We are the UK regulator for content, goods and services charged to a phone bill.

Consultation on new guidance to ensure platform security for phone-paid services

14 August 2019

The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) is consulting on new General Guidance for Consent to Charge mechanics within the phone-paid services industry.

This guidance is intended to ensure that standards of payment/consent platform security remain high throughout the phone-paid services market. It will help networks and phone-paid service providers by clarifying the PSA’s expectations in this area. 

The guidance covers three key areas:

  • why informed and robust consent is important 
  • expectations around informed consent and consumer purchase journeys 
  • expectations around robust payment and verification platforms.

The principle of consumer consent is essential to any business and is at the heart of the PSA Code of Practice. If service providers are charging consumers without clear, robust and verifiable consent in exchange for phone-paid services, then this is a serious concern, not only in terms of consumer protection, but also for the wider reputation of phone-paid services. 

The PSA has developed the guidance in order to address consumer and industry concerns in this area. Over 90% of complaints made to the PSA in the past few financial years have been about phone-paid subscription services, a significant proportion of them citing consent as an issue. 

We have worked with the mobile networks and an independent security consultancy to test the security of platforms. The results and recommendations from this testing offered detailed recommendations for improving platform security, and, in parallel, has assisted PSA to develop this proposed guidance. 

The consultation will be open until 11 October 2019. Where possible, comments should be submitted in writing using this form and sent by email to consultations@psauthority.org.uk.

Consultation document

Draft revised guidance on Consent to Charge