The U.K.'s Payments Council is exploring options for providing more information with business and consumer electronic payment transactions, Finextra reported.
The organization, a group of financial institutions that sets strategy for payments in the U.K., says it is in discussions with several government departments, including the Department for Work and Pensions, Revenue and Customs, and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
The Department for Work and Pensions has already identified ways in which richer data could help it more quickly reconcile information it receives in administering the pension and benefits systems. It could also offer benefits to individual claimants, making their reporting of financial data to the department easier.
Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, praised the initiative. "Richer data means that anyone making a payment could add much more information about a transaction, not just the current 18-character limit," he said. "This could bring a wide range of benefits, from allowing automatic invoice reconciliation for business to enabling individuals to see more information with payments they receive. Richer data could also lower the cost to the taxpayer of administering benefits and reduce losses from error and fraud."
The Payments Council said that if it can come up with a feasible and commercial proposal for richer data, it will consider presenting it for review by the proposed Payments Strategy Forum of the U.K.'s new Payment Systems Regulator, which is scheduled to become fully operational in April 2015.