The Payments Council is set to launch “Paym”, a cross-industry service enabling payments to be sent and received between mobile phone numbers. The technology involved is well-established, combining a central database with existing payment networks and mobile banking security standards and indications are that customer engagement will be extensive.

The service has been developed through collaboration with participating UK banks and building societies. Although some participants already offer their own mobile-to-mobile payment services, Paym will operate as an independent network, allowing banks to add Paym functionality to existing mobile banking apps or build new apps to deliver the service to customers. This interoperability will enable more than 30 million UK current account holders to pay each other using the system at launch.

How it works

To use Paym, customers will need to have a mobile phone number and a sterling account with a participating bank or financial institution.  After registering their mobile phone number and indicating which account they wish to receive payments into, users will be able to receive money without any further action.

Banks will need a mobile app to enable their customers to send money using Paym, with customers having to log into the app with a passcode to make a payment. This ensures that the system is backed by the same security protocols that have increased consumer confidence in mobile and online banking in recent years.  Once logged in, customers will simply enter a mobile phone number, check the recipient’s name against the database entry, confirm the amount and press send. A payment confirmation will be generated, with transfers processing at the same speed as current mobile banking transfers. Measures will be put in place to protect against phishing attacks and other potential intrusions on the privacy of customers’ personal information.

Opportunities

The development of a mobile-to-mobile payment network offers clear benefits to consumers including accessibility; ease of use; fewer trips to cash machines; not having to carry cash; and not having to provide account details to others.  The opportunities for banks are also numerous; increasing the number of mobile banking customers will enable banks to provide a more effective and efficient service, whilst reducing the number of cash transactions will provide banks with a greater understanding of customer behaviour. Banks with a limited mobile presence will be able to take advantage of Paym’s infrastructure and those with established mobile products will be able to offer a more comprehensive package to their customers.

The Payments Council is confident that Paym will be widely adopted, with early forecasts suggesting one billion Paym payments could be made by the end of 2018. If this is the case, businesses may well seek to incorporate the service into their relationships with consumers.

Launch

The service will be available through certain banks from Spring 2014, with plans to make Paym available on more than nine out of ten current accounts by the end of 2014.