On 24 April 2023, the FCA announced a series of measures designed to reduce the risk of money laundering via the Post Office. The FCA brought together partners, including the National Economic Crime Centre, industry and government to strengthen controls whilst seeking to ensure that legitimate customers can continue to use the Post Office for everyday banking.
The measures set out for banks include:
- A move towards card-based transactions and away from paying-in slips where possible, to allow enhanced monitoring.
- Upskilling staff to spot patterns of suspicious activity.
- Enhancing monitoring capabilities in banks which allow them to identify suspicious activity.
- Reducing cash deposit limits at the Post Office, subject to customer arrangements, to below the existing limit of £20,000 per transaction. Banks should take a data-led approach and consider whether a tailored offer is appropriate.
- Reducing the time taken to submit Suspicious Activity Reports to the National Crime Agency, enabling them to take timely action.
- Improving intelligence sharing so that information is passed on to other firms, law enforcement and the FCA on a regular basis.
The aim of these measures it to ensure people and businesses can still draw on the vital cash banking services provided by the Post Office, while addressing gaps that could be abused by criminals.
The FCA expects banks and the Post Office to keep their controls, including those newly introduced, under review to ensure they are proportionate to the risk and suitable for their customer base, using data to refine measures where needed as the money laundering risks evolve. It will test the safeguards put in place and this work will consider whether firms have taken steps to protect access to cash at the Post Office for legitimate customers.