A new way to check who you’re paying

Sending money using just a sort code and account number can be a nerve-wrecking experience, especially as many payments go to the payee’s account within seconds.

So we’re launching a new service called Confirmation of Payee (CoP) that will ask you for their name as well. Participating banks will match it against the actual name on their account and provide you with a response.

This is one of the many ways in which we’re working to keep you safe from fraud.

We’ll introduce CoP this year.

When you’re about to send a payment using CoP, you’ll:

  • Enter the payee’s full name (or trading name)
  • Select whether the account is a personal or business account
  • Key in the sort code, account number and any reference you wish to add

When you’ve entered these details, you’ll get one of the results below.

Result What this means What you can do Fraud advice
Yes, it’s a match You’ve got the payee’s account details exactly right. Confirm the payment.

If you have received their account details by letter, email or text message, we recommend you phone the payee (using a number you know is genuine) to check everything’s OK before sending any money.

Close match

The payee’s name you’ve entered is similar to what their bank’s records say, but doesn’t match exactly.

It could also be that you’ve said a personal account is a business one, or a business account is a personal account.

We will provide the name on the account and recommend you phone the payee (using a number you know is genuine) to check everything’s OK before sending any money.

Be careful that any differences are only minor. If they’re more fundamental, think twice before confirming the payment.
No match The details you’ve entered don’t match your payee’s.

We strongly recommend that you check and confirm the correct details with the payee before making the payment.

Phone them using a number you know is genuine and not by replying to an email or text message.

When this happens, stop immediately. Think about how you received these account details and why you’re sending this money.

Don’t send money until you’re comfortable that you’re paying who you expect to. If you choose to proceed we may not be able to retrieve the money.

Read about common scams and fraud, on our Keep it Safe page.
Unable to check account

We haven’t been able to check the payee’s account details. This could happen, for example, if their bank isn’t using CoP checks yet.

We strongly recommend that you check and confirm the correct details with the payee before making the payment.

Phone them using a number you know is genuine and not by replying to an email or text message.

Although some financial institutions have not signed up to the CoP scheme yet, you should continue to be careful when transferring money.

Only send funds to someone you know and have been able to verbally confirm account details with.

If you’re receiving a payment

Likewise, if you’re about to receive a payment it’s good to be able to reassure the sender that it’s you getting the money and not someone else. Make sure the name on your account is correct and up to date.

Confirmation of Payee FAQs

  • What payment types will use Confirmation of Payee?

    New payments, or an amendment to an existing payment made through Faster Payments or CHAPS (BACS, Direct Debit, direct credits, bulk and batch payments aren’t supported at this stage).

  • When will CoP be introduced?

    It will be rolled out in phases, starting in 2020, and running throughout the year as more banks and building societies adopt it.

  • Will all UK banks use CoP?

    Not straight away, but most UK banks will be ready for CoP at the start of 2020 including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, RBS and Santander. If you try to send a payment to someone whose bank is not yet registered for CoP you may get an alert to tell you.

  • Will this prevent fraud?

    Unfortunately not, but it’s an extra safeguard against it. Remember the bank, the police, HMRC or any other legitimate organisation will never ask you to transfer money from your account to keep it safe, but a criminal would. Just because the account name matches does not mean it might not be a scam. For more information about fraud prevention have a look at our Keep it Safe page.

  • Can CoP stop payments from being made?

    No – you can still send payments even if you’re warned that your payee’s details don’t match. But please be aware that if you decide to continue with the payment without checking the payee’s details, we may not be able to recover the money you sent if it goes to the wrong person.

    No payments will be made automatically. Even when the name matches, you will always be required to confirm that you want to proceed with the payment.

  • Can I opt out of CoP?

    Yes – although you’ll be automatically opted in to CoP, you can opt out if there is a legitimate reason for doing so. More information on how to opt out will be included here at a later date.

  • Where can I find more information on CoP?