UK payments processor Vocalink, which is owned by leading UK banks and building societies, is planning to set up a new company to offer payments through mobile handsets, according to Sky News.
Vocalink wants to set up a company which would be backed by outside investors as well as its existing owners, says the report. The new company would offer a mobile payment service which is currently being developed under the project name “Zap”.
The new service, which would deliver bills to consumers on their mobile phones, is designed to appeal to companies because it would generate faster payments.
The service is aimed at utilities and other large companies such as retailers but could also include SMEs. Interestingly, these companies might also be offered a chance to buy shares in the new company.
The proposed service would be in addition to an existing service that Vocalink is developing for the UK Payments Council that enables consumers to make P2P money transfers.
According to the report, Vocalink shareholder Barclays will participate in the latter service, even though it already offers its own P2P service called Pingit. Apparently some executives expressed doubts about a service that seems to duplicate its own.
The Vocalink P2P service would involve establishing a new national mobile database which would link every bank account to a mobile number. Users would be able to make payments using only their mobile numbers.
No date for this service’s launch is given in the article but a previous report quoted a Vocalink executive saying it would launch in 2013. It is based on the company’s existing Faster Payments service which was launched in 2008.