UK looks to improve bill payments with 'Request to Pay' initiative

UK looks to improve bill payments with 'Request to Pay' initiative

The UK's New Payment System Operator (NPSO) is inviting billers to jump aboard its 'Request to Pay' initiative, which will give firms and their customers more control, flexibility and transparency in bill payments.

Slated to launch next year, Request to Pay is expected to be a secure messaging service for payments - almost akin to email - overlaid on top of existing infrastructure.

For each ‘request’, customers will be able to pay in full, pay in part, ask for more time, communicate with the biller, or decline the payment. Payers will also get a choice of payment methods, or be able to automatically trigger a payment as part of their acceptance of a request.

The NPSO has opened up a portal for the new initiative, inviting Payment Service Providers and billers to register and review the draft specifications and provide feedback using an API sandbox for the ‘message repositories’ and the ‘end-user applications’.

Using API technology as a secure way of sharing data, the proposition is for the Request to Pay service to be underpinned by a single central directory, which will enable registration of participants and identification of the services they provide, says the NPSO.

Paul Horlock, CEO, NPSO, says: "We expect Request to Pay to support individuals with their financial decision-making, create a better channel for direct dialogue between payers and billers, and help more people and businesses avoid the cliff edges that can be created by an irregular income, or an unexpected or unpaid bill.

"By setting the standards and rules needed to make Request to Pay work, the NPSO will act as a market catalyst, encouraging developers to spot innovative new uses for Request to Pay which could benefit a wide range of sectors - from utilities to financial services, government, charities and beyond."

Comments: (3)

Alexander Peschkoff
Alexander Peschkoff - Trusted - London 06 September, 2018, 14:51Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

How does that compare to PSD2 and Direct Debit?..

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 06 September, 2018, 14:58Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It would be interesting to find out what kind of market validation anyone did that indicates companies are wanting to take advantage of this? On the website it is saying: Manage requests from friends and businesses in one place, what? 

Ainsley Ward
Ainsley Ward - CGI - Toronto 07 September, 2018, 14:51Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This kind of service has been available in Belgium for the last 10-15 years (Zoomit by Isabel) and is a huge convenience for consumers and businesses. Delivery of invoicing in the same channel used for payment makes it easy to keep track of bills and the reconciliation data provided by the system makes it much easier and cheaper for utilities to get paid. This is definitely a model that more markets should look at.

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