The person-to-person mobile payments service being prepped by Britain's banks for a launch later this year has been christened Paym.
Built under the Payments Council umbrella and relying on a central database built by VocaLink, Paym - pronounced pay-em - will allow bank customers to link their phone numbers to their accounts.
Users will then be able to make person-to-person and person-to-business payments by simply using a mobile phone number as a proxy, without the need to disclose their sort code and account number.
The Payments Council says that final testing for the service is on track and is promising to announce a launch date next month. Financial institutions will then invite customers to register via their online banking service or mobile app to provide their phone number and confirm which account they want to link it to.
At launch, Paym will be available to customers of Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Danske Bank, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Santander and TSB Bank.
Clydesdale Bank, first direct, Isle of Man Bank, NatWest, RBS and Yorkshire Bank have committed to join later this year, while Nationwide has also confirmed its intention to join in early 2015.
Adrian Kamellard, chief executive, Payments Council, says: "Paym will make it easier to repay a friend for cinema tickets, split a restaurant bill or settle up for a colleague's birthday collection. Paym is a great example of industry-wide collaboration that delivers tangible benefits for customers."
However, PayPal, which has been in the P2P payments business for some time, says Paym is far from revolutionary, issuing a statement saying: "We welcome innovation in the payment industry, and to hear that a service we have offered for the past 8 years is becoming an industry standard is great news. For many PayPal customers Paym will be nothing new; with over 18 million PayPal accounts in the UK, users have been able to send money via their mobile since 2006."
Facing competition from telcos, retailers and tech firms, UK banks are working hard to win their share of a fast growing mobile money market. Several, including HSBC and Nationwide are also working with VocaLink-owned Zapp on technology that will enable customers to make in-store and online purchases from within their banking apps.