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An article relating to this blog post on Finextra:

UK banks on track for November introduction of faster payments system

To coincide with today’s publication of the OFT’s final Payment Systems Task Force Report, the UK banking industry today confirms that they are on track to introduce the new faster payments system, ag...


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Faster Payments on track

It seems appropriate to start blogging about UK Faster Payments (UKFP), the scheme to provide cheaper and easier "near real-time" via internet and phone banking, by a reference to the most recent APACS announcement. At face value it is reporting good news - the scheme is on track.

However, there is the strong hint in the text that even though the central hub will be ready and that most of the member banks are on track, the agency banks and building societies who will not be directly connected may not be able to take early advantage of UKFP. This is borne out in both our recent research and multiple discussions with banks and building societies. So although the initiative is designed to improve the lot of the banking consumer, the reduced margins and greater technology needs for UKFP (and also SEPA on a Europe wide basis) will make it more difficult for the smaller banking providers. Until the new payment markets mature and easy access to payment factories or utilities is available, the small banks and building societies will be squeezed. Hence consumer protection measures could lead to reduced choice for those same consumers. The one thing that may save the smaller players from a mass migration to their larger rivals is the reluctance of UK retail customers to change their bank accounts from one bank to another.

Having followed this scheme from its early days as part of fastpayments.co.uk it is interesting to see how it has progressed from the initial need to elimimate float (the three days gap between funds leaving the payee's account and arriving in the recipents) into a more sophisticated mechanism that is likely to mean significant change in payments in ways that even the early adoptors and initiating member banks have yet to fully understand.

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Comments: (1)

Hoss Atri
Hoss Atri - Elifinty LLC - London Ec1 26 February, 2007, 21:22Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I have had some conversations with the type of building societies that John mentions. A number don't even have Faster payments on their radar and some it apperas, will rely on their agency banks to "help" them out with no or very little apparent  concern regarding the competitive issues and risks.  However, I do see a golden opportunity here for the smaller "banks" to apply low cost pervasive technology to offer their members / customers the exact same benefits that Faster payments promises without having to participate in the scheme itself.

Hoss Atri

John Cant
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John Cant

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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

UK Faster Payments

A place to discuss and share information on the introduction of the UK Faster Payments scheme


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