How Confirmation of Payee works

We’ve added another tool into our arsenal for the fight against fraud 💪 Confirmation of Payee gives you an additional shield against authorised push payment (APP) scams and reduces your risk of paying the wrong person by mistake.

What is Confirmation of Payee?

Confirmation of Payee (CoP) is a name-checking service that allows us to verify whether the name, sort code and account number you’ve entered for a recipient matches what their bank holds on file.

It gives you greater reassurance that you’re sending a payment to the intended person and not into someone else’s pockets – fraudster or otherwise.

CoP was introduced by the Payment Systems Regulator in 2020. First, the six biggest UK banks were required to introduce CoP for their customers. Then an additional 400 banks and financial service providers – including Tide – were required to adopt it by June 30, 2023. 

How Confirmation of Payee helps protect you from APP fraud

APP fraudsters are a serious threat to the UK’s small businesses. UK Finance reports that of the £239.3 million lost to APP fraud in the first 6 months of 2023, £42.6 million of that was taken from non-personal account users.

By posing as someone from a trusted organisation such as a bank, APP fraudsters trick people into transferring large amounts of money over to them. Once they’ve got your money, they’ll whisk it off to another account before cashing it out, making it difficult to trace.

It’s likely that an APP scammer will give you a fake name to hide their true identity. CoP alerts you to inconsistencies with your recipient’s details, so you’re aware that there could be a risk that you’re getting scammed. It’s there to make you stop, think and check before pressing send on a payment – and it may just save you from losing thousands. If you’re confident that your payment is going to the right person, you can always continue making the payment.

What a Confirmation of Payee check looks like

When you’re adding the recipient for your payment, we’ll ask you for the usual details: account name, account number and sort code. We’ll also ask you for the account type (personal or business). Once you tap ‘add recipient’, we’ll check whether the details you’ve entered match what the recipient’s bank holds on file for them.

Then, we’ll confirm whether:

There’s a complete match

Good news, the recipient’s name you’ve entered matches what their bank holds on file for them.

However, a little vigilance goes a long way. Even with this match, it’s always wise to stay alert as you can’t be completely sure that the person you’re paying is trustworthy. 

There’s no match

Warning – the details you’ve entered don’t match what your recipient’s bank holds on file for them.

👉 There’s a partial match

It’s close, but the details you’ve entered don’t exactly match what the bank holds on record for your recipient. This might not be a red flag, though. A recipient could forget that their account is held in their middle name rather than their first name, for example. In such a case, we recommend that you confirm all the necessary details with them before you make the payment. If they’re unsure, they can check their account details or ask their bank to confirm.

👀 You’ve entered the wrong details

The details you’ve entered don’t match up with any account at the recipient’s bank.

❗ We’re not able to check

In some cases, the CoP check can’t be completed. This might just be because the recipient’s bank isn’t participating in CoP. Many UK banks do use CoP, but you can check this on the relevant bank’s website.

If it’s not a complete match…

It’s always a good idea to double-check with your intended recipient (using trusted contact details) that they’ve given you the right details, to make sure that your payment doesn’t get sent to the wrong person. Then, you’ll have CoP as an extra check for these details. Remember, we won’t stop you from continuing to make the payment, but you might not be able to get a refund or reimbursement. As an extra precaution, you may also want to consider “the penny drop test”: a step involving transferring a small amount, such as a penny, to the recipient’s bank account to verify its authenticity before proceeding with the full payment.

If you think you might be the target of a scammer, don’t continue with the payment:

  • Reach out to Tide via Stop Scams UK immediately by dialing 159 if you’re in the UK or +44 20 4587 0366 if you’re abroad
  • As a second measure, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 if you’re in the UK or +44 300 123 2040 if you’re abroad
  • If you’re a Tide member, send us an in-app message for advice

🛑 We won’t ever ask you to share your verification codes, one-time passcodes (OTPs), account balance, full card number, CVV code, passwords or login details. We’ll never ask you to move money into another bank account to keep it safe, either.

Payments covered by Confirmation of Payee

Sterling payments transacted in the UK using Faster Payments, CHAPS and Bacs can be checked by CoP. At the moment, foreign currency payments and international payments can’t.

CoP isn’t used for Direct Debits as they’re already covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee, which protects you from incorrect payments and entitles you to a refund if a payment is taken in error.

📢 Introducing Tide Verified Payee: the extra layer of security for your transactions

This feature works hand-in-hand with CoP. Here’s the process: when you set up a new payment, we’ll check the recipient’s name you’ve entered against both a verified list of payees and the Companies House database. This way, you’ll be able to steer clear of any typos or fraudsters posing as legitimate businesses. 

Get up to date

CoP and our other features are only available in the latest version of the Tide app. So, head to the App Store or Google Play to check that you’ve updated yours.

Knowledge is one of the best defences for your business. Stay in the know about the latest scams affecting small businesses in our ‘Keep your business safe’ series.

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions, published on Unsplash

Amina Sinclair-Diallo

Amina Sinclair-Diallo

Midweight Copywriter

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