Stockholm, Sweden, November 9, 2021 – Trustly, the leading global payments platform for digital account-to-account transactions, today announces that changes are now being made to some of its services in Europe. The changes, which have already started to be implemented, mean that Trustly in Europe will begin treating end users — i.e. consumers who pay using Trustly's service — as customers under the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act. With these changes, Trustly is setting a new standard for European account-to-account transactions in the fight against financial crime, to the benefit of merchants, consumers, banks, and society at large.
Trustly offers innovative payment solutions as part of the Open Banking movement and aligns with the ambition within the EU to make available more efficient, cheaper, consumer-friendly and independent payment services. Through Trustly’s account-to-account payment service, consumers can make quick, easy and secure payments directly from their bank accounts to the merchants, of whom they are customers. Trustly’s service, while being bank-independent in the sense that it is not tied to any specific bank, requires the consumer to have a bank account with an institution in the EEA or the UK. This means that it is not possible for consumers to deposit funds to a user account held with Trustly, but Trustly only initiates payments directly from the consumers’ accounts held with their banks to the benefit of Trustly’s merchants. This also means that end users paying with Trustly have been subject to ordinary customer due diligence measures by their banks. Meanwhile, Trustly has routinely applied customer due diligence measures in relation to its merchants and will continue to do so, in addition to now beginning to treat end users as customers.
The changes are made in light of the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority’s (the "SFSA") preliminary assessment regarding end users that was recently communicated to Trustly. It is also a step towards realizing Trustly’s ambition, as a significant player in the payment services market, to continuously develop its role in the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.
The fight against financial crime is a societal challenge that places demands on companies, authorities, regulators and other stakeholders. Trustly considers itself to be well-positioned both to take individual responsibility and to collaborate with others, as its market-leading technology is designed to enable secure payments in heavily regulated markets. Trustly's technology enables it to monitor the payment chain in its entirety, from the payer’s bank account to the merchant, as compared to, for example, four-party card schemes where no single service provider in the payment chain has the same type of complete overview, as different entities are involved and have separate relationships with the payer and the merchant respectively.
Johan Tjärnberg, Chairman of Trustly, comments: "Regulatory compliance has always been, and will always be, a matter of utmost importance to Trustly. Trustly has already decided, ahead of the SFSA's final decision, to adapt to the SFSA's preliminary assessment and to start treating affected end users as customers, implementing customer due diligence measures where required. As a customer, a partner and a user of Trustly's services, you should always be assured that we comply with applicable legislation."
Oscar Berglund, CEO of Trustly, comments: "Trustly has started a phased implementation of measures that, in addition to full compliance, will ensure that we maintain our industry-leading user experience. Trustly has long been at the forefront of account-to-account payments, a user-friendly and innovative way for consumers to pay directly from their bank accounts, and we will continue to set the standard for fast, easy and secure payments."
The SFSA's preliminary assessment is made in the context of a supervisory matter initiated in October 2020. On September 28, 2021, Trustly received a request for an opinion from the SFSA, and Trustly was thereby given the opportunity to comment on the SFSA's preliminary assessment. Trustly submitted its opinion to the SFSA on November 1, 2021. The SFSA is expected to issue a final decision on the matter in the near future, but no details on when this is expected to happen have been announced.
Trustly views the SFSA’s preliminary assessment as reflecting a changed view regarding who is the customer of a payment services provider such as Trustly. Trustly’s interpretation until now has been that it is merchants that should be treated as Trustly’s customers, and that interpretation has been based on an analysis of legal sources including Swedish law, its preparatory work and its legislative history, as well as guidelines from the European Banking Authority (EBA). Furthermore, Trustly’s previous interpretation has been grounded in what has emerged in the SFSA’s prior supervisory interactions with Trustly, as Trustly’s payment services have been previously reviewed by the SFSA without any remark regarding the treatment of end users as customers.
It is expected that the changed view regarding customer relationships will have industry-wide consequences, impacting not only Trustly but also its direct competitors that offer similar services. Trustly is now taking decisive actions to make the necessary adjustments and to meet the requirements that follow from the SFSA’s preliminary assessment. This will ensure that Trustly’s payment solution remains industry-leading in terms of both user-friendliness and security.
Founded in 2008, Trustly is a global leader in Online Banking Payments. Our digital account-to-account platform redefines the speed, simplicity and security of payments, linking some of the world’s most prominent merchants with consumers directly from their online banking accounts. Trustly can handle the entire payment journey, setting us apart from the competition and enabling us to offer an attractive alternative to the traditional card networks at a lower cost. Today we serve 8,100 merchants, connecting them with 525 million consumers and 6,300 banks in over 30 countries; and in 2020 we processed over $21 billion in transaction volume in our global network.
Trustly has more than 600 employees across Europe, North America and Latin America. We are a licensed Payment Institution under the second payment services directive (PSD2) and operate under the supervision of the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority in Europe. In the US, we are state regulated as required to serve our target markets. Read more at www.trustly.com.