Bottomline service helps challenger banks access UK payments market

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Nearly eight years since the UK’s Faster Payments Service (FPS) began; Bottomline Technologies has launched the Direct FPS Service, described as “a new Faster Payment gateway solution that significantly lowers the barriers and costs to real-time payments for participants”.

Bottomline, which provides payment, invoice, and digital banking software, is adding Direct FPS to its suite of aggregated payments services providing access to Bacs, SWIFT, the single euro payments area (SEPA) and several international clearing houses.

The company is promoting the payments services aggregator as “the ‘one stop shop’ of choice for payment service providers (PSPs) looking to access multiple payment systems through a single solution.”

Launched in 2008, the UK’s FPS remains Europe’s only 24/7 real-time payments system. With volumes for immediate payments growing at 20% per annum, the scheme now averages over 110m payments per month, and recently passed the significant milestone of 5bn payments.

Bottomline adds that recent enhancements to the FPS have broadened customer appeal in the corporate market. An increasing number of companies are streamlining their payment processes for a range of transaction types.

This includes urgent but low-value payments, ‘just-in-time’ supplier payments, direct remittances, refunds (thus replacing cheques), cash management payments, weekly payroll runs and staff expenses. The single transaction value limit increase from £100,000 to £250,000 has added to the appeal of FPS, with yet higher values planned in the near future.

“Faster payments have become a necessity for today’s demanding 24×7 lifestyles,” said Ed Adshead-Grant, Bottomline’s general manager, payments and cash management. “Consumers and businesses are increasingly using online and mobile to operate and compete in a digital world. This raises the expectations of a modern payments service, where security, simplicity and speed for users are all essential.

Bottomline expects Direct FPS to appeal to organisations wishing to offer a ‘Real-Time’ proposition to customers, new industry entrants and non-bank PSPs considering participation, as well as existing Faster Payments participants seeking to lower the costs of their current payments architecture.

“The higher Faster Payment transaction limit provides new options for the industry and our customers to route their more expensive and urgent payments through FPS,” said Nigel Savory, managing director, Bottomline Technologies Global Business Solutions.

“We anticipate a number of cost-conscious and forward looking players to take advantage of the Direct Faster Payments Service to remove unnecessary charges on their payments and to service their customers in a competitive way.”

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