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Guest blog: Advancing financial security with Confirmation of Payee service

Guest blog by Trevor Tannenbaum, Head of IT and Change, Cambridge Building Society

Trevor Tannenbaum, Head of IT and Change, Cambridge Building SocietyThe recognition that payments play a pivotal role in the provision of savings and home purchase led to the early adoption of Confirmation of Payee service for the Society's incoming payments.
 

We are among the first building societies to adopt Pay.UK's Confirmation of Payee (CoP) service for our incoming payments. We have embraced this cutting-edge service, marking a significant step in fortifying ourselves against fraud and preventing misdirected payments.

The CoP service, a meticulous name-checking solution, undergoes a thorough verification process of the recipient account's name before facilitating any incoming transaction. Expanding our utilisation of CoP in 2023, we incorporated additional data such as building society account numbers, alongside sort code and account information. 

At our foundation, we provide a secure place for savings and assist individuals in purchasing their homes. Recognising that payments play a pivotal role in these experiences, being part of CoP is a natural fit for the services we offer our members. 

When utilising the CoP service, individuals must ensure the accuracy of recipient information, including their first and last names. For businesses, using the name registered to their bank account, which may differ from their trading name, is imperative.

The CoP name-checking service provides four responses, each contributing to securing financial transactions:

Match: Users receive confirmation that the details match, allowing them to proceed with the payment.

Close match: Users with a similar name receive the actual name for verification, enabling them to update details and retry the payment or contact the recipient for confirmation.

No-match: Users entering an incorrect name are notified that the details do not match and are advised to contact the intended recipient for the correct information.

Unavailable: In cases where CoP cannot match the account due to factors like timeout, opt-out, or non-existent accounts, users are informed of the unavailability and prompted to reach out to the relevant financial institution.

We swiftly implemented and launched CoP as a new service for our customers, by partnering with Bottomline Technologies through a careful selection process. Their assistance in the solution's implementation played a crucial role in liaising with Pay.UK and Open Banking for registration and sign-up processes. Rigorous testing was conducted, covering various scenarios such as single and joint accounts, initials vs. names, ensuring the accuracy of supplied data. In cases of close matches, understanding the reasons allowed us to train our team effectively for customer support.

Engaging a third party to support us in this journey has proven beneficial for continuous monitoring and industry development in this area. The landscape of financial services involved in the scheme is ever evolving, and with new financial service organisations regularly joining.

We focused on communicating the benefits of CoP based on feedback from our customer satisfaction surveys which emphasised the desire for enhanced security in online and payment solutions. 

Customers sought confirmation that the accounts receiving funds were legitimate. As this functionality became prevalent in other financial institutions, the absence of it from our procedures raised concerns among our customers. Initially, some customers would call to verify details or process small transactions before larger ones. With the implementation of CoP, these processes have been eliminated, providing customers with a sense of security that their funds are directed to genuine accounts and will safely arrive in their Cambridge Building Society account.

Embracing the CoP service has reinforced our commitment to providing a secure environment for savings and home-buying, and provided greater protection for our customers from financial fraud. 

To find out more about Cambridge Building Society, visit their website

This article was first published in Society Matters Magazine
 

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