Public consultation on the Verification Of Payee Scheme Rulebook

The European Payments Council (EPC) is launching a public consultation on its proposed Verification Of Payee (VOP) scheme rulebook (EPC218-23) and the proposed EPC recommendations for the matching processes under the VOP scheme rulebook (EPC288-23), which can be downloaded below. The public consultation runs for a 90-calendar day period from 20 February up to and including 19 May 2024.

This proposed rulebook has been originally developed to support payment service providers (PSPs) in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) that will be required to comply with legal obligations on the verification of a payee in the case of credit transfers as outlined in the proposed EU Instant Payments Regulation (IPR) amending the SEPA Regulation.

Accordingly, this proposed version 0.1 of the VOP scheme rulebook focuses to predominantly fulfil the EU legislative requirements set out by the IPR. This means that for the time being, and to allow PSPs in the EEA to comply with the new regulatory requirements within the given deadlines, the rulebook limits itself to verifications of a payee related to a SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) or a SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst). Future versions of the VOP scheme rulebook could cover other payment instruments as well, depending on market needs or interest.

The proposed VOP scheme allows the PSP of the payer (the Requesting PSP) to instantly send to the PSP of the payee (the Responding PSP), a request to verify the IBAN and the name of the payee as given by the payer (the Requester), and potentially in addition, an unambiguous identification code (e.g., Value-Added Tax (VAT) number, an Legal Entity Identifier (LEI), social security code) about that payee. The reason for this request is that the payer intends to initiate an SCT or an SCT Inst transaction to the payee.

The Responding PSP instantly verifies whether the received data matches with the concerned data registered for that payee at the Responding PSP. The Responding PSP immediately provides the Requesting PSP with a VOP response (e.g., match, no match, close match with the name of the payee, match/verification check not possible). The Requesting PSP immediately passes on the response to the payer.

All interested stakeholders are invited to participate in the public consultation by sending their feedback on the proposed VOP scheme rulebook and the proposed EPC recommendations for the matching processes under the VOP scheme rulebook, via e-mail to [email protected] by 19 May 2024 (midnight Brussels time) at the latest. The EPC will not consider any feedback received after this deadline. To submit your feedback please use the response template (EPC289-23) that can be downloaded below.

In the period from end-May to August 2024, the EPC will then review the feedback received from this public consultation.

During this public consultation, the EPC will also work out:

  • Technical Inter-PSP space specifications for the VOP scheme based on Application Programming Interface (API) technology that makes use of ISO 20022 resource elements. 
  • Requirements for a Directory Service supporting VOP as well as other API-based EPC schemes. The EPC will undertake a Request-For-Proposal process to define the supplier of a ‘default’ EPC Directory Service (EDS), aiming at guaranteeing interoperability and reachability between VOP Requesting and Responding PSPs.

The EPC aims to have the formal version 1.0 of the VOP scheme rulebook, the related VOP scheme Inter-PSP API specifications, and the EPC recommendations for the matching processes under the VOP scheme rulebook ready by the end of September 2024.

The 2024 VOP scheme rulebook itself would then enter into force in time to fulfil the EU Instant Payments Regulation (IPR) regulatory obligations, whose relevant deadline is currently foreseen for September or October 2025.

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