CoP could have prevented £320m in fraud since 2017

A new name-checking service, Confirmation of Payee (CoP), that warns bank customers when a payee’s name doesn’t match the account number provided, is due to be rolled out by the end of this month – a measure that Which? has estimated could have prevented £320m in bank transfer fraud since 2017.

Research from Which? suggested CoP has a “vital” role to play in reducing the amount of money lost to bank transfer fraud, with estimates that £1.1bn in total could have been lost to it over the past three years – £320m of which could have been prevented if CoP had been introduced at the start of 2017.

Under the direction of the payments regulator, Which? highlighted that the six largest banking groups – Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Santander, HSBC Group (excluding M&S Bank) and Nationwide Building Society – must all offer CoP to protect customers when they pay someone new, or edit an existing payee.

The new system was originally meant to go live in July 2019, but the major banks now have until 31 March 2020 to be up and running. With some banks and building societies not yet forced to sign up, however, and potential teething problems with those that are, Which? has warned customers to “remain on guard” as some may remain unprotected.

Commenting on the research from Which?, Shieldpay founder and CEO, Peter Janes, said: “The runaway train that is fraud in the UK only continues to gain speed as banks fail to take firm action. Consumers are losing hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of pounds of their hard-earned money.

“These sums are life-changing and it is simply not good enough. The industry has to do more to protect people, as the fraudsters show no signs of slowing down. 
 
“Measures like CoP will help but there is not yet an industry wide consensus on its implementation, which is disappointing. The adoption of increasingly sophisticated technology which fully verifies identity, and raises red flags about past transactions, must be made compulsory for banks. Only this way will we be able to prevent millions of people becoming victims.”

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