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What is Confirmation of Payee (CoP) and how does it work?

Confirmation of Payee (CoP) is a name checking service. When you create a single UK sterling payment or regular payment to someone for the first time, a check will be made on the name of the person or organisation, along with account type, you provide against the details held for that payee by their bank.

It is important to note that CoP is a pre-payment check. Once the name has been checked, you will still have to instruct the payment to be made as a final step.

There are four possible CoP ‘check’ responses:

  1. “It's a match” – you will receive confirmation that all of the details match.
  2. “It’s a close match” – this means that the name on the account or the account type (Personal or Business) of the person you are paying doesn’t exactly match what you have provided. You can contact the intended recipient to check the details before making the payment or update the details to the ones provided if you want to, rather than contacting the recipient.
  3. "It’s not a match" – we’ll let you know it’s not a match and ask you to contact the person or business you’re trying to pay to confirm the correct details .
  4. "Unavailable/unable to check" - there may be occasions where a CoP check is unavailable. For example, where the account holder’s bank doesn’t support CoP. In this instance, it’s important you contact the payee to confirm the details are correct before continuing.

When checking payment details, it’s important to contact the person or business on a phone number you trust. Never call a phone number from an email or text message exchange, which can be faked by the criminal to trick you into believing it’s genuine.

Never be pressurised into continuing with a payment when the details don’t match or where the account cannot be checked.

Why are we introducing Confirmation of Payee (CoP)?

Confirmation of Payee (CoP) aims to give our customers greater confidence they are paying who they intended.

Our priority is to keep your money safe and secure. We’re introducing this name checking service to help protect you from so called “authorised push payment” scams. These are scams where people are tricked into sending money to criminals, who often pretend to be people they are not.

It will also help avoid simple mistakes like mis-typing account details when you set up a new payment.

What does CoP mean for you?

Payments you make

When you set up a new single UK sterling payment or change an existing mandate or regular payment, a CoP check will be made against the name of the person or business you want to pay with their bank:

  • If you're paying a person, please use their first or main name and last name
  • If you're paying a business, please use the business name or trading name registered to their account
  • You will need to choose the type of account you are paying i.e. personal or business

You'll then receive one of the four possible outcomes; match, close match, no match or unable/unavailable. You’ll be advised to check if the name doesn’t match fully.

Payments made to you

The account details you provide to the person or business who is trying to pay you will be CoP checked against the actual name held on your account.

What should I do if I get a CoP no match?

If you receive a no match, first check you have entered the details correctly. If you have, then you should contact the person or business you are trying to pay to confirm the account name, sort code, account number and account type (Business account or Personal account). Remember to contact that person on a number that you know to be theirs and beware of any new communication requesting payment or different contact details.

If, after checking with the person or business you are trying to pay, they inform you that the details are correct, we recommend that you request they contact their payment provider (usually their bank or building society) to confirm the details that are held on their account match those provided to you.

If things still don’t seem right, it could indicate a scam. Fraudsters will attempt to trick you into sending money by posing as an individual or company that you trust, such as your bank, your internet service provider or a trusted supplier. To help you avoid this, you should carefully consider whether the payment request is genuine or you may lose your money. This is especially true where you receive a ‘no match’ response following a CoP check.

Remember that we will NEVER contact you and ask you to move money to keep it safe.

For more information on how to stay safe when banking online visit our security centre. (opens in a new window)

Who will decide whether a name is a match?

The payment provider of the person or business you are paying (usually their bank or building society) will decide if the name and account details sent to them for the CoP check are a match. They will send their response to us (as your payment provider) and this will be shown to you in the CoP check journey before continuing to make the payment.

If the name matches, will payments happen automatically?

No, payments will never be made without your confirmed instruction. Once you know whether the name is a match it will be your decision whether to proceed with a payment.

Remember CoP is a pre-payment check, the name check and the payment are not made together therefore the payment cannot happen automatically.

What payments and accounts types are impacted to by CoP?

CoP covers payments made by and to all sterling accounts in the UK that are addressable by sort code and account number. The service is focusing on domestic Faster Payments, CHAPS and Standing Orders.

What name should I use when I am setting up a new payment when CoP becomes available?

If you're a paying a person, please use their first name and last name.

If you're paying a business, please use the business name or trading name registered to their account.

You may need to contact the recipient to obtain the correct name held on the account. Make sure that this matches what you expect based on the person or business you intend to pay.

Will a CoP check be required when making a payment to an existing payee?

No, CoP requests will only be generated when you set up a new payee or amend an existing payee mandate.

Will a CoP check be required when making a Pay Your Contacts payment?

No, CoP is not required for Pay Your Contacts.

Pay Your Contacts lets you send money to someone aged 16 and over with a UK mobile number who has an Royal Bank of Scotland mobile banking app or a valid UK Visa debit card, credit card or pre-paid cards.

For more information in relation to Pay Your Contact payments please see 'What is Paym?' (opens in a new window)

How is your data kept secure?

All of your information is protected and held on a highly secure system. This system undergoes rigorous security checks and is monitored by our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

Will every payment provider use CoP?

Not immediately, but several payment providers (including Bank of Scotland, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Nationwide, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Ulster Bank and TSB) have introduced the CoP service.

If a payment provider has not registered for this service, you will get a notification that a CoP check is not possible for the payment provider. If this happens, it’s important you’re fully confident the payee details are correct and the payment request is trustworthy before continuing.

Can I opt out of the CoP service?

Confirmation of Payee is an Industry wide service put in place to help prevent customers from making a payment to the wrong account, and to protect against scams by giving customers greater confidence they are paying who they intended. We therefore strongly recommend that all customers remain opted into Confirmation of Payee.

Opting out will mean that if you are the recipient of a payment, we will not be able to confirm your account details with a person or business who is making a payment to you. However, you will still be able to use the CoP service when you are making a payment to a business or someone else.

If you’d like to discuss opting out of CoP, please contact us (opens in a new window).

If you do opt out, you can opt back in at any time.

Why does someone trying to pay me get an error or unable to CoP check message?

This will happen if you’ve opted out of the Confirmation of Payee service. If you haven’t opted out please contact us and we’ll help to identify the reason.

Can I undertake a CoP check for my existing payees?

If you’d like to undertake a CoP check for an existing payee, you’ll need to delete the payee and then add them as a new payee. You will be prompted to perform a CoP check as part of the new payee process.

How many characters can I enter for account name?

The Account Name is a new field that will be used for CoP verification and can accommodate up to 140 characters.

What should I enter if the payee is known by a different name, such as their middle name?

You need to enter the payee’s name as it appears on their account. If you are unsure, we recommend that you request they contact their payment provider (usually their bank or building society) to confirm the name held on their account.

Why is a full name and a payee name required?

Once CoP is live, there will be a "Payee name" (mobile) and "Full name" (online) which are new 140 character fields used for CoP verification.

The second field, "Payee nickname" (mobile) and "Payee name" (online) will be the name which will appear on your statement when you make a payment to them.

What should I do if I get a CoP close match?

This means that the name on the account or the account type (Personal or Business) doesn’t exactly match what you have provided.

You will be provided with a suggested name and/or account type, so please check if the suggested name provided is correct. If it doesn’t look right, or you’re not sure, contact the person or business you are trying to pay to check their details.