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Escrow companies authorised by the FCA must never be unclear or misleading

Thursday, 30th November, 2017

At, we welcome all competition in the escrow space.

Escrow is the only payment method where a payer and payee (such as a buyer and seller) can both be 100% simultaneously protected. Escrow really is the safest way for two parties to pay each other.
It is vitally important for both consumers and businesses that awareness of escrow's critical payment security is spread through vibrant competition in the escrow sector.

Escrow providers that are FCA regulated need to ensure that they play within the rules, and achieve total trustworthiness.
We at know, given our more than eight years of experience in creating the payment escrow sector in the UK and becoming Europe's leading escrow service.

Which is why an escrow service which is FCA authorised only removing content when approached by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is undesirable.
That is exactly what occurred with, a new escrow service in the UK.
They put up a claim on their website homepage that was potentially misleading. When we pointed this out to them, refused to remove the claim.

Only when the ASA took up the case (on our instigation), were faced with either a full ASA investigation and ruling, or removing the potentially misleading claim.
At this point, chose to remove the claim.
You can see the ASA's involvement on the ASA's website here (if not shown, search for the date 29 November 2017 or ShieldPay).

It is disappointing that the ASA should need to get involved - escrow services which are authorised by the FCA need to be above reproach, and need to be clear and unambiguous. Of course, every firm can from time to time unintentionally make errors or omissions or suffer from ambiguity (we are not yet robots, and people occasionally make mistakes), but it should never take the intervention of the ASA to correct such matters.

Although agreed with the ASA around the 15th November 2017 to remove the claim, the potentially misleading claim was not removed from the website until sometime around the 29th November 2017, when the ASA's website revealed their involvement. seem to have believed that the ASA had provided them with permission to keep the potentially misleading claim up until this date, since they wrote to us and said "the ASA ... have agreed that we would amend or remove statements that could be misleading by the end of November as part of our update of content throughout the platform". Changing a piece of text (not graphics) on a website page is not a difficult task, and can be carried out in a matter of seconds or minutes. We believe that since agreed with the ASA to remove the claim as it might be potentially misleading, they should have amended their website homepage immediately - surely, that would have been in keeping with best customer practice ?

[As an aside, at this time's fees for a standard UK transaction at £60, at £600, and at £6,000 are £3.00, £15.00 and £90.00. charges for the same transactions are £2.66, £5.98 and £5.98. For a £9,000 transaction,'s charges are more than 2,000% more than, and for an £11,000 transaction,'s charges are more than 800% more than
And's service is proven - only our service has been honed and perfected with more than eight years of real customer service and experience, and millions of pounds of customers' payments safeguarded.] offers Best Payment API for
Online Marketplaces
Act now before PSD2 starts in Europe on 13th January 2018

Thursday, 28th June, 2017

On the 13th January 2018, online marketplaces across Europe that handle payment will have to register formally as Payment Service Providers and Money Service businesses, as part of the EU's Payment Services Directive 2.

The resulting burden on online marketplaces is almost unimaginable.
These online marketplaces will need to introduce costly and time-consuming new operational processes to actively verify the identity of their customers. They will have to engage and create anti-money laundering and counter terrorist-financing plans, and put these into operation under strict audit from dedicated HMRC or equivalent Government agency staff.
They will need to employ staff to monitor each transaction for money laundering and terrorist financing, and train all staff for signs of abuse. This is just a small part of the anti-money laundering burden - the requirements are hundreds of pages long.

And that is before the additional and separate Payment Services burden is considered, which comes into effect on that day.
Firms will have to protect client money, and ensure strict same day or next day payment deadlines are kept.
Each payment instruction from a client will have to be secured using two-factor secure authentication, introducing another radical change to each marketplace's business flow.
And any customer can now take an unsatisfied payment complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which can cost the marketplace £600 even if the marketplace is found to be 100% correct.
Again, the above only touches on the mandatory Payment Services requirements.

