Faster Payments Open Access, ready for take off

  • The New Access Model has reached critical mass as a fifth Fintech gains technical accreditation, with more in the pipeline 
  • Direct participation is planned to double by the end of 2017 with four new participants already preparing to join this year
  • Bank of England new settlement policy set to further expand direct participation

Thursday 30 June 2016 - London – Open access to real-time payments in the UK is moving from concept to reality with a fifth aggregator Fintech being awarded the ‘trust mark’ certificate required to provide direct technical access to Faster Payments and four new Payment Service Providers (PSPs) scheduled to join the scheme before the end of the year. 

Faster Payments anticipates that some of these participants will further expand choice in the indirect access market by offering new sponsorship solutions to other PSPs, using our new access model as the launchpad for their own innovations.

Payment services are undergoing a revolution driven by new technology and changing consumer behaviour. With the ubiquity of mobile technology and internet access, people expect immediacy, ease of use and round-the-clock availability of services in their everyday lives. They are now expecting the same experience from their PSPs. Underpinning this transformation is real-time payment, which is now rapidly becoming the norm for these consumers who are demanding “always-on” banking.

Furthermore, with the recent policy announcement on access to settlement accounts from the Bank of England, an even greater number of new payments service providers will potentially be able to directly access Faster Payments and build better propositions for their customers in the future. 

Faster Payments’ commitment to opening up access to its services via its new aggregator model will provide these PSPs with lower cost solutions and more choice. This will boost innovation and competition, enabling PSPs and Fintechs to offer greater payments choices to consumers and businesses, improving their payment experience and driving economic growth in the country. 

Things are moving fast and the rising number of aggregators accredited is evidence that there is a demand from PSPs for real-time payment for their customers. The latest organisations to be awarded the certificate of technical accreditation ‘trust mark’ are ACI Worldwide, Bottomline and Compass Plus. They join FIS and PayPort by VocaLink to bring the number of accredited providers to five, with a further three organisations currently in the testing phase required to obtain accreditation. 

Marc Terry, Group Managing Director at FIS EMEA said: “FIS is delighted to have been one of the first vendors accredited under the new regime. We have been strong supporters of Faster Payments since its inception, and are proud to be at the forefront once again as they implement the new access model. We see this as a crucial step to accelerating real payments innovation in the UK and we expect to see it stimulate a new ecosystem of traditional providers, market disruptors and new entrants providing innovative services to consumers who expect their payments to mirror our real-time, always-on society” 

Ed Adshead-Grant, General Manager, Cash and Payments, Bottomline Technologies adds: “Our customers are always looking for ways to innovate and win in a competitive market.  Digital commerce is a 24x7 business, so having a resilient capability to process transactions accurately and quickly, literally within just seconds, is essential.  Bottomline powers mission critical solutions around the world, so faster payments was a natural area for us to invest further in and add a new compelling  option to the UK market .  We are delighted to be accredited for the New Access Model with the Faster Payment Scheme.  Our first customer projects are well underway and we will continue to drive the payments innovation demanded in the industry.”  

Andy Turner, Head of Access & Contingency Services for VocaLink’s PayPort Proposition stated: “The new Access Model accreditation has enabled us to offer an important, value-added payments proposition to our clients, empowering them to have simple and secure access to the core UK payments infrastructure. By using PayPort, our customers need not take on the costs of direct access but can still benefit from the Faster Payments network, with the added assurance of proven VocaLink technology”. He added: “We are committed to supporting the move towards a more open and efficient payments market that will benefit all participants: consumers; businesses; and the UK economy as a whole. Our accreditation is an important strategic milestone that enables us to drive value and innovation from payments.”

Barry Kislingbury, Director Solution Consulting, Immediate Payments, ACI Worldwide comments: “Gaining the ‘trust mark’ accreditation certificate was a natural step for ACI. We have been partnering with most of the banks using a direct access model for the past eight years and are now working closely with challenger banks and new payment service providers. This certificate, a key component of our newly launched UK Faster Payment aggregation services, will provide our customers with a wide range of solutions. We believe that the New Access Model is an important development which will serve as a blue print for global change of the payments ecosystem; it supports innovation whilst ensuring payments remain secure and dependable. Faster Payments enriches the payment ecosystem by offering huge opportunities to develop new consumer and business services.  The accreditation ensures that ACI continues to support the new payment ecosystem, that customers can continue to rely on us, and that the process to join the New Access Model for new members will be as simple as possible.”

At the same time, a number of new PSPs - made up of small and larger players, some of which are still going through the process of gaining their banking licence - are planning to gain access to Faster Payments over the next 18 months with four planning to go live this year. The first payment sent by an institution using the aggregator model is expected to be sent well before the end of the year.

Craig Tillotson, Chief Executive of Faster Payments, concludes:

“18 months into our access programme, I am delighted that we are now moving from an innovative concept to competitive delivery. In another 18 months, the Faster Payments Scheme will unequivocally be demonstrating its power as an enabler of payment innovation for consumers, businesses and the economy in general.”