Making sure that people are protected from Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams is very important – particularly right now. With people and businesses having to adapt their ways of working in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we wanted to provide an update on the implementation of Confirmation of Payee (CoP). 

We understand that many of the directed banks are managing COVID-19 related risks and are working hard to protect their customers. We are acutely aware of the current and significant pressure on organisations to do all they can for their customers, while also effectively looking after the people who work for them and making sure the UK’s banking industry can continue to be resilient. This means we have carefully considered our regulatory approach to the implementation of this system. As a result of our assessment of the current situation, we have informed the directed banks that if they are unable to fully implement CoP by 31 March:

  • Banks must take appropriate steps to roll out CoP, taking into account the impacts of COVID-19, even if that means they do not meet the original 31 March 2020 deadline. 
  • We expect the directed banks to ensure customers who would have benefitted from the protections of CoP are not otherwise disadvantaged from any COVID-19 related delay, including refunding victims of fraud if CoP would likely have prevented it from happening. 
  • We will keep these arrangements under review as the wider impacts of COVID-19 are better understood.

We have been very clear that where the directed banks provide appropriate protection to people, we will not take any formal action in respect of delays to the introduction of CoP ahead of 30 June 2020. We fully expect the banks to do everything they can to protect people in the meantime and implement CoP as soon as possible.

How we can all protect ourselves

It is important that, now more than ever, we all take steps to make sure we are protecting ourselves from any fraud. Fraudsters can be very convincing, but there are some things everyone can do to protect themselves from these devastating crimes:

  • If you are contacted by phone, but the call does not sound, or feel, genuine – hang up. 
  • Do not feel pressurised into making a payment. Take some time to think about it first.
  • Call back the person you think you should be making the payment to and check whether they have asked you to amend any payment details – they will be able to tell you immediately if you have been approached by a fraudster.
  • If you think you have fallen victim to a scam, call your bank immediately and let them know. 

Everyone should be protected from fraud and we are committed to making sure the appropriate systems and protections are put in place. We will be keeping our approach under review in light of the impact of COVID-19 as it develops and will be working with the FCA to ensure appropriate action is being taken to prevent fraud.