The UK banking industry has set the end of May 2008 as the revised deadline for the introduction of the new faster payments scheme, six months later than originally scheduled.
The service, designed to introduce near real-time transfer of phone, Internet and standing order payments instructions, was set to be introduced in November. The programme was forced on the industry by the Office of Fair Trading following an investigation into the lengthy clearing cycle for personal payments.
The multi-million pound central system is being developed by VocaLink and backed by 13 clearing bank members. The banks were forced to scrap the original launch date and revisit the schedule in June, after VocaLink slipped its deadlines for delivering a complete working system in time for user acceptance testing.
In a statement today, Apacs says: "The revised timescale will allow sufficient time for the further rigorous testing required at both the centre and by banks to ensure customers can benefit from safe and secure faster payments."
The UK's Office of Fair Trading issued a statment expressing its disappointment at the delay, but accepted Apacs' perspective that "the stability of the UK payments system is of paramount importance and should not be put at risk".