Confirmation of Payee finally arrives in the UK this month to foil fraudsters

By Oliver Smith on Tuesday 9 June 2020

Digital Banking

Bad name, great feature.

Confirmation of Payee finally arrives in the UK this month to foil fraudsters
Image source: Praveesh Palakeel/Unsplash.

After years in development, a new Confirmation of Payee system is being rolled out this month by UK banks that checks the name of the person you’re transferring money to with the name on the account.

Previously for most bank-to-bank transfers the name field was practically ignored, with only the sort code and account number used to route payments.

This played into the hands of fraudsters who could pose as organisations or individuals and trick people to transfer them money, with no way of checking who the money was actually being sent to.

The sadly all-too-common con is for criminals to call victims pretending to be calling from their bank and tell them that their account had been compromised and to transfer their funds into a ‘safe’ account.

Not any more, now names are being checked against names on the account and, if the match isn’t exact, the full name of the account holder (or business, or crook) will be revealed.

Unfortunately it’s up to each bank to add Confirmation of Payee by 30 June, and both banks involved in a transaction must be signed up for it to work.

Yesterday NatWest added the feature with the help of Dutch fintech SurePay—a spin-off startup from Rabobank which is responsible for checking Confirmation of Payee on around 90 per cent of Dutch payments—joining RBS, Lloyds, Halifax and others in implementing the feature.

Monzo and Starling are both gradually rolling out the feature, with the aim of having it in the hands of customers by the end of the month, while Virgin Money hasn’t yet started a rollout and TSB is rolling the feature out with an October target date.

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