The UK Payments Council has appointed Experian to create and maintain an industry database of corporate customers' payment information.
The central biller database, which is expected to go live late next year, will improve the accuracy of payments made using online and telephone banking, says Experian.
The vendor will collect, verify and standardise information from banks on how their corporate customers receive payments. The database can then be used by banks to make it easier for online and telephone banking customers to find accurate information when paying their bills, for example via simplified drop-down menus.
The service should also benefit billers, who will find it easier to reconcile incoming electronic payments by providing more accurate billing information for customers to use.
Experian claims that currently up to a quarter of customer references are invalid or incorrectly formatted. This can increase the time it takes to credit payments or stop them being credited altogether, particularly when issuers change account details, switch banks or are involved in a merger or takeover.
Jonathan Williams, director, strategy, Experian Identity and Fraud, says: "This database will help ensure banks hold correct and up-to-date information for billers and it will give both corporate and consumer customers confidence their payment will reach the right recipient and will be processed quickly."
Hilary Plattern, head, strategy, Payments Council, adds: "This new database is an excellent example of the Payment Council's commitment to put customers' needs at the centre of the way payment methods are designed. We look forward to working with Experian to develop and deliver this service."