Daily Dash: New Powers For UK's Companies House To Tackle Fraud Go Live

March 6, 2024
Companies House has welcomed new powers that will allow it to tackle fraud and remove inaccurate information from the register, and J.P. Morgan has become a principal member of France’s largest payment network.

New Powers For UK's Companies House To Tackle Fraud Go Live

New powers granted to Companies House to tackle fraud and misuse of the register are now in effect, ushering in the “most significant change” for the regulator in its 180-year history.

Introduced under the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCT Act), the new measures include greater powers to query information and request supporting evidence, and stronger checks on company names.

New rules for registered office addresses have also been introduced, meaning that all companies must have a formal address at all times (previously a PO Box could serve as a registered address).

Companies must also supply a registered email address, and Companies House will have greater powers to remove factually inaccurate information from the register.

“We’ve known for some time that criminals have misused UK companies to commit fraud, money laundering and other forms of economic crime,” said Louise Smyth, CEO of Companies House.

“As we start to crack down on abuse of the register, we are prioritising cases where people’s names and addresses have been used without their consent.

“It will now be much quicker and easier to report and remove personal information that has been misused.”

J.P. Morgan Becomes Principal Member Of France's Largest Payment Network

US bank J.P. Morgan has announced that it has been granted approval to become a principal member of Cartes Bancaires CB, France’s largest payments network.

Under the approval, J.P. Morgan plans to offer merchant clients access to the network by the end of 2024.

In France, Cartes Bancaires CB processes more than 15bn transactions per year by card or mobile phone, which accounts for about two-thirds of all consumer payments in the country.

“Our North Star is to enable our merchant clients to offer their customers a varied choice of payment options to suit their needs,” said Ludovic Houri, co-head of EMEA payments and commerce solutions at J.P. Morgan.

European Commission Fines Apple €1.8bn For Abusing App Store Dominance

The European Commission has fined Apple more than €1.8bn for abusing its dominant position in the distribution of music streaming apps and subscriptions to iOS devices users.

The commission found that Apple applied restrictions on app developers that prevent them from informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper subscription services available outside the app.

These restrictions applied by Apple violate “anti-steering provisions”, the commission found, which is illegal under EU antitrust rules.

Violations of the anti-steering provisions also lead to higher prices for consumers, the commission added.

IDEX To Launch Biometric Cards In UK Through Accomplish Financial

IDEX Biometrics has partnered with Accomplish Financial, a UK-based fintech, to launch a new line of biometric cards for the visually-impaired and other customers with special needs.

In a statement, IDEX said the launch is a response to the EU’s European Accessibility Act 2025, which requires businesses to introduce inclusive solutions for those with special needs. 

“IDEX Biometrics is committed to bringing trusted biometric authentication solutions to everyone,” said Catharina Eklof, COO of IDEX Biometrics.

“Our collaboration with Accomplish brings to market a solution that makes it easier and more secure to pay for the visually- and memory-impaired, removing the obstacles of remembering PINs and avoiding the issue of ‘tap code to glass terminals’."

In the UK, there are 2m visually-impaired people and more than 1m people who suffer from dementia, IDEX added. The UK’s over-65 population is also 11m and growing.

World's Largest Healthcare Payment System Hit By Ransomware Attack

UnitedHealth Group, the world’s largest healthcare company, has confirmed that its payments subsidiary, Change Healthcare, has been hit by a ransomware attack.

On Friday (March 1), UnitedHealth said Change Healthcare is experiencing a “cybersecurity issue” perpetrated by threat actors who have identified themselves as ALPHV/Blackcat.

ALPHV/Blackcat is the name of both a family of ransomware products and the threat actors who exploit these products.

The outage caused by the attack has meant that 90 percent of pharmacies in the US have had to change how they process electronic payments.

UnitedHealth said it is now working with law enforcement and third-party consultants Mandiant and Palo Alto Networks to restore the Change Healthcare payment system.

“We are working on multiple approaches to restore the impacted environment and will not take any shortcuts or take any additional risk as we bring our systems back online,” the company said.

“We will continue to be proactive and aggressive with all our systems, and if we suspect any issue with the system, we will immediately take action and disconnect.”

Mastercard, KCB Partnership To Expand Payments Offering In East Africa

Mastercard has signed a new five-year partnership with KCB Bank Kenya to launch an expanded offering of card and non-card payments in East Africa.

Under the partnership, customers in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda will have access to the Mastercard World and World Elite premium credit cards, in addition to corporate cards and youth prepaid cards.

Cardholders will also be able to make cross-border remittances, QR code payments and mobile tap-to-pay transactions.

Mastercard said the partnership will enable the two companies to “leapfrog” their way to financial inclusion targets among both consumers and small and medium-sized enterprises.

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