Getting that girl’s number in a bar has a whole new meaning today.
Paym, a person-to-person payments system that allows for the transferring of funds via mobile phone number, was launched today in the United Kingdom by a number of banks. Customers of these banks will be able to quickly and easily transfer money to each — other up to £250, or $420, depending on the limit set by their institution — using only the recipient’s mobile phone number.
We think payments via mobile phone number might even be easier than the payments via email address used by Google Wallet, Square Cash and PayPal. Paym sounds about as easy as M-Pesa, the international telco initiative for customers that generally do not have bank accounts.
While initial news reports today focused on delays some account-holders will face in using the long-promised service, from this side of the pond the situation looks enviable. The service connects nine banks: Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Danske Bank, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Santander and TSB. Later this year more banks will join: Clydesdale Bank, first direct, Isle of Man Bank, NatWest, RBS International trading as NatWest, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Yorkshire Bank. By year’s end, 9 out of 10 banking customers in the UK will be connected to Paym, according to the company. And no telco approval seems to be required.
Paym was launched by a government organization known as The Payments Council, which is described as being “the body with responsibility for ensuring that payment services work for all those that use them in the UK.” Paym payment speed depends on the organizations involved, but will generally take from 2 to 24 hours, according to the Payments Council. In the UK, a group of banks formed a not-for-profit organization called Faster Payments in 2008 to help bring Paym and other payments services to customers.
A fast, frictionless payment system for most of the country’s bank customers seems like a distant dream here in the colonies — you rule, Britannia!
Below is Barclays’ P2P payment system Pingit, now connected to Paym.