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August 1, 2019updated 21 Aug 2019 3:50pm

UK Payment Systems Regulator sets 31 March 2020 date to implement Confirmation of Payee

By Douglas Blakey

The UK Payment Systems Regulator orders the six largest banking groups to implement Confirmation of Payee by 31 March 2020.

Confirmation of Payee is designed to protect banking customers from Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams. Specifically, it aims to ensure that customers do not send payments to the wrong account or organisation.

The six banking groups, Lloyds, RBS NatWest, Barclays, HSBC, Nationwide and Santander are involved in around 90% of bank transfers.

The regulator consulted with the UK’s six largest banking groups in May 2019. The PSR directs that from 31 December 2019 the banks must respond to confirmation of payee requests. From this date banks must have the capability to talk to each other. For example, a receiving bank must be able to notify the sending bank that there is not a match.

Furthermore, from 31 March 2020 the banks must send confirmation of payee requests and notify the payer of the outcome. For example, if there was a name match or a mis-match, banks should notify the person making the payment.

The PSR’s confirmation of payee (CoP) direction follows a significant amount of work to drive change and prevent APP scams. Earlier this year, the PSR developed a voluntary industry code setting out how APP victims can be reimbursed.

CoP: how it will work

CoP works by checking the name of the account a payer sends money to matches the name entered. Anyone setting up a payment will be alerted if the name on the recipient account does not match, is incorrect or misspelt. This means that it can be corrected before a payment is made.

To protect consumers and banks, CoP needs widespread coverage and implementation in a timely and coordinated way. That is why the PSR is using its powers to direct members of the UK’s six largest banking groups.

Push payment fraud cost UK consumers £209m in the second half of 2018, up 44% from the first half. Moreover, of the £354m lost to this form of fraud in 2018 a mere £83m was recovered.

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