For the first time, businesses will be able to verify ownership of business bank accounts
UK businesses will be able to tackle the rapidly growing problem of invoice fraud, thanks to Bank Wizard Absolute – a new capability from Experian.
Impacting businesses of all sizes, invoice fraud is said to have totalled $215 million across 45 nations in the 14 months to December 2014[i]. Indications for the UK are that it is growing rapidly, with 749 businesses reporting it to Action Fraud in the first six months of 2015, compared to 603 in the whole of 2014[ii].
This type of fraud occurs when criminals impersonate genuine business suppliers and deceive companies into making payments to a fraudulent account. It is a particular problem where there is a high volume of payments, or the payments are of high value.
Experian's Bank Wizard Absolute is the first solution of its kind on the market to give businesses the confidence that they are making payments to genuine businesses, by easily and quickly verifying the account information before payments are made.
Bank Wizard Absolute will confirm the link between businesses and the current accounts they hold. This is achieved by comparing the bank account information provided by the business with records held by Experian, all in real time.
Jonathan Williams at Experian commented:
"Invoice fraud has become a sophisticated enterprise, so spotting it before it happens is a significant challenge. Official statistics give an idea of the pace at which it is increasing among SMEs. The industry feedback we've had, however, suggests that it exists on a much bigger scale, affecting a far wider range of organisations and potentially costing UK businesses in the range of hundreds of millions.
"Electronically checking the ownership of UK business bank accounts is a new approach which could revolutionise how businesses set up and pay other businesses, as well as protect themselves from significant losses and damage to their supplier relationships."
In addition to helping business tackle invoice fraud, Bank Wizard Absolute will help UK businesses address the issue of payment failure. This is when incorrect information is entered on a system as a result of human error and payments are made into an incorrect account. This often incurs late payment penalties, but the damage to the relationship between a business and its stakeholders can be highly detrimental.
Another key benefit of Bank Wizard Absolute is the improved speed and accuracy of a new supplier/beneficiary set up. Instead of requesting paper-based proof of account ownership, businesses will be able to quickly and reliably confirm bank account ownership electronically.