Belgian banking sector chooses preferred supplier for IBAN-name check

Stay up to date with the latest measures from the financial sector

8 May 2024 - 4 min Reading time

The Belgian banking sector has already been working on the introduction of IBAN name checking for quite some time. At European level, it was recently decided that the IBAN-name check should be introduced in all European countries, as part of the Instant Payments Regulation. The IBAN-name check is a tool to tackle certain types of fraud involving bank transfers (especially invoice fraud). Banks are therefore making every effort to enable its introduction, and the recommendation of a supplier is an important step in this regard. SurePay was recommended to Belgian banks as a supplier to facilitate the IBAN-name check in Belgium.


What does the IBAN-name check mean?


When you initiate a transfer digitally, you enter the beneficiary's name and account number. While entering the transfer order, the originator's bank checks with the beneficiary's bank whether the account number (IBAN) and beneficiary's name match. If this is not the case, the bank will report this to you as it may indicate a case of fraud or a scam. You will then be able to decide whether you confirm the transfer order or not. Thus, the IBAN-name check is a tool for the consumer, who makes the final decision whether or not to take the ‘warning’ into account.


Fight against invoice fraud


In the case of invoice fraud, scammers forge an invoice. They intercept a genuine invoice during transmission, change the supplier's account number (by an account number from a ‘money mule’) and send the modified invoice. Both individuals and businesses can fall victim to this type of fraud.

When the customer enters the transfer order for this invoice, the customer's bank cannot detect that the account number of the money mule does not match the one of the supplier, as she doesn't consists of the necessary data. This data is stored in the beneficiary's bank. But this will change with the IBAN-name check.


Specialized supplier


The implementation of the IBAN-name check is an operational challenge. All banks in the EU need to exchange information in real-time in order to perform the IBAN-name check. In addition, the name check is complex because minor discrepancies in the name spelling may not be reported as ‘wrong’ but as ‘almost correct’. To some extent, the system will have to be able to take into account the wide variation in spelling of first and last names and the use of abbreviations (example: Janssen; Janssens; Jansen;...).

To enable this common real-time information exchange and name checking, the Belgian banking sector suggests working with a specialised supplier. After a careful tendering procedure, SurePay came out as the preferred supplier. Negotiations with the supplier can now be started.


When will the implementation take place?


Banks are making every effort to introduce the IBAN-name check as soon as possible. However, it is important that this name check fully complies with the new European regulation, and all the technical modalities imposed by Europe. Those technical clarifications by the ‘European Payments Council’ are currently still pending. The IBAN-name check will become mandatory for all banks in the eurozone as of 9 October 2025.