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FAQs for Payers and Payees

What is in these terms?

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably received an email from us or a third party, such as a law firm or other professional representative, inviting you to complete a payment transaction through us. 

If you’re the party being requested to make a payment to us, we call you a Payer, and if you’re the party receiving a payment from us, we call you a Payee. 

Below, we answer some of the key questions you may have and explain your rights and how to complain if you’re dissatisfied with our service. 


Please note: Atto, our Open Banking partner, recently rebranded from DirectID on 20th March 2024. We will refer to this company as 'Atto (formerly DirectID)' in our comms. 

You can read about the change to Atto in their press release here. Further information about our verification journey and Atto (formerly DirectID) can be found in the FAQs below. 

About Shieldpay

Who is Shieldpay? 

Shieldpay is a UK company that provides simple and transparent digital payment solutions. 

Shieldpay is the trading name of Shieldpay Ltd, which is a company registered in England and Wales under company number 10061792. Our registered office is at 3rd Floor 1 Ashley Road, Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 2DT. 

How is Shieldpay regulated? 

We are authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as a payment institution under firm number 770210. 

What is Shieldpay authorised to do? 

As a regulated payment institution, we’re authorised to: 

  • Operate a payment account  
  • Issue or acquire payment instruments 
  • Execute payment transactions electronically or by cheque via the law firm or professional representative to which we provide our service (but not providing any credit lines)

How Shieldpay holds money

Is Shieldpay a bank? 

No. The key differences between Shieldpay as a payment institution and a bank are: 

  • Banks are ‘credit institutions’ regulated by the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) of the Bank of England 
  • We’re unable to provide credit in the form of overdrafts or any other type of loan 
  • We’re unable to use monies held with us to run our business or make investments – instead, your funds are held in a safeguarded account with one of our partner banks or custodians. Your funds are protected from any interest in, recourse against, or right of set-off from the financial institution where Shieldpay holds client funds  
  • We can only receive and hold monies for specific transactions to known Payees or a group of known Payees – we can’t hold money on deposit for general purposes 
  • We’re unable to pay any interest on the monies we hold on your behalf 


Does Shieldpay own my money? 

No. All funds that we hold on behalf of a Payer belong to the Payer until a payment transaction is completed in accordance with a payment order given to us. Your funds are always held in a designated safeguarded account. 

How safe is my money? 

All monies that we hold on behalf of a Payer are held in a safeguarded account with one of our partner banks or custodians that is separate from the bank account used to run our business operations. We regularly carry out external audits to demonstrate that those partner banks or custodians are safeguarding monies in compliance with applicable regulations in the UK. 

Our partner banks and custodians all have favourable credit ratings from the leading credit rating agencies, or they hold their deposits with the Bank of England. 


How we verify identity and bank details 

What checks do you need to carry out on me? 

If you’re a Payer or Payee, we’ll need to complete the following checks as Shieldpay are obliged to put in place controls to prevent our business from being used for money laundering and other forms of financial crime: 

  • Verifying that you’re not subject to any sanctions (which may mean we’re unable to process any payments for you or we need to complete further checks) 
  • Verifying your bank account details (so we can check we’ve received money from the right account and that we’re paying money to the right account) 

Occasionally, we may need to request further information from you to fulfil our legal and regulatory obligations. Where we’re unable to successfully complete our checks, fulfil any of our regulatory obligations as a payment institution, or are prohibited from processing your payment due to sanctions or other financial crime reasons, we may refuse your instruction. Unless the law prevents us from doing so, we’ll contact you as quickly as possible to tell you if we’ve not followed an instruction and to explain why. 

How does Shieldpay verify my bank details? 

We use Open Banking technology to verify your bank details through our technology partner The IDCO Limited to (trading as Atto (formerly DirectID)). Atto (formerly DirectID) is a UK company that is authorised and regulated by the FCA as an ‘Account Information Service Provider’ (AISP) under number 798579. Atto (formerly DirectID) is required to follow strict rules to protect your personal data. 

