Looking for answers
Ask a question

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 or amend the details of an existing mandate or regular payment (i.e. Payee Name / Customer Type / Account Details), a check will be made on the name of the person or organisation you provide against the actual name held on the account.

There are three possible outcomes:

  1. “Match” – If you entered the correct account name, you will receive confirmation that the details match.
  2. “Close match, please check” – If you entered a similar name to the account holder, you will be provided with the actual name of the account holder to check. You'll be advised to either update the details and try again or contact the intended recipient to check the details.
  3. "No, the name is wrong" - If you have entered the wrong name for the account holder you will be told the details do not match and advised to contact the person or organisation you are trying to pay for further information.

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.

The key benefits of CoP are reducing misdirected payments and protecting customers against fraud and scams by giving you greater assurance that you are sending your payment to the intended recipient.

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 receive one of the three possible outcomes; yes, close match, or no match. 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 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. Beware of new communication requesting payment or different contact details.

If after checking with the person or business you are trying to pay, they inform the details to be correct, we recommend that you request that 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. We will take steps to protect you where we identify suspicious activity on your account.

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 recipient's payment provider (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 the sender’s payment provider and this will be shown to you as a message.

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.

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 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 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.

Where can I get more information about CoP?

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

No, CoP responses will only be generated for new payments or payments where an amendment has been made to the instruction.

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 Ulster Bank 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 bank 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) are expected to introduce the service by March 2020.

We believe CoP will become a widely-offered service in time and part of the payment journey for all types of UK electronic payment. It offers many benefits – reassurance that payments are going to the intended payee, and at the same time helping reduce certain types of fraud.

If a payment provider has not registered for this service, you may get a notification that the account is not registered with the CoP service.