Paym service to reach 30m people
A mobile payment service with the potential to link up every current account in the country with a phone number will be made available to 30 million people later this month when it goes live.
The new Paym service to enable more people to transfer money just by using mobile phone numbers will be up and running from April 29, the Payments Council confirmed.
Customers of Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Santander and TSB can start to register their mobile numbers for the new service from today, while those using Danske Bank can register from April 25.
The first wave of banks and building societies coming on board the scheme means the service will initially be made available to 30 million people.
Consumers need to actively register their mobile number alongside a nominated current account in order to receive money into that account through Paym.
They do not have to register for Paym in order to send money through the service, although their bank or building society does need to be taking part in the scheme in order for them to be able to do this.
By the end of the year, a total of 40 million people will be able to access Paym, when Clydesdale Bank, first direct, Isle of Man Bank, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Yorkshire Bank come on board. By that point, Paym will be available on more than nine out of 10 current accounts.
Paym, which is pronounced as "pay em", has been described as the first industry-wide collaboration in the UK which could potentially link up every bank account with a mobile number.
The service will allow people to transfer cash payments on their mobile by using the recipient's phone number rather than needing to know their bank account number and sort code. It will be integrated into their existing mobile banking or payment app.
To make a payment, you can either select the contact you wish to pay from your phone or key in their mobile number.
The app will ask you to confirm the name of the recipient and the amount before the money is sent.
Nationwide Building Society has confirmed its intention to join the scheme in early 2015 while Metro Bank and Ulster Bank are also finalising their launch plans.
Research for the Payments Council among more than 2,000 people suggests that people tot up an average of £255.81 each year in informal loans and "IOUs", reaching a total value of £12.6 billion - more than the cost of the 2012 Olympics.
Adrian Kamellard, chief executive of the Payments Council, said: "Our IOU research suggests that every adult in the UK is lending just under £5 per week to someone they know.
"Small sums like this soon add up, so it's great that Paym will give people a new option of quickly and securely paying someone back - whether it's for lunch, a train ticket or just a cup of tea."
Although it is anticipated that many people will use Paym to make small payments, they will be able to transfer at least £250 a day under the scheme if they want to. It will be up to individual banks and building societies where they want to place caps above this amount.
Payments made through the service are made at the same speeds as existing current account, online and mobile payment services.
The growth in mobile payments technology has already made it easier for people to ditch their wallets.
Barclays' Pingit app, which launched just before the 2012 Olympic Games, picked up 2.5 million regular users in just 18 months.
Pingit, which is available to both Barclays and non-Barclays customers, also allows people to make payments using just mobile phone numbers.
Another mobile payments scheme, called Zapp, is set for launch this autumn. Zapp is a subsidiary of payments provider VocaLink, the company behind Link cash machines.
People can find out more about registering for Paym by visiting paym.co.uk or ask their bank or building society.