UK Payments Council Delays Mobile Payments Service Launch to 2014

The UK Payments Council said that the planned launch of its peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payments service will be delayed until spring 2014, a year later than originally scheduled and two years after Barclays went ahead of other UK banks by introducing its Pingit service. 

According to a Payments Council spokesman, the lengthened deadline will ensure that the service is “as ubiquitous as possible” when it does eventually launch. “The extra time is to ensure that we have that ubiquity – although the institutions that have committed represent 90% of current accounts, we are not looking at this being limited to current accounts,” he said. “We want to attract innovative payment services providers (PSPs).”

The launch, which will enable British mobile users to send and receive money by sharing only their phone number, is backed by eight major financial institutions (FIs). Account owners will be asked by their banks if they want to opt-in to a database that will allow the sending of money by text message. 

The scheme will be administered by the Faster Payments Service, which is backed by VocaLink’s automated clearing house (ACH) infrastructure and processed more than 800m online and phone banking transactions in 2012. The associated Link automated teller machine (ATM) network, processed 3.1bn cash machine withdrawals last year but long-term this may fall if the popularity of the P2P scheme takes off as expected when it is launched in 2014. 

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