PSR delays complicated ‘Payee check’ enforcement until 2020

The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), the supervisory body overseeing UK payment networks and transactional processes has confirmed that it has delayed enforcing online ‘Confirmation of Payee – COP’ name check and ID provisions to March 2020.

Announced in October 2018, the PSR stated that it would move to enforce COP provisions on UK banks and payment systems providers, forcing payee ID-checks to protect UK consumers against ‘authorised push-payment-scams’.

In its original mandate, PSR would require UK financial institutions to implement new COP procedures referencing customer names against bank sort-code and account details by 1 July 2019.

Nevertheless, having taken feedback from the UK’s largest banks following a COP consultation, the PSR will delay implementation of the referencing scheme to 31 March 2020.

Accounting for approximately ‘90% of bank transfers’, the UK’s six largest banking groups, stated that they could not modify transactional systems to meet COP enforcement demands.

The COP demands will require banks to cooperate on verifying and referencing both ‘sender and recipient’ account details, whether the transaction is undertaken by an individual or company/organisation.

Supporting the roll-out COP provisions, the PSR has set a new deadline of 31 December 2019, for UK banks to comply with beta confirmations of payee request transactions.

Updating stakeholders, Chris Hemsley, Co-Managing Director of the PSR, said:  People should be properly protected. This includes taking steps to prevent the fraud from happening in the first place, and Confirmation of Payee is an important part of this. 

“But it needs to be done in the right way if it is going to help protect people from APP scams and help stop payments being sent to the wrong account. This is why we have updated our plans and focussed our proposed direction so that more people start to benefit from this protection sooner.”