The UK’s Payments Council said eight financial institutions, covering 90 percent of UK current accounts, have agreed to launch a service by spring 2014 that enables subscribers to transfer money between bank accounts using only their mobile numbers for authorisation.
The service will enable payments to be made to or from a bank account without subscribers having to share sort code or account number, using the more secure option of a mobile number as a proxy.
However, P2P bank transfer services do already exist. For instance, Barclays’ Pingit, which launched last year, is open to both its own customers and those of other financial institutions.
In response, the council argue its project is the first service with the potential to link every bank account in the country via mobile number. It will have 90 percent coverage at launch and will try to increase that penetration further by signing up more financial institutions.
The eight leading financial institutions are Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Danske Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Metro Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander.
Subscribers will access the service via a smartphone app or mobile internet bank account and then authorise a transaction. The actual funds transfer will take place via existing banking channels, such as the Faster Payments service and the Link network.
This final phase of the project follows the building of a secure database for banks to store their customers’ mobile numbers and link them to their accounts. The database was completed in December 2012.