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‘Confirmation of Payee’ to be made more available

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) wants the fraud prevention tool to be more widely implemented.

Confirmation of Payee (CoP) is designed to reduce authorised push payment (APP) fraud in bank transfers by checking the name on the recipient’s account matches the details a payer has given to their bank. The name check tells payers whether there is a match or not. This means people can more easily spot when something isn’t right.

Every year thousands of people fall victim to APP scams – where they are tricked into sending money to an account controlled by a fraudster. The latest figures show that in the first half of 2021, £355m was lost to APP scams, overtaking card fraud losses.

Confirmation of Payee can also help prevent accidentally misdirected payments where someone keys in the wrong account number of sort code.

The name check system was introduced in July 2020 and adopted by the UK’s largest banking groups for Faster Payments and CHAPS transactions. However, there was no obligation for all banks to sign up to the service, although many have done so.

According to the PSR, there are now more than one million Confirmation of Payee requests every day and the regulator is calling for Confirmation of Payee to be more widely available.

Chris Hemsley, managing director of the PSR, said: “Confirmation of Payee has proven to be an effective way to stop scams from happening, but it should be widely available – we want to see more banks, building societies and financial institutions use this service to protect their customers. The work that has been happening to broaden the CoP service will mean that many more fraudulent and mis-directed payments should be prevented.

“There is currently good progress being made in making the service more widely available, but we will step in if we need to, including if we think that progress is stalling.”

Gareth Shaw, Which? head of money, said: “While many banks now have Confirmation of Payee measures in place, the regulator needs to make it mandatory for all payment providers as soon as possible so all consumers can benefit from the same level of security.

“Which? has warned the regulator that relying on some providers to voluntarily use this vital name-check security has left gaps which fraudsters are exploiting in order to scam victims.

“With levels of fraud at an all-time high, Confirmation of Payee does not diminish the urgent need for a system of mandatory rules so that victims are treated fairly and consistently. The government must swiftly take the necessary action to remove any barriers standing in the way of the regulator to introduce a simple reimbursement obligation on all firms using faster payment.”

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