UK Faster Payments Scheme Eases Access For Developers


The U.K.’s Faster Payments scheme is a critical component of the nation’s push towards real-time payments. The scheme offers real-time credits for payments made online, via mobile device and over the phone, when payments are valued at about $300,000 or less — making it a main player in P2P and SME payments.

But the potential of near-real-time payments offered by Faster Payments can only be realized when financial service providers join that scheme. In a recent report published by key stakeholders in the U.K.’s initiatives towards faster and real-time payments, analysts noted key requirements to join the Faster Payments scheme in particular; among one of the highest costs of joining, the report concluded, is building the technology to support real-time posting of payments. Managing operational costs, too, can be a burden.

Last week, Faster Payments aimed to ease the friction associated with getting financial service providers on board with the scheme. The group rolled out a resource for developers that create solutions for financial service providers and FinTech innovators to help these businesses link customer accounts to Faster Payments.

“Demand for the real-time payments offered by Faster Payments has never been higher, and so, we are delighted to be able to launch this important new resource to help the developers that are making real time a reality for more customers than ever,” stated Faster Payments Head of Development Mike Banyard in a statement.

Dubbed the Faster Payments Standards Library, the resource is a free, HTML-based standard model to ease friction in the shift towards the ISO 20022 payments messaging standard, which Faster Payments and other payment schemes across the globe have agreed is critical to global adoption of real-time, international payment capabilities. By providing a free, interactive resource to help developers work with messaging standards, Faster Payments said it hopes to make its scheme available to more payments and FinTech players.

“Message standards,” Faster Payments explained in its announcement, “are an essential part of the information needed by developers to write the software that connects customers’ bank accounts with Faster Payments, enabling payments to be processed.”

Faster Payments today uses the ISO 8583 messaging standard, however, so developers need to ensure that solutions can migrate from ISO 8583 to the globally recognized ISO 20022. According to Faster Payments, a resource to help developers map between these two messaging standards is also aligned with the U.K.’s broader faster payments efforts.

Banyard acknowledged that working with payment messaging standards may not be the most exciting part of a developer’s job, but it is crucial.

“Work on standards may not be glamorous,” he stated, “but they are the bread and butter of how our world-leading service works. The Faster Payments Standards Library is leading the way in this important area and blazing a trail for standardization that is as easy as possible to access for developers and FinTechs.”

Payments UK’s Standards unit collaborated on the library with Faster Payments, the firm said. According to Payments UK Chief Executive Maurice Cleaves, their joint venture makes access to Faster Payments a bit easier and more affordable.

“We are delighted to see the hard work of Payments UK and our partners to develop the Standards Collaboration Framework is starting to bear fruit, with this latest addition of the Faster Payments Standards Library,” the executive stated. “By drawing upon our leading standards expertise, Payments UK is facilitating all industry stakeholders in developing and accessing standards. Improving the way in which this is done is a win-win for all concerned.”