Ecospend’s “pay-by-bank” open banking tech drives HMRC app payments
Open banking payment provider Ecospend has revealed that £123 million in self-assessment open banking-powered payments were made via the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC, the UK government’s tax collection department) app between February and October last year.
HMRC awarded the contract – its largest open banking contract at the time, valued at £3 million – to Ecospend in early 2021.
Founded in 2017, London-based Ecospend was in stealth mode until its pitch to HMRC in 2020 when the tender was issued.
The deal with HMRC marks the first time an open banking payment method was embedded in a government department’s system.
In October 2022, more than 6,700 self-assessment customers paid almost £5.9 million in tax via Ecospend’s “pay-by-bank” technology, compared to around 2,500 customers in February 2022, who paid £1.8 million.
Over the course of those eight months, the volume of transactions per month grew by more than 2.5 times and the value of transactions per month tripled.
Ecospend chief customer officer (CCO) James Hickman says: “The rapid adoption of our open banking payment solution through the HMRC app is hard evidence that account-to-account (A2A) payments are the best way to meet consumers’ expectations for a fast and simple payment journey.”
Payments made using the app are sent directly from the taxpayer’s bank account, using validated HMRC details, meaning “increased speed, less human error and cost savings”.
A2A payments also have the potential to reduce fraud, Ecospend says, as money is transferred without the need to share card or bank details for either party.
Last summer, Ecospend was acquired by its Swedish counterpart, Trustly, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition has recently closed, following the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval. Together, the two firms claim connectivity with over 80 banks and a consumer reach of approximately 50 million consumers in the UK.