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Regulator launches consultation on phone payment for society lotteries

02 Mar 2018 News

The Phone-paid Services Authority has proposed allowing people to pay for society lottery tickets using their phones and has opened a consultation on adding special conditions to regulate this.

The PSA, the UK regulator for content, goods and services charged to a phone bill, has proposed adding special conditions to its existing code to allow for regulation of phone payments to society lotteries. The consultation opened yesterday, and will close on 17 April 2018.

The regulator said “phone payment represents an opportunity for society lotteries” and it has established “a new VAT-exempt text shortcode series, specifically for society lotteries”. Using numbers beginning in 72, it will be a text service specifically created for use on society lotteries.

According to the PSA, shortcodes are “special numbers, shorter than normal mobile phone numbers, used for text services such as news updates, or for entering competitions by text”.

Text donations to charity were worth “over £110m” according to estimates by the PSA, and they believe allowing phone payments for society lotteries would be similarly beneficial to that part of the sector.

A spokesman from the PSA said: “We’re pleased to see further growth and innovation in this space, and we hope that these special conditions will help to build consumer confidence in these services.

“Effective regulation can play an important part in building and maintaining a secure and dynamic market where consumers can charge content, goods and services to their phone bill with confidence. 

“We look forward to hearing from people in the phone-paid services industry and charity sector.”

The proposed special conditions

The special conditions being proposed in the consultation include provisions to ensure that people under the age of 18 can’t make phone payments to society lotteries, ensure promotional material for phone payment society lotteries include certain information and separate the “point of purchase” from normal service interaction.

“By increasing transparency, the market can steps to reduce the risk of passing off, which is likely to achieve a higher level of consumer confidence when using these new phone-paid services,” said the PSA. “It is likely to reduce the risk of uninformed consent for charge as well”.

The special conditions would allow the PSA to “bring together different regulatory requirements together in one place”.

The PSA’s consultation document can be viewed in full here.

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