On 18 October 2018, the New Payment System Operator (NPSO), the leading retail payments authority in the UK, was renamed and rebranded as Pay.UK.
This follows the consolidation of the UK’s three retail payment schemes (Bacs, Faster Payments and the Cheque and Clearing Company) into the NPSO, which was completed in July. By moving to a new name, policymakers hope to promote the NPSO’s core purpose of “transforming the UK’s payment structure to enable a vibrant economy“. The NPSO was originally established by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) and Bank Of England in September 2017 in order to streamline the UK’s payment systems and create an environment that fosters competition and innovation.
The rebrand coincided with Pay.UK’s publication of rules and standards for “Confirmation of Payee” (CoP) services. These rules are intended to combat Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud, where customers are tricked into authorising a transfer of money to an account that they believe belongs to a legitimate payee but is in fact controlled by a scammer. Combatting this crime has been a focus for payments’ regulators since the PSR received a super-complaint from the consumer comparison site Which? in September 2016 arguing that victims of APP scams do not receive sufficient protection from fraudsters in comparison to the fraud protections in place for other types of payment.
The new CoP rules and standards will ensure that account names are checked when sending electronic payments. Pay.UK hopes that introducing another hurdle for fraudsters and giving effective warnings to customers about the risks of sending to an account with an unmatched name will prevent many fraudulent payments being made. The rules also provide for a “Contingent Reimbursement Model” (to be introduced in 2019), with customers who have taken due care and received a positive name match through the CoP getting much greater protection from financial loss.