News & Views - Savantor

The next step in mobile payments

Sunday, 09 March 2014
This week the Payments Council announced the forthcoming launch of its new payments platform, 'Paym', which will enable consumers to pay securely using just a mobile number. The project is currently undergoing final testing with the launch date to be announced in April. The service will be integrated into consumers' existing mobile banking or payment apps as an additional way to pay, making it possible to send and receive payments using just a mobile number. Initially the service will be offered by nine banks and building societies: Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Danske Bank, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Santander and TSB Bank. Later on in the year Clydesdale Bank, first direct, Isle of Man Bank, NatWest, RBS and Yorkshire Bank have also committed to join; Nationwide has confirmed its intention to join in early 2015. Metro Bank and Ulster Bank are apparently also showing interest in offering the service. This will make Paym the most extensive payment service in the UK for moving funds directly from one account to another, without the need for sort codes or account numbers. Customers need to register their phone number and the account they want payments made into with their bank or building society to receive payments through Paym. Payments will be sent by the secure Faster Payments Service or by the LINK network and will be processed whether or not the recipient's phone is on or within coverage. The new initiative is the next in a number of developments exploiting our increasing comfort with and dependency on mobile phones for more than a mere means of communication. What gives this particular project an advantage is the industry-wide collaboration and support for it, offering the potential to link every UK current account on a P2P or P2B (for small businesses) basis. Key differentiators of this particular service are that it will not only substitute sort code and account number with an already known identifier, but also that it will not be 'closed loop' and will operate across financial institutions. Moreover it will not require customers to open a new, additional account to use it similar to other schemes such as PayPal and Zapp. It is probably not an understatement to describe the Paym initiative as not just a step but a leap forward in establishing a nationwide shared payments infrastructure.
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