Knowing the owner of a bank account might seem like a mundane thing, but various scams and increasingly sophisticated fraud has led to the increase of losses for banks and individuals as money is being transferred to the wrong person, and in the payments process, no one is alerted of incorrect bank account details.
SurePay, a Dutch payment services provider, developed a simple yet safe solution for validating a bank account owner's details based on International Bank Account Number, IBAN.
SurePay released their IBAN-Name Check, an automated registry lookup based on an integration, in 2017 in the Netherlands and has performed over 2.4 billion checks so far. The IBAN-Name Check enables financial institutions’ and other organisations' customers to receive immediate feedback on IBAN-name combination when transferring money online in order to reduce misdirected payments as well as fraud.
The IBAN-Name Check was first successfully implemented by the second largest bank in the Netherlands, Rabobank, followed by ING Bank, which is the largest bank. The solution was implemented also by other large Dutch banks Volksbank and ABN AMRO, as well as numerous other financial institutions in the Netherlands. Due to close collaboration with the financial institutions the IBAN-Name Check algorithm now checks more than 95% of all online transactions in the country. Additionally over 80 businesses and organisations use SurePay’s IBAN-Name Check directly or via partners such as Signicat and performed over 2.4 billion checks since 2017. Early 2020, SurePay became a limited private company and independent member of the Rabobank Group.
The annual value of fraudulent activities in Europe alone reached EUR 1.8 billion in 2019, confirming the need for innovative fraud prevention services. Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud (also known as bank transfer scams) has been on the rise and costs customers and businesses alike. APP occurs when a criminal tricks their victim into transferring money directly from their own account to an account which the criminal controls. The victim has unknowingly received the fraudster’s bank account details (e.g., through e-mail or WhatsApp) and thereby authorises the payment him/herself. After a payment has been transferred, it's not possible to cancel the transaction, which means validating the owner is key to ensuring the recipient is the right person.
The original European Payments Directive (PSD2) ordered European nations to speed up their payment settlement systems by 2008. For the first time, customers were able to send and settle payments directly through mobile and online portals on an almost-immediate basis.
The faster payment schemes are not only real-time and irrevocable, but they also do not demand the processing of the recipient's name, only the recipient bank account number (IBAN). This means that it does not matter whether the recipient’s name matches the bank account provided (by the fraudster) or not. The transaction gets processed regardless.
With speedy transfers, it is easy to make mistakes and misdirect payments. Once consumers have mistakenly sent money anywhere, it is likely that it has reached its destination by the time one has realised the error. Should the entered IBAN not exist, the payment will bounce. However, should the entered bank account details correspond to a real account, reclaiming the money is challenging.
The challenge was to find a solution that would enable coupling identity verification with bank account holder's name validation. SurePay's service offers an IBAN-Name check whilst Signicat supports identity verification through a simple iDIN (a Dutch electronic identity scheme) integration. These are now offered as a single solution to reduce fraud.
SurePay’s IBAN-Name Check is a check service in the Netherlands which can be used when processing a payment to check if the recipient's name and IBAN match. Using Signicat’s identity verification solution through iDIN, the identity of a payment recipient is verified. With SurePay’s bank account database, the consumer or organisation can cross-check that a specific bank account is owned by that specific end-user or business. Financial institutions, payment service providers (PSP) or organisations can implement the combined service in their online environment or business processes. In this way the IBAN-Name Check helps to detect fraud, prevents misdirected payments and makes business processes more efficient. Using iDIN for identity verification provides additional security by verifying the address details of the recipient.
At the pre-payment stage before end-users send a payment online, a notification with instant feedback is provided on the correctness of the IBAN-Name combination. In instances where details of the beneficiary deviate from those known at the registered bank, a yellow notification will flash up on the Account Check screen. The Account Check therefore helps prevent misdirected payments or money getting lost due to APP fraud, but it also helps to make your business processes, like onboarding and KYC more efficient.
”By checking IBAN and name combinations at the point of payment, bank and identity fraud diminishes by 81% in online banking. Not to mention a 90% decrease in failure in the onboarding process of new ￼customers for corporates. By integrating the check at the customer onboarding stage, both customers and suppliers have found it easier to prevent dropouts that would require second line investigation.”
–David Jan-Janse, CEO, SurePay
Until now, over 2.4 billion online payments were checked by SurePay and millions of checks were performed for businesses and organisations. In combination with iDIN, SurePay can be used as one of the steps of the identity verification process to make the process as a whole more convenient and straightforward for both the user and the merchant.
Signicat’s integration of iDIN – the Dutch electronic identification - enables organisations to verify users’ identity. Combined with SurePay’s database, a dual identity verification and account check is provided.
SurePay's Account Check was developed as part of an innovation programme at Rabobank. In the fall of 2017 the check was successfully implemented by Rabobank, followed by ING Bank, Volksbank and ABN AMRO in 2018. They now further extend their reach by connecting other banks, at the same time continuously improving their services.
SurePay also offers IBAN-check services to non-financials, to help them gain better insights in the quality of their files, clean up errors and search for fraudulent transactions. Future services are under continuous development in close cooperation with SurePay's clients.
Director Strategic Partnerships and Products
Svea Ekonomi Finland
“Signicat has exceeded our expectations, particularly with the up-time of the authentication service and the communication between teams.”