The Payments Association: UK economic crime must be fought with more cooperation 

Payments community group The Payments Association has released its latest guidelines on arranging collaborative data sharing for the prevention of economic crime in the UK. 

Estimating the total value of global money laundering schemes and fraud levels at $2 trillion, The Payments Association warns that “economic crime is, in short, the crime of our times, and is increasingly being recognised as a threat to the UK’s national security”.

The white paper cites that deepened cooperation between regulated entities and the public and private sectors is needed to increase data sharing capabilities. It also discusses the changes that might be included in the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill on its current way through Parliament. 

Some of the recommendations that the paper titled ‘Data Sharing to prevent Economic Crime: Why you can now share data with confidence’ set out to explore how more communication is key to progress in data sharing, potential legal hurdles and how to avoid them, as well as the provision of a legislation that clearly defines the position of data providers in regards to financial institutions and regulated entities. 

Jane Jee, Lead of Project Financial Crime at The Payments Association, said: “The UK lacks the infrastructure to effectively defeat fraud and economic crime. Criminals operate without regard to our laws and our borders. Therefore, data sharing is a crucial part of any organisation’s armoury to stop them. This report is a must read for all financial institutions concerned about the rising tide of crime.” 

Also highlighted in the document are the drawbacks that The Payments Association believes currently exist in the UK system to effectively prevent economic crime, including balancing between data privacy and data sharing, isolated data within firms, inconsistent data formatting, criminal exploitation of technology, and troubles with the cross-border data-handling.

The white paper was produced in collaboration with payments technology provider Form3, and aims to showcase that the way the financial industry shares information is outdated and needs improvements. 

Michael Mueller, CEO of Form3, added: “The effective use of data sharing within the payment ecosystem can deliver a seismic shift in collaboratively combating economic crime. This whitepaper reflects the current barriers to data sharing that financial institutions in the UK face as well as the opportunities that can be realised when these can be overcome.”

Tony Craddock, Director General of The Payments Association, concluded: “We are very excited to share the results of this report. Every one of us has our payments data shared with agencies in the UK and sometimes elsewhere for the purpose of complying with anti-money laundering legislation and fraud protection, so it is vitally important that individuals, businesses and governments all understands what is possible, what doesn’t work and what is necessary to keep everyone involved in the payment landscape secure.”