As of today, there is now widespread coverage of the new fraud-prevention tool – referred to as Confirmation of Payee (CoP) – which gives people the additional protection of checking the name of who you want to pay against the account number you are paying. This has been adopted by members of the UK’s six largest banking groups1. Customers who want to make a payment will now have much more certainty that their money is being sent to the right person.

This marks a significant milestone in reducing Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams. This new service is designed to make it harder for fraudsters to pretend to be someone else, helping to reduce fraud (particularly APP scams) and accidentally misdirected payments.

CoP means the members of these six banking groups can check the name on a payee’s account against the sort code and account number. Customers setting up a new payee will now be able to confirm that the name they’ve entered matches the one on the account they’re intending to pay. This helps to prevent payments going to the wrong account, whether accidentally or due to fraudsters. 

In August 2019, the PSR used its regulatory powers (in the form of Specific Direction 10) to require members of the UK’s six largest banking groups to implement CoP by the end of March 2020. Recognising the pressure on businesses due to COVID-19, the regulator announced it would not take formal action until 30 June as long as consumers were not disadvantaged over the additional three months.

By giving the six directed banking groups that additional time, they have been able to implement the new service successfully giving greater protections to consumers. 

Chris Hemsley, Managing Director of the PSR said:

“The widespread implementation of this additional name-checking provides a new, added layer of protection for consumers. As well as helping stop fraudsters from committing devastating crimes, it will also help people avoid paying the wrong person accidentally. 

“We’re pleased to have reached this significant point, and I welcome the work that the directed Banks and Building Societies have put in to reach this point. Their customers can now make payments with greater assurance that their money is going to the person they intended.”

The PSR has also seen the first non-directed banks introduce CoP, with Monzo and Starling having started to introduce the full service to their customers. The regulator is now turning its attention to the impact of CoP on fraud prevention before assessing what further action may be required. 

Making sure people are appropriately protected against fraud will continue to play a significant part in the PSR’s work and the regulator will work with industry to drive further implementation across all payment service providers as well as supporting other efforts to make life harder for fraudsters. 

1Bank of Scotland plc, Barclays Bank UK plc, Barclays Bank plc, HSBC Bank plc, HSBC UK Bank plc, Lloyds Bank plc, National Westminster Bank plc, Nationwide Building Society, Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Santander UK plc and Ulster Bank Limited