During the Atto (formerly DirectID) verification process, you’ll be asked to log into your online banking account to give us permission to access your account details. The only information we can see is your name, account number and sort code as is standard with other transactions. We only have ‘read-only’ access which means we can’t change any of your details. 

The only people who will be able to see your bank details are the members of our verification team, who are all trained on data protection and information security and whose employment contract include strict confidentiality obligations. 

For further information about Atto (formerly DirectID) and the steps they take to protect your personal data, you can view their FAQs and Privacy Policy. 

Do I have to use Atto (formerly DirectID) to verify my bank details? 

Atto (formerly DirectID) is the quickest way for us to verify your bank details and ensure payment is made to you promptly. If you’d prefer that we didn’t use Atto (formerly DirectID), then on the page that asks you to select your bank, there is an option at the bottom of the page to “cancel and return to Shieldpay” which, if selected, will allow you to manually enter your account number and sort code which we will then verify securely. 

How long does it take to verify my bank details? 

As soon as you’ve provided the information requested, we will check your details. If, instead of verifying you bank details using Atto (formerly DirectID) (see above) you provide a bank statement instead, this will take a while longer. We therefore encourage you to use Atto (formerly DirectID) and the electronic methods we provide in the form. 

My details couldn’t be verified, what happens now? 

In the rare case that bank verification has failed, you’ll be asked on the form to upload a bank statement for the bank account you’ve selected to receive payment into. This will be securely uploaded to our platform and used for verification purposes. 

I haven’t received a link from Shieldpay, what should I do? 

In the first instance, you should check the junk/spam folder for your email account in case it’s been caught in there. If you’re still unable to see any email from us, please contact the third party (such as the law firm or professional representative) or Payer and they’ll be able to assist you in finding the email or escalating to us to resend. For fraud prevention purposes, we’re unable to respond to any request to re-send a link to you directly. If your details have been given to us by a third party, you should contact them in the first instance to check whether those details are correct. 


How payments are made 

What personal data do you collect about me?  

Shieldpay takes the protection of your personal data very seriously and we ask that you read our Privacy Notice carefully as it contains important information on who we are, how and why we collect, store, use and share personal data, your rights in relation to your personal data and on how to contact us and supervisory authorities in the event you have a complaint. 

When will I get my money? 

If you’re a Payee, you’ll receive your money once we’ve completed the checks described above and we’ve been authorised to make the payment to you. You will receive confirmation by email of when the payment has been made.  

How will payments be made? 

All payments will be made electronically to a bank account in your name (including any joint account on which you’re a named account holder). We’re unable to make any payments in cash. If you require payment by cheque, please contact  the law firm or professional representative that has requested the payment directly.  

How much will it cost me to receive money? 

If you’re a Payee, we won’t charge you anything to receive money that we’ve been authorised to pay to you on behalf of a Payer. Depending on your relationship with the Payer, they may be entitled to recover certain costs from you under any agreement or arrangement they have in place with you. 

Your bank may charge fees to accept funds from the UK or in GBP, typically if your account is outside of the UK. Please check your bank account terms and conditions for more information.


Other questions 

Who do I contact if I need further assistance? 

All communications regarding any payments should be made to the third party (such as a law firm) or Payer in the first instance. If necessary, they will escalate any issues to us directly. 

How do I complain? 

If you’re party to an agreement with us, then the agreement may contain separate terms around how to raise a complaint and resolve any disputes. 

If you’re not party to an agreement with us, then you should read our complaints handling process to find out more. Ultimately, complaints may be escalated to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if you’re eligible to complain to them. If you’re not eligible to refer your complaint to the FOS, we don’t use any other dispute resolution provider. 

You may be able to complain to the FCA. 

If you’ve got any further questions, please contact us and we’ll aim to respond to as soon as we can.