The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be attributed to the European Payments Council.
After a few years in development, a new Confirmation of Payee (CoP) system was rolled out last month by UK banks. In short, the CoP enables consumers to see whether the name of the person they think they are paying matches the actual name on the account. We wanted to know more about this new service and interviewed Brian Cunnington, from Pay.UK and currently leading the implementation of CoP into the UK market.
Q. How would you describe in general terms the CoP service for those unfamiliar with the topic? What led to the creation of this new service?
CoP is a way of giving end-users of payment systems greater assurance that they are sending their payments to the intended recipient. It is, in essence, an ‘account name checking service’ that can help avoid payments being accidentally misdirected.
This will address certain types of authorised push payment (APP) fraud, by introducing another hurdle for fraudsters and giving effective warnings to customers about the risks of sending payments to an account where the name does not match.
Q. How does CoP work, for those unfamiliar with the topic?
CoP allows a payer to check that the name (including whether the account is a personal or business account) they give for a new payee is the same as the account name/type held by the payee’s bank. Millions of CoP requests are now successfully being made every week.
The CoP check starts when a payer begins setting up a new payee with their bank. The payer provides the account name, sort code, account name, account number and indicates the account type (personal/business). These details are then passed to the payee bank which checks the information given.
There are four possible outcomes that can be returned to the payer;
- Yes – the name and account type you supplied matches the details on the account
- No – the name doesn’t match the name held on the account. Please check with the payee
- No – the name is a close match, the name on the account is ‘Joe Bloggs’. Please check with the payee
- Unavailable – it has not been able to check the name because of a timeout, account doesn’t exist, account is not supported for CoP etc.
Q. What payment types use the new service?
CoP is payments agnostic. Initially, it is being used to check new beneficiaries being set up for both Faster Payments and CHAPS.
Q. What are the main benefits for customers using it?
CoP helps protect consumers and businesses from certain types of fraud and misdirected payments by letting them know if the account name they have entered matches the account name of the recipient.
Q. How do you see the CoP evolving in the coming years?
Pay.UK will be developing the CoP proposition further, with a view to including other participants that do not fall within the acceptance criteria at this time. These include:
- Organisations whose customers are addressed via a secondary reference (i.e. an agency payment service provider ( ) that does not have a sort code allocated to them with their own bank code in the Extended Industry Sorting Code Directory (EISCD))
- Organisations not registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- Non- e.g. Third Party Providers ( ) / Payment Initiation Service Providers ( )/Account Information Service Providers (AISPs)
- Corporate or Solution provider access to enable much wider access.
If you would like to comment on this article, please identify yourself with your first and last name. Your name will appear next to your comment. Email addresses will not be published. Please note that by accessing or contributing to the discussion you agree to abide by the EPC website conditions of use.