Regulation

UK Complaints Body Gets Nod To Increase FinTech Fines

UK Complaints Body Can Increase FinTech Fines

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said the Financial Ombudsman Service, which handles complaints from financial companies and customers, will be able to raise fine amounts and in turn allow for more compensation to customers and businesses, according to reports.

“Consumers and small businesses struggle with the cost and time needed to take firms to court, so it is essential they can receive fair compensation from the Financial Ombudsman Service when things go wrong,” said Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA. “We have listened carefully to the feedback we have received, and believe our approach is right and will bring benefits to both the consumers and micro-enterprises.”

The new fine amounts will take effect on April 1, 2019. The current limit is £150,000, and that will increase to £350,000. For actions that happened before then but were referred after April, the limit will be raised to £160,000.

The FCA also said it would continue to raise fines to keep pace with inflation. These new fine amounts are in tandem with the organization extending regulatory service to what it calls larger-sized SMEs – businesses with less than 50 workers, an annual turnover of £6.5 million or under and a balance sheet totaling less than £5 million.

Under those specifications, 210,000 SMEs will now be able to file complaints with the ombudsman.

In other U.K. FinTech news, it was reported that consumers in the U.K. really like to keep tabs on their banking accounts. In fact, in 2018, they did so more than seven times a week via mobile banking apps. That not only demonstrates the power of digital technology, but also signals that traditional financial institutions in the country face tremendous pressure to “maintain their relevance in the face of FinTech competition,” according to a new report from App Annie.

The “State of Mobile 2019” shows how apps are taking more command when it comes to global payments and commerce, and how various digital payment technologies can combine to spark larger trends. In Australia, for instance, mobile banking app users in 2018 checked their apps nearly 10 times per week, fueled by an embedded culture of peer-to-peer transfers within banking apps, the report said. “By contrast, banking apps in Japan only feature wire transfers, and subsequently saw one-third of the global average weekly sessions per user in 2018, despite 15 percent growth from 2016.”

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