Last year, the industry launched Payee Confirmation (CoP), a new check that meant anyone trying to transfer money to an account could only do so if they had the correct cardholder name.
The “Big Six” Main Street banks, as well as several smaller players including Monzo, Starling and Revolut, now operate this name verification system, which allows you to be sure you are paying the right person or company. .
But several banks have yet to introduce the service, and some can’t seem to say precisely when or even if their customers will benefit from the protection it offers.
Metro Bank says it is something it could do in the future, while Tesco Bank only says it is taking steps to introduce it “as soon as possible”.
This not only affects the customers of those banks in particular, but also anyone who wants to transfer money to them. If your bank is registered but you try to pay someone whose bank does not participate, you will receive a message that your bank was unable to verify the recipient’s details. Typically, you’ll be told you need to verify with the person you’re paying, and experts say it’s important to contact them to confirm the details are correct.
The COP was introduced as part of attempts to stem the growing wave of wire transfer fraud.
In a common scam, email accounts are hacked in order to trick consumers into sending money to accounts run by criminals.
This is called “authorized push payment” (APP) fraud, and Guardian Money has presented a series of cases where victims have lost substantial sums. Last July we featured a woman who lost over £ 300,000 to fraudsters (she got it back after our intervention).
It has been a long time since anyone who transfers money has been asked for the recipient’s account name, account number, and sort code. But until last year, banks weren’t checking whether the account name was correct.
In 2019, the UK’s largest banks – Bank of Scotland (which includes Halifax), Barclays, HSBC (including First Direct), Lloyds, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank – as well as the Nationwide Building Society were ordered by the payments regulator to introduce CoP.
Initially scheduled for the end of March 2020, the deadline was effectively extended until the end of June 2020 due to the pandemic.
Several companies, including Monzo, Starling and Revolut, have signed up voluntarily.
The system is designed to ensure that when you pay someone, the right person or company gets it. Checks are made to ensure that the account details you provide match those held by the bank receiving the payment.
When you set up a new payment or edit an existing payment with these banks, one of the following four things can happen:
• If you used the correct account name, this is a complete match and you can complete payment.
• If you used a name similar to the account holder, the system will indicate that this is a close match and you will receive the name it has in the file. You can then decide to make the payment or verify with the person you are paying.
• If you enter the wrong name, you will be told the details do not match and you will be advised to verify with the person you are paying before continuing.
• You might receive a message indicating that name match is not available.
The payments systems regulator says the system makes it harder for fraudsters to impersonate someone else and will also help people avoid accidentally paying the wrong person.
Consumer organization Which one? believes that CoP should be mandatory for all payment providers and that they should be required to implement it as soon as possible so that everyone can benefit from the same level of security.
We surveyed banks that do not yet offer CoP on their plans.
Metro Bank says: “We are currently exploring options for implementing CoP for our clients.” He adds that “we can reassure our customers that they will continue to be protected”, and that it is one of the banks that has subscribed to a voluntary code that requires them to reimburse customers who are victims of APP scams (on condition to respect the conditions).
Tesco Bank says he is “determined to implement CoP and is taking active steps to introduce it as soon as possible”. However, he was unable to provide specific time frames. He adds: “In the meantime, our customers continue to benefit from Tesco Bank’s robust fraud protection processes… Unless an investigation finds that a customer has demonstrated material negligence or complicity in fraud, we will reimburse them. ”
Virgin money says he’s “working to deliver CoP later this year.”
The cooperative bank says, “We will make the CoP available to customers; it is not fully available at this time, but it is under development and we expect the service to be in place for customers before the end of April. ”
BST says the service will be launched “in the coming weeks”. He adds that its “one-time” fraud refund guarantee also protects TSB customers from any loss due to bank fraud on their accounts. He claims to have reimbursed 99% of all fraud cases, compared to an industry average of 38%.
Triodos Bank says he is in the process of setting up a CoP. “We can’t confirm an exact date, but we expect it to be the first half of this year.”
A non-big six bank that did not want to be identified told Guardian Money that while it appears that some smaller banks have “been dragging their heels” on this, “the reality is that this is another example of the solution. designed for the big six (both in complexity and cost of delivery), and we were effectively stuck ”.
We submitted this to the official payment organization Pay.UK, who told us that since last June more than a dozen other providers have implemented CoP, and more are expected to sign up this year..
He says he’s working to expand the program so that all payment providers who hold customer accounts can join. “Pay.UK is working closely with the industry and the payment systems regulator to define the timeline for rolling out this improvement in 2021 and beyond,” he said.