Confirmation of Payee

Introduction

All electronic payments are addressed using the sort code and account number provided by the person sending the payment. The name of the receiving customer isn’t used to address the payment. This is because today there is currently not a check in place to match the account name to the sort code and account number.

A Confirmation of Payee (CoP) service – simply, a way to check the account name alongside the sort code and account number – could play an important part in reducing the misdirection of payments due to unintentional errors, and combat certain types of authorised push payment’ scams, where a fraudster tricks someone into paying money into an account they didn’t intend to.

The NPSO is working to define the rules and standards for a Confirmation of Payee (CoP) service. During June and July 2018 we held a series of roundtables, consumer focus groups and structured interviews with end users of payment services, consumer representative bodies, charities and corporates, trade bodies, government departments, payment services providers, and more. This engagement has helped to test and validate that the CoP proposition will deliver the end user outcomes envisaged in the Payments Strategy Forum’s Blueprint.

Payment Service Providers (PSPs) will be in control of implementing the feature into their customers’ payment journeys to enhance a payer’s control, trust and confidence, and we have been working throughout 2018 with PSPs from across the industry to craft the proposition and support the technical development of the CoP solution.

We are on track with this activity, which will facilitate the creation of a Confirmation of Payee capability for the market – these outputs will be used to inform the CoP proposition and guidelines, which will be published during early October 2018.

Developers

A key part of the development of Confirmation of Payee is engaging the developer community to develop the technical API (‘application programming interface)’ specification needed to enable the delivery of CoP in the market.

The NPSO is collaborating on this project with the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), the government-backed initiative that aims to bring more competition and innovation to financial services. The NPSO will be utilising the Open Banking Architecture (Directory) to support the CoP service.

In June 2018, the NPSO partnered with Open Banking to publish the initial API logical specification on its developer portal.

Registered users of the Open Banking developer portal can view the API specification here:

Next Steps

The aim is to complete this work during autumn 2018 so that banks, building societies and other customer-facing organisations can begin to develop and offer CoP services to customers soon afterwards as part of their payee set-up journey.

Our PSP groups have expressed an interest to hear from vendors who may be looking to provide such solutions. The NPSO is looking to support this request and is now inviting vendors to express an interest in presenting how they can support Payment Service Providers (PSPs) with a Confirmation of Payee solution. To facilitate this, the NPSO will share the relevant documentation with interested parties, subject to signing the NPSO Non-Disclosure Agreement, and host an event in London for you to pitch your solution to the PSP community.

Interested vendors should click here to find out more about the opportunity to present your solution to the PSP community.

For further information regarding Confirmation of Payee, or to arrange a one-to-one meeting with the project team, please contact: NPA_Workstream_C@newpso.uk