The list of obligations, the change to business processes, and the additional legal burdens are only touched upon above, and there are many more obligations which will affect how marketplaces' operations are impacted and changed.

If you are an online marketplace that handles client payment, and you are situated or do business in the EU or EEA, seek assistance now (ask about PSD2 and its resulting obligations).

The good news is that using's ultra-low cost market-leading escrow API, designed specifically for online marketplaces, we can remove entirely the burden of PSD2 and AML, and actually put the marketplace in a better position than it is today.

Buyers will be guaranteed to receive the goods or services they were promised, or their money back - guaranteed.
Sellers will be guaranteed to be paid 100%.
The marketplace can continue to concentrate on doing what it does best - running and marketing the marketplace, without the management or staff expense of worrying about correct payment handling.

And most importantly, does not charge marketplaces any fee for the use of its payment engine, which automatically secures the marketplace's own fees and commissions as part of the process, so the marketplace's net revenue is actually increased.

So if you are a marketplace operating in the EU or EEA, do not delay - contact today - email for full details (we conduct a brief vetting of marketplaces before giving them access to our API, as an initial check to their legitimacy).

Another Glowing Testimonial

Thursday, 18th May, 2017

We've been too busy conducting lots of escrow transactions, and providing top quality service to our customers, to update this blog much recently.
But the latest testimonial from a client is worth posting - as it sums up the experience we are fed back from our customers.

"We used recently to acquire valuable assets (£65,000 and £15,000).
Having tried a few of your competitors in the past, there is really no comparison - quite simply, offers a much better service at a far cheaper price.

I was particularly impressed to receive a phone call to double check on a potential issue - you went above and beyond.
We like to think we're pretty good at finding the best deals. These days I tell anyone who will listen to use - it's a no-brainer.
Thanks again."

Ben Tibbits, is a not limited to transactions of this size, but also transacts many much smaller amounts, and also much larger amounts.

Welcome to TrustMark - Government Endorsed Standards Body

Wednesday, 28th October, 2015

Escrow protection in the construction sector is becoming almost mandatory.

Nowadays, in a construction transaction, it makes sense to use escrow as every buyer is guaranteed the work they were promised or their money back, and every builder is guaranteed 100% payment.

Builders in particular eliminate bad debt and never again suffer costly price reductions at the end of a job - just to get payment in. Builders who use escrow for every transaction often increase their take-home revenue by 10% or more by doing so .
And consumers are guaranteed satisfaction with the service.

With this background, we welcome our latest (but not only) escrow provider in the construction sector, TrustMark


You can find details of their escrow product (partnered with here.

We've added a fee calculator

Monday, 7th June, 2015

We've had quite a few requests to add a fee calculator, and we've now done just that.

Until now, we haven't seen the need as our charges are all clearly shown on our Prices and Additional Charges web-pages.

But to simplify matters even further for those who have asked, we have added a fee calculator. allows initial charges to be split between the payer and payee (buyer and seller), so for us a fee calculator is anything but simple.

The fee calculator we have added shows the total fee paid in total by the payer and payee (buyer and seller), and this can be misleading if compared to the fees of just one of the parties (at least one of whom, if not both, will be paying much less than the total fee shown).

Our fees also include the cost of the final payment to the client's bank account by bank transfer - something that other escrow services mostly do not include within their fee calculator.

Open Letter to BBC MoneyBox

Monday, 29th September, 2014

Below is an open letter sent today to the BBC MoneyBox radio programme team:

We are writing in response to Saturday’s MoneyBox programme (27/9/14) about fraud, ActionFraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB):

1) made many, many multiple reports to Police and other authorities from March 2014 onwards when our service started to be impersonated by a criminal. These reports included full details of bank accounts being used for fraud.
The Police and authorities did NOTHING, and did not contact us for details or to ask any questions about what was occurring.
This lack of any contact seems to be definitive proof that no action was taken by the Police or authorities to prevent the ongoing fraud.
Indeed, this was confirmed to us by Police personnel (see 3) below.

