New name check safeguard for payments revealed (October 2018)

  • Rules and standards for ‘Confirmation of Payee’ service released to the market
  • New service can help combat Authorised Push Payment fraud  
  • Research report sets out how users have influenced the design of the service  

The workings of a new ‘Confirmation of Payee’ service which can reduce the risk of payments being sent to the wrong account have been revealed today (Thursday 18 October 2018), by Pay.UK (formerly the New Payment System Operator), the UK’s leading retail payment authority.  

Currently, the account name is not checked when sending an electronic payment - and fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated in using this to trick people into sending money to the wrong account.   

Confirmation of Payee can help prevent many fraudulent payments from being made in the first place, by introducing another hurdle for fraudsters and giving effective warnings to customers about the risks of sending to an account where the name did not match.   

Under a new ‘Contingent Reimbursement Model’1 industry code also being introduced in 2019, it is anticipated that any customer who has taken due care and received a positive name match will get greater protection from financial loss, if they are a victim of Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud. 

How Confirmation of Payee will work  When setting up a new payment, banks will be able to check the name on the account of the person or organisation you are paying. There are three possible outcomes:  


If you used the correct account name, you will receive confirmation that the details match, and can proceed with the payment.

No, please check  

If you used a similar name to the account holder, you will be provided with the actual name of the account holder to check. You can update the details and try again, or contact the intended recipient to check the details.

No, the name is wrong

If you have entered the wrong name for the account holder you will be told the details do not match and advised to contact the person or organisation you are trying to pay.

  The matching decision is made by the intended recipient’s bank, as they have the best knowledge about the name of the person or business that is being checked. No matter what the outcome of the name check, the decision on whether to proceed with a payment will always rest with the sending customer - with the risks made clear if they choose to go ahead after receiving a non-match.

Banks, building societies, and other payment providers will be able to roll out Confirmation of Payee during 2019 as a way for their customers to check the name of who they are paying. This will reduce the risk of errors and certain types of fraud, such as ‘malicious redirection’ invoice scams where, by posing as a legitimate business known to customer, payers are convinced to redirect a payment to an account controlled by the fraudster.  

There will still be some types of ‘malicious payee’ fraud that Confirmation of Payee cannot address – for example, so called ‘purchase scams’ where someone is tricked into paying in advance for goods that do not exist.   

Paul Horlock, Chief Executive of Pay.UK, said:  

“Sending a payment with an incorrect sort code or account number is like addressing a letter with the wrong post code. Even if you have used the correct name it won’t reach the intended destination – and fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated in using this to trick people into sending money to the wrong account.   “Confirmation of Payee will let you check you have the correct name for the person or business you’re paying, giving better protection against certain types of fraud, and helping to stop accidental mistakes too.” 

As the organisation that runs the UK’s retail payment schemes, Pay.UK is responsible for setting the rules and standards that define how providers can implement the Confirmation of Payee service. These rules and standards will sit alongside guidelines that offer insights into how to meet users’ needs, in terms of language and customer experience.   

The specifications and guidelines for Confirmation of Payee were refined and tested during recent stakeholder and consumer research carried out by an independent research agency on behalf of Pay.UK. The research report, Confirmation of Payee: Understanding consumer and stakeholder perspectives, found the service proposition was generally well received, with emphasis placed on the need for instant verification of results, consistency in messaging and functionality, clarity about liability and extra considerations for vulnerable groups.    

Further engagement regarding the guidelines will be undertaken with potential participants during the rest of 2018 to support their implementation plans. The Payment Systems Regulator recently announced it will consult on requiring Payment Service Providers (PSPs) to implement Confirmation of Payee in the first half of 2019.