Be sure who you pay

It has been my privilege to join SurePay at the 2022 Building Societies Annual Conference in Liverpool. The event was a great opportunity to think about the role of building societies in ensuring that the UK’s Confirmation of Payee service delivers “safer payments through (CoP) service ubiquity” or, as SurePay put it, “be sure who you pay”.


Combating payment fraud

In 2020 the Confirmation of Payee (CoP) service was formally launched in UK to help reduce fraud and misdirected payments.

Confirmation of Payee 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.

The Confirmation of Payee service seeks to give organisations and consumers greater assurance that they are sending payments to the intended recipient.

Neither perfect or a silver bullet, the implementation of Confirmation of Payee is proving to be an effective way of combating Authorised Push Payment Scams (e.g. where a fraudster tricks their victims into willingly making a large bank transfer to them).

Confirmation of Payee also helps to avoid payments being sent to the wrong account due to ‘fat fingers’ (keyboard errors) when we type in somebody’s Sort Code and Account Number.

With the number of banks participating in the Confirmation of Payee service growing, attention is now turning to organisations such as building societies who are evaluating how the service can both protect the society itself from fraud and ensure that it continues to serve its customers well.

The inclusion of secondary account information (a “unique identifier” or “roll number”) within the scope of the CoP service represents an adoption opportunity which will afford customers of building societies the same level of payment protection that customers of the UK’s most payment active Payment Service Providers have enjoyed for the past couple of years.

Adopting CoP offers a building society a number of benefits including:

  • Improved member experience.
  • Protection and security (reduced risk of fraud).
  • Seamless onboarding process.
  • A Roll Number / SRD validator.
  • Member retention.

Expanding use cases

With opportune timing the availability of Confirmation of Payee for building societies coincides with evidence that adoption of CoP is becoming an integral part of transformation programmes by helping to improve payment flows, reduce friction in on-boarding process, supporting off line data provisioning and support mortgage / loan validation processes. 

All significant opportunities to help move customers towards a safer and more seamless user experience through the adoption of Confirmation of Payee.


Fagan’s gone digital

As the final phase of the Confirmation of Payee progresses it is important that building societies ensure that they engage and plan to adopt CoP. 

As service ubiquity becomes a closer reality it is clear that institutions that are slow to adopt CoP will face a growing probability of becoming a fraudsters destination.

Against this backdrop, the CoP service offers more than ‘just’ a name checking service – it offers opportunities to improve payment flows, reduce on-boarding process friction and support validation processes.


Taking the necessary steps

For payment service providers like building societies, taking the necessary steps to ensure payments or deposits made by their members remain safe, while not negatively impacting on the user-experience is key. 

That’s why Confirmation of Payee (CoP) is a ‘must-have’. 

Put simply, CoP is an account name checking service in the UK that helps to prevent payments from being accidentally or fraudulently misdirected. 

With over one million CoP checks taking place every day in the UK and having been adopted by over 30 UK banks who make up 95% of all Faster Payments volumes, CoP is quickly becoming widely respected in the payment industry as a significant part of the efforts to thwart the fraudster.

Our friends over at SurePay provide a plug-in solution (encompassing both API connections and batch file submissions) that seeks to simplify the payment journey for building society members. 

SurePay performs over 350,000 checks a day in the UK, which is approximately 35% of all traffic.

For more about the UK’s Confirmation of Payee service and SurePay’s solution:

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