And the NFIB’s response on your programme, where they claimed that many cases have a lack of evidence to be able to be investigated, is bizarre – of course they have a lack of evidence if the NFIB do not contact the reporter of the fraud for details of the crime.

2) 'Sarah' stated on your programme on Saturday that ActionFraud/Police only took action when 300 people had been defrauded.
This is not true. It seems likely from events that six hundred or one thousand people or more could have been defrauded, and still no action would have been taken.
The Police took action only because on that day in July, the BBC ‘You & Yours’ radio show broadcast a programme detailing the litany of the defrauded to date in this fraud (you can listen to that programme here - it is the first item).
It is absolutely clear that no action would have been taken without ‘You & Yours’ being broadcast on that day, and the Police response was only in response to this Radio 4 programme.
We would not be surprised if no Police action had been taken even today, and the fraud was still ongoing, without the Radio 4 ‘You & Yours’ programme.
About a fortnight after the Police action started after the broadcast, the fraud stopped. We estimate that up to half a million pounds or more was lost to hundreds of innocent UK consumers to this one criminal for this one fraud (the Police confirmed that many people do not report being defrauded).

3) The Police are set up with an effective system to take down websites that infringe trademarks. The Police have expended a lot of expense, time and effort to operate an impressive unit (at the City of London Police) that protects companies’ trademarks and actively intervenes to take down and prevent trademark impersonation.
We were able to have fraudulent impersonation websites taken down from April onwards NOT because they were defrauding innocent UK consumers, but because they were breaching trademark.
The Police are not set up to protect innocent consumers (as your programme showed, tens of thousands are being defrauded without any response every month), but are set up, active and efficient to protect the trademarks of large business.

4) You finished off your programme by stating never deal with a website you do not fully trust.
Important and wise words.
But you failed to mention that the websites of FCA authorised firms are trustworthy. The FCA maintains an online register of authorised firms, and using a website on that list (exactly as on the FCA register, with no changes) is trustworthy and safe (not emails, not phone calls, not online chat).
The Press has an obligation to educate the public about simple steps they can take to verify what is a trustworthy website and what is not – you failed to do so – please remedy.

5) You stated on the programme ‘Pay by debit and credit card - then you can always get your money back’.
For payments of over £100 by credit card (as long as not via PayPal) for items for oneself (not others), you are correct – the payer is covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
But for payments by debit card and other credit card payments, this is not necessarily so, as you well know. Visa and MasterCard do have chargeback mechanisms, but these are not legally binding, are not formally published, and may or may not be excluded by small print or other factors – so there is no guarantee using these methods whatsoever.
Escrow payment through an FCA authorised service is fully secure and safe though (you failed to mention this).

6) Once again, we remind you many of the twenty thousand frauds per month mentioned on the programme rely on the high street banks laundering the proceeds of the fraud.
The high-street banks have an absolute obligation written into law to prevent this occurring, and the law allows very large fines and imprisonment of their executives if money laundering is not prevented.
And yet, the FCA, which regulates the banks, has seemingly done absolutely nothing to ensure that the banks prevent the funds from these frauds being laundered.
The FCA seems to accept the banks’ excuse that there is nothing they can do.
We believe this is nonsense, and that the FCA is fundamentally failing in its role to ensure the banks stop this money laundering.
The FCA has taken no visible public action, and has seemingly been convinced by the banks that there is nothing they can do, as if the banks act to stop this illegal activity (as is their duty) then the disruption to the UK banking system would be too great.
This is nonsense. If it was important enough to the banks, they would make it happen. But moving the proceeds of these crimes is completely unimportant to the banks, and will remain so until the FCA forces the banks to act, as indeed is the obligation of the FCA and the banks.
You - the Press - have not yet spoken out on this point.
And until you - the Press - bring to the public’s attention the FCA’s inexcusable lapse to allow the banks’ inexcusable lapses, the loss to thousands upon thousands of UK innocent consumers will continue every month.
Please act and report this lapse NOW.

