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Would Brexit Impact Fraud Fighting in Britain?

posted on: Wed Jun 22 2016

BrexitTomorrow, voters in Britain will go to the polls to vote on whether Britain should remain a member of the European Union or leave.

It is a vote that will have huge implications throughout the EU and, indeed, the wider world. The vast majority of the political classes across the world (with the exception of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump) believe that Britain would be best remaining in the EU.

Yet popular mood in the country seems to suggest that Britain is set to vote to leave with recent opinion polls giving 53% to leave and 47% to remain.

While the main topics of debate in Britain are currently around immigration and sovereignty, for those of us involved in e-commerce the vote could have significant consequences.

Fraud doesn’t respect national boundaries and so cross-border approaches to fighting fraud are critical. And this is an area where the European Union has taken a leading role.

The EU has been active in taking a common approach to fraud across e-commerce in the single market and recently, published proposals as to next steps to tackling fraud.

In the wider world of payments, the EU has been equally active with both the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and the Single European Payments Area (SEPA).

SEPA, launched in 2008, is a European Union initiative to develop common financial instruments, standards, procedures, and infrastructure to facilitate the simple movement of capital across members. Although SEPA only facilitates the transfer and movement of the euro currency, given that so much of UK trade is carried out using the euro, our membership of this body is critical for trade with the Eurozone.

PSD2 aims to create a single market for payments and create a level playing field making it easier for challenger banks to enter the market.

So, if Britain were to leave the EU, would this have a huge difference? Not necessarily. To conduct e-commerce with the remaining EU states, Britain would still have to abide by European anti-fraud laws. And both non-EU members such as Norway and Switzerland are signatories to SEPA and PSD2.

The only issue would be that Britain would no longer have the power to influence these, and future, directives. Whether that is an issue for the electorate, along with every other issue, will be settled tomorrow.