07 October 2021

Third of Brits would struggle to afford food after fraud loss

A third of Brits (32%) would struggle to afford food for themselves and their family, should they lose under £500 to fraud – just a fraction of the average UK fraud loss – as TSB finds widespread public support (74%) for guaranteed reimbursement.

The polling1 comes as the Payment Systems Regulator is set to announce whether banks will be required to refund fraud victims – following TSB’s Fraud Refund Guarantee model introduced in April 2019.

Impact of fraud

New industry-wide data from UK Finance2 shows the scale of fraud - with a 71 percent increase in losses to bank transfer fraud. And with 106,164 cases in the first six months of this year alone, it means that almost 600 people are falling victim to fraud every day.

Push payment fraud victims lose on average £3,3463 – yet a loss of under £500 would leave a third of people and their family struggling to afford food if they were not refunded. Alarmingly, the figure rises to (50%) of people for a loss of £1,000.

Losses to fraud can prove devastating to both finances and wellbeing – and over a quarter (28%) said their mental health would be affected if they lost under £500. And this figure rises to over two fifths (45%) for £1,000.

Across the UK people are highly concerned by fraud – with over six in 10 (61%) worried about the impact a fraud loss would have on their finances4. Worry increases with age, with two thirds (66%) of over 65s concerned by fraud, while just under half (49%) of 18-24 year-olds have concerns.

Despite this, TSB found that young people are most likely to have been a victim or know someone who has been a victim in the past 12 months – with a third of 18-34s (32%) compared to under a fifth of 35-54s (18%) and 13 percent of over 55s.

Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) proposals on the future of fraud protections

Against this backdrop, TSB learned that Brits overwhelmingly support proposals for their bank to guarantee refunds for losses to bank fraud - with 74 percent favouring this option. 

Practice currently differs greatly across the industry – with TSB’s Fraud Refund Guarantee (FRG) refunding 98 percent of all bank fraud cases since April 2019, compared with the industry more widely where just 42 percent5 of funds lost to fraud are returned to the victim. And the amount of money lost to fraud that was refunded under the Authorised Push Payment (APP) Scams Voluntary Code was 49 percent, significantly lower than that of the FRG.

Brits also supported proposals for all banks to publish their refund rate – with 72 per cent backing the measure to let customers know how their bank performs on the vital issue of fraud refunds.

TSB firmly believes its Fraud Refund Guarantee is the right approach, as it has led to profound benefits to customers in offering protection against what could otherwise be life-changing losses. 

Additionally, the Bank is better informed about the nature of fraud cases due to the more transparent conversations customers now have with TSB’s fraud department – as they realise they are not being blamed for the crime. This approach protects mental health and finances alike.

TSB also believes that all banks should publish their fraud refund rates.

TSB is working to bring the rising level of fraud down – and is committed to cross-sector collaboration with a focus on online platforms.

Debbie Crosbie, Chief Executive, TSB, said:

“The figures show the growing scale of the problem and sadly, the distress it causes is all too clear.

“Much more needs to be done to better protect people and for industry and government to work together to tackle this threat.”

Notes to editors

1 The survey was carried out by Savanta ComRes ~ Fieldwork Conducted 13th - 15th Aug 2021 with 2075 people surveyed.

2 UK Finance: Fraud figures for H1, 2021 https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/data-and-research/data/fraud  £355.3 million was lost to APP fraud in the first half of 2021, up 71 per cent compared to the same period in 2020. The number of cases rose 60 percent to 106,164.

3 UK Finance data for H1 2021 shows that £355.3 million was lost in 106,164 cases – leaving an average loss of £3,346.

4The scale of fraud in the UK was explained to respondents.

5UK Finance data for H1 2021 revealed a 42 percent refund rate cross the banking sector – and this figure includes TSB’s Fraud Refund Guarantee, and the eight signatory banks of the industry code as well as non-code members. The refund rate under the APP Code is 49 percent.

  • As an active member of Stop Scams TSB worked with telcos and banks to develop Project 159 to help combat safe account fraud. We will be implementing the new system in January.
  • Read more about TSB’s Fraud Refund Guarantee here.
  • In addition to the Fraud Refund Guarantee, TSB has a range of protections working 24 hours a day to protect customers. These include fraud detection systems, data encryption, device profiling and one-time payments when customers set up payments.
  • TSB offers advice for customers who are worried about fraud or unexpected communications here.