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RBS Gets Back Into Payments Ten Years After It Unloaded Worldpay

Royal Bank of Scotland is going after the payments market, launching a new unit Thursday (May 2) that will put it in competition with Worldpay, the former unit it was forced to unload.

According to a report in The Financial Times, the new business — dubbed NatWest Tyl — is a merchant acquiring service for small and medium-sized businesses, enabling retailers to accept payments via cards in physical stores and online. NatWest Tyl will make money charging fees to connect them to networks operated by Visa and Mastercard.

RBS had to sell Worldpay as part of a bailout during the financial crisis of about a decade ago. Since then, Worldpay and other payment companies have seen their businesses boom as the movement away from cash grows.  There has also been consolidation in the market place, with Worldpay being acquired by Fidelity National Information services in a $43 billion deal earlier this year. “Developing our own merchant acquiring and payments proposition is an important step forward,” Alison Rose, RBS head of commercial and private banking, told The Financial Times RBS’ new unit will likely be well-received by regulators who are concerned about competition issues in the payments market. According to the report, the Payments Systems Regulator has expressed worries that the incumbent players are overcharging small businesses.

NatWest Tyl’s aim is to offer customers data analytics to help them measure and improve their performance. It’s also part of RBS’s effort to drive new businesses and services via technology initiatives. RBS has rolled out a new digital loan service dubbed Esme and has its business bank called Mettle.

Paul Thwaite, managing director for sales, specialist businesses and business banking at NatWest, told The Financial Times that is a new experience for RBS to be a challenger in the market, but that its huge customer base and customer data should help it compete against the bigger payment companies. The executive noted RBS is the biggest U.K. lender to small and medium-sized businesses.

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