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Payments Council Says Text Payment Service To Launch Spring 2014

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Payments Council says 90 percent of all UK current accounts will have access

Customers of eight of the largest financial institutions in the UK will be able to make mobile payments via text message from next year.

The Payments Council, an organisation of financial institutions that sets strategy for UK payment mechanisms, said 90 percent of all current accounts in the UK will have access to the text payment service when it launches in spring 2014.

It has signed up Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Danske Bank, HSBC, Lloyds, Metro Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander to the service and is in talks with other institutions about joining.

Text payments to launch

Mobile payments, money, smartphone © Slavoljub Pantelic Shutterstock 2012“The mobile payments project is a fantastic example of the unique role the Payments Council can play in delivering far-reaching, innovative improvements for customers,” said Adrian Kamellard, chief executive of the Payments Council.

“This new service will offer a simple, secure way to split a bill for dinner, receive money from a friend or pay a tradesman without needing to remember or share account details.”

The council said that although there are a number of existing ways to make payments using a mobile phone, such as Near Field Communication devices or Barclays’ Pingit application, this new project is the first service with the potential to link up every bank account in the country with a mobile phone number.

Shortly before launch, participating institutions will invite customers to register through their online banking service, mobile app or other approved method to confirm which account they’d like to link their number to.

The council added that it expects significant demand among smartphone owners for such a service, but that security fears are a chief concern. It claimed the advantage of text payments is that they offer a secure transaction without the need to disclose a sort code or account number, but at the very least, a passcode will be required to authorise payments.

In addition, financial institutions will have the ability to remotely disable the service and that transactions will be made using tried and tested payment schemes such as the Faster Payment service and the LINK Network.

The Payments Council will reveal a more exact launch date for text payments once it has completed further testing.

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