UK watchdog preps 'confirmation of payee' service

UK watchdog preps 'confirmation of payee' service

The UK's top retail payments authority has unveiled details of a new 'confirmation of payee' service designed to cut the risk of money being sent to the wrong accounts.

Currently, the account name is not checked when sending an electronic payment - and fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated in using this to trick people into sending money to the wrong account.

Pay.UK (which until today was called the New Payment System Operator) is looking to change this, creating a new hurdle for fraudsters and giving effective warnings to customers about the risks of sending to an account where the name did not match.

From next year, banks building societies and other providers will be able to roll out the service. When customers set up a new payment, or amending an existing one, banks will be able to check the name on the account of the person or organisation being paid.

If the account name is correct, customers will receive confirmation and can make the payment. If the name is nearly but not quite correct, they will be given the actual name to check and then update the details. If the name is completely wrong, they will be advised to contact the recipient to get the correct details.

The matching decision is made by the intended recipient’s bank, as they have the best knowledge about the name of the person or business that is being checked. No matter what the outcome of the name check, the decision on whether to proceed with a payment will always rest with the sending customer - with the risks made clear if they choose to go ahead after receiving a non-match.

Paul Horlock, chief executive, Pay.UK, says: "Sending a payment with an incorrect sort code or account number is like addressing a letter with the wrong post code. Even if you have used the correct name it won’t reach the intended destination - and fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated in using this to trick people into sending money to the wrong account.

"Confirmation of Payee will let you check you have the correct name for the person or business you’re paying, giving better protection against certain types of fraud, and helping to stop accidental mistakes too."

Comments: (5)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 October, 2018, 12:22Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Long overdue in my opinion .....

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 October, 2018, 12:30Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Where does PSD2 stand in that respect?..

Paul Love
Paul Love - Konsentus - Nottingham 18 October, 2018, 14:11Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

If there is to be such a "look up" process to confirm recipients, then why not add a little intelligence to flag accounts that have been used for suspected fraudulent purposes in the past and give the customer some actually useful information for their pay/no-pay decision.

This will probably need more than just the recipients bank to be involved in the process!

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 October, 2018, 17:10Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

And tie is SCA with SMA (strong merchant auth), for coherent seamless UX.

Keith Appleyard
Keith Appleyard - available for hire - Bromley 18 October, 2018, 19:02Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

As reported, my worry is I won't be able to differentiate between my own Bank accounts easily. I have 6 Bank accounts with 2 Banks that I move money to and from frequently (almost daily). The Bank records just have my Name on them; on my Internet Banking I append to my Name an additional word to help identify the account - eg "Gold", "Saver", "Deposit" etc. If I'm somehow forced to remove these, it's going to be a right pain, and even greater scope for confusion.

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