In a move to further corporate payments in the United Kingdom, Barclays has inked a deal with Bottomline Technologies, the cloud payments and digital banking firm, to let payments move between parties in real time and across mobile devices.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Ed Adshead-Grant, general manager of payments for Bottomline, stated that, within the U.K., “it is the consumer that gets all the press in the payments space and the investment dollars, too, and it seems that, at times, corporate payments remains the poor cousin, a little bit behind in technology.” By way of example, he offers this scenario: Strolling through downtown on the way to the office, fixating on a mobile device, using contactless (and mobile) payments at Starbucks to buy the morning’s coffee and then alighting to an office replete with green screens, mainframes and paper checks.
Bottomline, he added, remains in a sweet spot with banks and corporates, with a roster of more than 10,000 clients that can help foster greater adoption of B2B payments within the U.K. “The key is to make mobile mainstream,” said the executive, with the installed base making that class of payments “a very easy add-on module,” which negates the need to introduce completely new and bank-only technology.
The technology itself works through using cell phone numbers as proxies for bank account details and thus facilitating account-to-account payments, using the Pingit app that is geared to smartphones. A few caveats: Smartphone users alone can send money, and any registered user can be on the receiving end of funds. There is a daily limit to the tune of £5,000 per customer, but Adshead-Grant stated this is likely to increase as the rollout gains traction. Payments can cross to any bank account holder, he added, without restriction to Barclays accounts.
Verticals that might most immediately embrace the technology include travel and insurance companies, which, as Adshead-Grant explained, have a great number of transactions occurring across single recipients, in some cases, on a recurring basis.
Adshead-Grant also noted that the greater penetration of mobile into the corporate setting means that payments across the platform can also be used for collections, which he said can be completed via QR code. That code, he stated, is printed, for example, on a gas utility bill, which, in turn, can be scanned to bring a payment to the corporate — a system that will be rolled out across the next several months.