Confirmation of Payee (CoP), the account name checking service that the UK banks are due to implement by the end of March 2020 has, today, been subject to a COVID-19 related update by the Payment Systems Regulator.

The PSR have today announced:

“We understand that many of the directed banks are managing COVID-19 related risks and are working hard to protect their customers. We are acutely aware of the current and significant pressure on organisations to do all they can for their customers, while also effectively looking after the people who work for them and making sure the UK’s banking industry can continue to be resilient.

This means we have carefully considered our regulatory approach to the implementation of this system. As a result of our assessment of the current situation, we have informed the directed banks that if they are unable to fully implement CoP by 31 March:

– Banks must take appropriate steps to roll out CoP by 30 June 2020, taking into account the impacts of COVID-19, even if that means they do not meet the original 31 March 2020 deadline.

– We expect the directed banks to ensure customers who would have benefitted from the protections of CoP are not otherwise disadvantaged from any COVID-19 related delay, including refunding victims of fraud if CoP would have prevented it from happening.

– We will keep these arrangements under review as the wider impacts of COVID-19 are better understood.

We have been very clear that where the directed banks provide appropriate protection to people, we will not take any formal action in respect of delays to the introduction of CoP. We fully expect the banks to do everything they can to protect people in the meantime and implement CoP by 30 June 2020.”

Although some banks have already rolled out the name checking service we can probably expect those banks who have yet to meet the end March deadline will use the extra three months to roll out the new name checking service – in the meantime we’ll have to continue to rely on post (fraud) event reimbursements.

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