Simplified payments service means the sender doesn’t need the other person’s bank details and the recipient doesn’t have to register in order to receive a payment
Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest are launching what they claim is “the UK’s easiest” mobile phone-based payments service, allowing their customers to send money to anyone with a Visa card.
The service marks another step towards a cashless society and provides a “quick and easy” way for people to transfer funds to family and friends without having to know their bank details, a spokesman said.
It is initially being given a “soft launch” with the banks targeting certain groups of customers, and will go fully live after Easter.
Once up and running, any customer using the RBS or NatWest mobile app will be able to send a payment to anyone with a Visa card and a UK mobile phone number. All non-business Visa debit, credit and reloadable prepaid cards that are billed in pounds are supported by the service.
The sender doesn’t need the other person’s sort code and account number, and the recipient does not have to register in advance in order to receive a payment.
The service will be available to RBS customers in Scotland and NatWest customers in England and Wales only, though the banks said there was scope for the partnership with Visa Europe to be extended into cross-border payments in the future. Previously, it could only be used to transfer money between RBS and NatWest mobile app users.
Recipients will get a text message containing a link to a secure Visa website. They then need to key their card number and the amount into the site in order to receive their payment. The text message does not disclose the amount paid, and the sender will need to let the recipient know what the amount is so they can input it.
There is a limit of £100 per transaction and a maximum of £100 of payments a day.
Ben Green, head of mobile at RBS and NatWest, said: “This safe and convenient tool will encourage yet more people to make the most of mobile banking, helping our customers to bank anywhere, whenever they want.”
In March, the banking group experienced another computer glitch which prevented payments to and from accounts at NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank. However, asked about these technical issues Green said the mobile app dealt with millions of interactions each week, and that this move would improve the service to customers.
In February 2012, Barclays launched what was described as Europe’s first money-sending service, Pingit, that allowed UK current account customers to send and receive cash through their mobile phones. A spokesman said: “Since its launch last February, the response to Pingit has been phenomenal.”
The RBS and NatWest mobile apps currently have more than 2 million active users, while there are 115m Visa cards in use in the UK.
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