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More banks to offer name-checking service

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has confirmed plans for about 400 more financial firms to sign up to anti-fraud measure Confirmation of Payee (CoP).

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.

The move will see nearly all transactions made via Faster Payments and CHAPS covered by CoP by October 2024.

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.

This latest requirement from the PSR follows a direction the regulator gave in 2019 which saw the UK’s six biggest banking groups implement the system. Since then, additional non-directed firms have voluntarily implemented the service and there are now 59 financial organisations offering CoP.

The regulator is keen for CoP to be widely implemented by financial firms that send and receive payments. It says this is particularly important as the number of APP scams has continued to rise. According to the PSR, £583.2m was lost to APP scams in 2021.

The PSR has told firms it identifies as being in “group 1” to use CoP from 31 October 2023, and “group 2” firms to implement the system from 31 October 2024.

The PSR has prioritised group 1 because of the capabilities and size of the financial firms, and because adopting CoP quickly in these firms is likely to have a greater immediate impact on preventing APP scams overall.

‘CoP checks are a vital protection’

Kate Fitzgerald, head of policy at the PSR, said: “This direction is another big step in protecting people from the devastation that APP scams can inflict on people.”

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “Confirmation of Payee (CoP) checks are vital protections against fraud and Which? has warned of scammers targeting firms that have not implemented them, so it’s positive to see the regulator directing significantly more firms to implement it.

“Firms who are in a position to implement CoP measures now shouldn’t wait until the set deadline.

“However, victims still face a reimbursement lottery depending on who they bank with. New rules set out by the Payment Systems Regulator to require mandatory reimbursement in all but exceptional circumstances could be a gamechanger, leading to fairer and more consistent outcomes for victims. With fraud continuing to soar, those changes can’t come soon enough.”

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