Mastercard

Mastercard Send Debuts In UK With Real-Time Payments To Bank Accounts

In the first service offered by Mastercard after integrating Vocalink last year, and with an eye on real-time payments, Mastercard Send is launching in the United Kingdom.

Mastercard said in a release on Wednesday (June 6) that the payments service will make it possible for various stakeholders in the financial realm — spanning financial institutions, digital customers, FinTech companies and various enterprises — to send real-time payments to U.K.-based bank accounts and receive payments by the same means.

Mastercard Send will connect to the Faster Payments network, which, in turn, will enable payments across use cases such as business-to-consumer and peer-to-peer disbursements. The new service, Mastercard said in its release, “embodies the Mastercard vision of a world not only beyond cash, but beyond cards as well.”

Mastercard said it has enlisted Starling Bank, a challenger bank, as the strategic partner for settlement services in the U.K. That bank will manage funds to be disbursed before those funds are given over — “pushed,” in fact — to individual accounts through Faster Payments. In the statement, Julian Sawyer, who serves as chief operating officer of Starling Bank, said the partnership will “open up new commercial and business opportunities for Mastercard clients.”

The firms said that only a very small number of accounts in the U.K. (less than 0.1 percent), such as some savings accounts, do not accept faster payments, as estimated by Faster Payments itself.

The first U.K.-based customer for the service will be Income Group, which is a payroll-focused payment provider focused on paying employees in real time.

“Mastercard Send will make payments much easier for users,” said Mark Barnett, divisional president of Mastercard in the U.K., who also noted that existing direct-to-bank account solutions “are often batch-based and hence less timely, giving businesses a real headache when it comes to disbursement of funds.”

In the wake of the Wednesday announcement and in an interview with Karen Webster, Mike Cowen, senior vice president of digital payments and labs with Mastercard, said that Income Group “saw an opportunity” to leverage the service in a way that benefits employers and employees, and added “it’s a great first use case, and a great example of innovation.” Webster noted that research has shown that consumers prefer to get direct deposits into their bank accounts, and thus Mastercard Send may have additional value in the gig economy.

Cowen also stated that senders can have additional assurance that funds get to where they need to go, through confirmation that is pushed to them proactively – a marked change from traditional conduits, where such confirmation takes hours or even days.

Mastercard Send launched three years ago and, as noted in this space at the end of last month, initially started with a P2P focus and now has gone on to embrace other use cases, including B2B.

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