The ability to send mobile payments using just a mobile phone number should be open to everyone, according to the UK Payments Council’s latest mobile payments project update.
The Payments Council is building a central database that will allow customers to link their mobile phone number to their account details, regardless of who they bank with. It will be available to UK banks and building societies before the end of this year as a platform for them to build their own competitive service for their customers. VocaLink has been appointed to build the central database.
Customers will register for the service through their own bank, with no need to share their details with a third party. The database will enable registered customers to make or receive almost-instantaneous payments from their existing account, using just a mobile phone number. It will be safe, secure and simple to use.
The service will be subject to common minimum standards that will require a passcode or a similar security feature to authorise a payment and enable banks to remotely disable an account, in case a phone is lost or stolen. Any payments made will be routed through either Faster Payments or LINK.
It will be technically possible to offer the service on any smartphone with an internet connection on any network. Most commonly this will be through an internet browser or an app, but banks will be free to customise exactly how they offer the service to their customers.
Chief Executive of the Payments Council, Adrian Kamellard said: ‘There’s clearly a great demand for mobile payments and our work will ensure that banks of all shapes and sizes can offer their own competitive service to their customers. Whether you want to pay a friend or your window cleaner, we are laying the foundation to enable mobile payments to become a mainstream option.
‘The Payments Council is encouraged by signs of increasing innovation in the mobile payments arena in the UK. Our collaborative role is all about creating the conditions that mean innovations are available to the widest possible range of customers. We will keep a close eye on developments in the mobile payments market so that we can be sure that our project remains set to achieve its objectives.’