FairFX, the e-banking and international payments group, announces that, through its subsidiary Spectrum Payment Services (“SPS”), it has been granted settlement accounts with the Bank of England and, in turn, has become a Direct Participant of the UK Faster Payments Scheme (“FPS”).
FPS is one the fastest growing UK payment systems and the only real-time 24/7 service that is in increasing demand from personal and business customers using both desktop and mobile applications. The Company’s direct connection to FPS has been enabled by the New Access Model that extended access to Real Time Gross Settlement (“RTGS”) accounts held at the Bank of England, as part of a wide-ranging effort to inject more competition and innovation into the UK's payments systems.
FairFX is only the fourth non-Bank to become a directly connected and directly settling member of FPS. Furthermore, with access to RTGS accounts, FairFX is now eligible to join other UK Payment Schemes such as BACS and CHAPS. Alongside this development, FairFX will own its sort code, which, in conjunction with its SWIFT membership, means it can now create IBANs for customers with no other financial institution involved in the process. This will benefit the Company through enhanced economics via reduced cost per transaction coupled with enhanced customer acquisition and retention via instant payments which will vastly enhance the user experience and satisfaction.
Before granting FairFX access to settlement accounts at the Bank of England, an extensive audit was performed by the FCA to ensure that SPS had the necessary technology, security and compliance processes to be granted this status. Completion of this process and admission to the Bank of England RTGS accounts therefore represents a significant endorsement of the FairFX Group.
In 2018, FairFX processed more than 1 million Faster Payment transactions, which from today the Group will be able to process in real-time. This will provide tangible benefits to FairFX customers including instant transfers, improving cash-flow and providing certainty over payments. In turn, this development is expected to accelerate customer acquisition and improve retention across the Group.
Adam Rigler, Head of Banking for FairFX Group and Managing Director of SPS, said:
“We are delighted to be live with the Bank of England and the Faster Payments Scheme after a year long project and significant investment to make this happen. As a directly connected settling participant we can provide and directly manage instant faster payments, both in and out of our customers’ accounts, 24/7.
“It is essential for payment providers to be able to offer instant payments in the modern world and we are now at the cutting edge of this service. The scale of our in-house gateway means that we are even in a position to offer the service to other payment providers on a B2B basis, thereby providing yet another revenue stream for the Group.”
Ian Strafford-Taylor, Fairfx Group CEO, added:
“Obtaining direct membership of the Faster Payments Scheme together with settlement accounts at the Bank of England represents a major step in the progression of FairFX Group. This development is in line with the Group’s strategy to streamline the payment supply chain, deliver lower payment processing costs, improve customer experience and facilitate product iteration.
“The positive attestation from the FCA required as part of this process demonstrates the strong risk and compliance culture we have across the Group and positions us well for further expansion of our product suites. FairFX will continue to improve its efficiency and scale by removing links in the supply chain and going direct to payment schemes both in the UK and overseas. Direct access to payment schemes was traditionally the exclusive preserve of Clearing Banks, so joining this select group clearly demonstrates FairFX’s credentials as a leading payments provider with bank-grade capabilities and distances us from other digital finance competitors.”
John Jefferson, General Manager of Faster Payments said:
“We welcome FairFX Group to Faster Payments as our newest Direct Participant. We now have 29 Direct Participants in total, including four non-Banks, further highlighting our ongoing success in simplifying access and levelling the playing field for new entrants.”