post Office while addressing gaps that criminals can exploit.
FCA research found six per cent of adults in the UK used cash to pay for everything over the 12 months from May 2021. This figure increases (nine per cent) for those in vulnerable circumstances.