A Liberal Democrat MP has called on the Government to give the retail sector 18 months of “breathing room” to adapt to new anti-fraud rules he claimed were a “ticking time bomb” for online retail. 

Chuka Umunna, the Liberal Democrat MP for Streatham, today asked the secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy what assessment his office had made on the effects of the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) rules for both retailers and consumers.

He also called on Government to “ensure no enforcement action will be taken for at least 18 months to give our retail sector breathing room to adapt to these new changes”.

Umunna described the new anti-theft rules, which are contained within the wider EU second Payment Service Directive (PSD2), as a “ticking time bomb” for retailers that could “cause major disruption”, particularly for online payments.

The new rules, designed to tackle payment fraud, mean that any purchases over £30 will require two-factor authentication, such as a bank card and PIN, or a mobile phone and fingerprint.

Citing figures from the British Retail Consortium, Umunna said many retailers and consumers were unaware of the changes required by SCA, and if it were brought into effect on September 14 could “lead to the failure of nearly a third of ecommerce transactions”.

BRC research has found that more than 75% of retailers were also “unaware of changes that may be required” by them to become compliant with the new rules – particularly small online retailers.


The Financial Conduct Authority has agreed to delay the introduction of SCA, a move welcomed by the BRC. Retail Week understands that the FCA is soon to announce the new deadline for when SCA will come into force.

In response to Umunna’s question, Kelly Tolhurst, Conservative MP for Rochester and Strood and parliamentary under-secretary of state for small business, consumers and corporate responsibility, said industries affected by SCA had been informed of the changes by the FCA in June.

“They [the FCA] are working with regards to mitigation past the September implementation,” said Tolhurst. “They are working with industry, they are working with providers, to make sure the essence of the changes prevail – and that is making it safer for merchants and consumers.”