Confirmation of Payee: Here’s what you need to know

04 August 2022


Rex Carter
Rex Carter
A person holding a bank card while entering details into a laptop keyboard

Confirmation of Payee: Here’s what you need to know

Since its introduction in 2020, Confirmation of Payee (CoP) has been rolled out across the finance sector to make payments more secure. Whether you’ve heard of this new service before or this is the first time, it’s worth knowing more about it as it becomes more widely adopted.

In this post, we’ll look at what CoP is, where you’ll come across it and what you need to do when dealing with it. We’ll also have a look at what to expect from CoP in the future.

What is Confirmation of Payee?

Confirmation of Payee is a name checking service that allows a payer (someone sending money) to check the details of a payee (someone they’re sending money to) before sending funds. It was introduced in 2020 to reduce financial fraud and misdirected payments.

Does every bank offer Confirmation of Payee?

Not at the minute. The six largest banks in the UK were directed to offer the service by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR). Several other banks, including Atom bank, also decided to voluntarily sign up to offer CoP — we wanted to do this as part of our commitment to keep your money safe.

When will I be using CoP as an Atom bank customer?

As an Atom bank customer, you can use this service to confirm:

  1. The details of your Fixed Saver or Instant Saver before sending money to it from another provider (from March to July 2022, we have responded to over 34,000 requests); and

  2. The details of your linked external bank account that you pay your funds out to from an Atom bank account (from September 2020 to July 2022, we have sent over 116,000 requests on your behalf).

What should I enter into a CoP check?

When you need to complete a CoP check, you will be asked to enter the exact name registered to the account you’re paying into, and you may also be asked to choose whether the transaction is for personal or business purposes.

The most important thing to remember is to always enter the exact name of the account holder of the account you’re paying into. As an Atom bank customer, this is likely to happen when you are making a payment to one of your accounts with us from another bank.

As we’ve responded to CoP requests from other banks, we’ve noticed some customers have entered “Atom bank” or the type of account (for example ‘Instant Saver’), instead of their own name (e.g. Mrs Jane Smith). In these instances, we’ve been unable to verify those requests because the name provided does not match the name on your account.

When you are sending a request to us from another bank to verify your savings account details, please make sure you use your name (e.g. Mrs Jane Smith) as the account name (the payee name) and mark the request as a personal account, if asked.

What is happening next with CoP?

At present, you can only check the details of accounts that have a unique sort code and account number. This limits the number of institutions that can join the CoP service.

Now, the PSR wants to extend the CoP service by ordering around 400 institutions to join over the next two years. This means that you can expect CoP to become a lot more common and much more widespread in the years to come.

Many of these new institutions use ‘Secondary Reference Data’ — in addition to a sort code and account number — to identify a customer’s account. You’ll be familiar with Secondary Reference Data if you have a bank or building society account that requires a roll number to send a payment to, or have a mortgage account with a reference number.

As an existing member of Confirmation of Payee, Atom bank will be adopting this upgrade to the service, ensuring we pass this benefit on to our customers.

Want to find out more about CoP and what it can offer? Visit the FAQs to get much more detailed information about this service.