Best Regards on BBC Radio 4.

Thursday, 3rd July, 2014 today featured on BBC Radio 4, the first item on the You & Yours midday programme

You can listen to the broadcast here - BBC You and Yours programme link ( is quite rightly described by the BBC on the programme blurb as ‘a reputable payment site’, and ‘worth copying precisely because it's so reliable’.

It is a great tragedy that a criminal had to be involved in impersonating to finally get the BBC to give a mention.

We have nothing but admiration for Caroline, featured also in the broadcast, who forced the story onto the BBC's agenda. Once the BBC took up the story, all of a sudden the Police finally lifted a finger and are now for the first time investigating. Let's hope they quickly catch the criminal.

UPDATE 6 - Cyber Crime UK - It's so easy !

Sunday, 29th June, 2014

UPDATE 5 - Cyber Crime UK - It's so easy !

Tuesday, 24th June, 2014

UPDATE 4 - Cyber Crime UK - It's so easy !

Wednesday, 11th June, 2014

European Escrow Organisation letter to FINCEN (USA) -
A Money Launderers' and Terrorists' free-for-all if Escrow Unregulated

Tuesday, 10th June, 2014

UPDATE 3 - Cyber Crime UK - It's so easy !

Monday, 28th April, 2014

UPDATE 2 - Cyber Crime UK - It's so easy !

Friday, 25th April, 2014

UPDATE - Cyber Crime UK - It's so easy !

Sunday, 20th April, 2014

Cyber Crime UK - It's so easy !
Anatomy of a high-return cyber crime

Tuesday, 8th April, 2014

No Chargebacks !
Low Value Pricing (2.9%) Revolutionises Retailing

Thursday, 20th March, 2014

UKTI (UK Trade & Investment - a UK Government Agency) now endorses use of FCA authorised escrow services:
Article: How to clinch overseas sales (and also get paid)

Monday, 20th January, 2014

Mike Freer MP, our Local Member of Parliament, Assists

Thursday, 20th June, 2013 service model copied by
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Friday, 5th April , 2013, world's leading domain escrow service ?

Friday, 21st December, 2012

Another BBC Apology ?

Thursday, 15th November, 2012

The world leader in art markets partners with

Thursday, 9th February, 2012

Payment without delay across the EU

Monday, 9th January, 2012

Welcome AutoTrader -'s latest website partner

Tuesday, 13th December, 2011

The Metropolitan Police recommend use of FSA Authorised escrow providers

Monday, 7th November, 2011

Why we raised our Prices for large payments

Tuesday, 4th October, 2011

MRI machines to Stethoscopes -

Friday, 9th September, 2011

FSA Registration offers little or no comfort

Monday, 8th August, 2011

More Websites use's API to integrate Escrow services into their websites

Monday, 11th July, 2011

Fraudster's access to Debit Card Details -
BBC gets it terribly wrong again !

Thursday, 16th June, 2011

HM Treasury replies Again

Monday, 6th June, 2011

HM Treasury replies

Wednesday, 4th May, 2011


Monday, 4th April, 2011

Government-linked Organisations getting it wrong ?
Bank / Credit Card Details Disclosure

Tuesday, 8th March, 2011

Response from HM Treasury ?

Friday, 4th February, 2011

An open letter to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Monday, 3rd January, 2011


Wednesday, 1st December, 2010

When should you use Transpact - Section 75 of the CCA

Friday, 22nd October, 2010

Partner Websites

Monday, 12th September, 2010

The Guardian

Friday, 23rd July, 2010

Exceptional Protection

Tuesday, 6th July, 2010

Tenancy Deposits - Is yours an Assured Shorthold Tenancy ?

Wednesday, 2nd June, 2010

Redsky Design - Web Designers Extraordinaire

Thursday, 22nd April, 2010

First Transpact blog

Monday, 19th April, 2010