Payments UK sets out four point focus for ‘world’ class services
The UK payments industry and regulators should focus on four main priorities to ensure the country has a ‘world class’ payments framework, according to Payments UK.
The recently launched trade association – formerly the Payments Council has taken an evidence-based approach to understand what changes consumers, businesses, charities, the public sector and the industry need from payments in the future.
Looking at customer needs, technological, regulatory and market developments and “improvements already in the pipeline” as well as comparing the UK to other leading countries, the study identifies 13 ‘core capabilities’ ranging from real-time balance information through the separation of clearing and settlement in order to provide payment service providers with flexible options to cross-industry sharing of identity and fraud data.
Of these, the four features Payments UK believes should be prioritised are:
- Access to the payments infrastructure for those who offer payments to customers. Creating a level playing field for new and existing Payment Service Providers will provide the optimum environment for delivering new and innovative and enhanced services to customers such as enabling customers of all providers to check their balances in real time.
- Confirmation of payee before making a payment. Enabling customers to confirm that the person they are paying is who they intend it to be, before they make the payment, to provide confidence it will not be sent to the wrong account.
- More control over outgoing payments for customers. Enabling greater control and flexibility over the timing of regular payments such as bills and providing an efficient e-invoicing and reconciliation capability for small businesses, charities, larger corporate users and Government.
- Enhanced data: Enabling more and better information to be linked to payments – this will particularly benefit the public sector and corporates. This will make it possible to provide additional reference information with an electronic payment helping businesses better reconcile payments.
The specific timing and approach to this “will need to be determined by the industry and regulators in line with market demand,” said Payments UK in a statement. “The aim of this work is to enable the industry and its regulators to take informed decisions that will support competition and innovation by identifying a steady stream of potential new benefits that are important to customers.”
“Changes in technology, regulation, and consumer preferences mean that the pace of change in the payments sector has never been greater. This makes it the perfect time to assess which future developments can deliver the very best outcomes for consumers, businesses and the public sector. Recent innovations such as the Faster Payments Service, the Current Account Switch Service and Paym mean we have a great platform on which to build,” said Tim Yudin, Payments UK’s director of design and delivery.
“Working closely with a wide range of stakeholders we have identified the features and functionalities that customers really want. I believe the first steps we have taken in our World Class Payments project have set out a clear vision and direction of travel: it is now vital that the industry, regulators, technology providers, the government and of course customers move forward together.”As part of the World Class Payments project, Payments UK commissioned an online YouGov survey of consumers and senior small-medium business decision makers. Certainty that all types of payment would be immediate was one of the most useful proposed changes – the requirement was selected by 58% of consumers and 57% of SMEs. Over half of consumers (53%) and SMEs (57%) also said that ‘being able to check that the bank details are correct for the person I want to pay before I send an electronic payment so that it does not go to the wrong account’ would be useful.
World Class Payments in the UK – an initial report, is expected to help inform the newly formed Payments Strategy Forum, set up by the Payment Systems Regulator, when setting strategic priorities.