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The U.K. is set to take the lead in person-to-person mobile payments. According to an announcement today, the Payments Council, the organization that represents the payments industry in the U.K., will launch a new payment service that will reach 90 percent of all U.K. bank accounts.
Eight financial institutions — including Barclay's, Lloyds, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland — have commited to a spring 2014 launch of a mobile payment service that will allow customers to send and receive funds via simple text messages and use a mobile phone number as a proxy for a bank account.
According to the Payments Council, the effort represents the first service that could potentially link every U.K. bank account with a mobile number.
"The mobile payments project is a fantastic example of the unique role the Payments Council can play in delivering far-reaching, innovative improvements for customers," Adrian Kamellard, Payments Council chief executive. "This new service will offer a simple, secure way to split a bill for dinner, receive money from a friend, or pay a tradesman without needing to remember or share account details."
Details on the mobile payment system will also be released in time, but the Payments Council said it will ensure that the system is secure, including a passcode or similar feature to authorize payments. Additionally, customers will be able to disable accounts remotely. Any features beyond that will be up to participating FIs, the council said.
To move money, the system will depend upon the Faster Payments service and the LINK ATM network.
During the next year, rules, standards and testing of the service will be completed, as well as a pre-launch registration period. The Payments Council said the rollout of the service will involve an enrollment period during which FIs will be able to register customers, requesting their mobile numbers and linking their accounts. The exact process for enlisting consumers will be announced closer to the actual launch date.
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