Tuesday, 19 July 2011

UK Payments Council works on new mobile account-to-account scheme

UK banks are developing a system that would allow British customers to transfer money between accounts from different banks by using their mobile phones. 

The UK Payments Council (UKPC), which represents the UK banking industry, has started “to explore how a mobile can help customers make a payment from one account to another,” said Gary Hinock, Acting Chief Executive of the UKPC.

Whether British customers will embrace this system depends on “whether or not there is demand for mobile payments,” said Samee Zafar, Director at Edgar Dunn & Co. “I believe there is, but if you look at the history of consumer products there is hardly anything that can be compared to the growth in m-devices.”

“For industry wide adoption to work effectively, we need a unified solution on both the front and the back ends,” said David Divitt, Consultant at ACI. “Most issues with the adoption of new systems arise because they are not designed with the end user as the primary focus.” 

Zafar added that “consumer acceptance is never achieved with great technology alone. It requires critical mass investments in raising awareness, marketing, consumer education, and incentives, and let us not forget merchants, who are equally important and will need to be fully on board.”

Hinock stressed that “security is a priority for us,” but  predicts that, ultimately, “the wallet might drop off its top spot in the not too distant future”.

Michiel Willems, 2011. Published previously in a London based magazine. Pciture: Lloyds TSB.