UK banks payment service threatens mobile wallets

Mobilewallets

Overcrowding market?

UK operators preparing mobile wallet offerings will potentially face stiff competition from financial institutions, after UK quango the Payments Council announced plans to launch an industry-wide mobile payment service (According to telecoms.com).

The service has been delayed from early 2013 to spring 2014 despite financial institutions representing 90 per cent of UK current accounts having already committed to offering the service. However, a Payments Council spokesperson said that this is because the body wants the service to be “as ubiquitous as possible” when it does launch, and despite the Council’s members historically being financial institutions, an invitation will be extended to mobile operators.

“We wouldn’t rule out any type of institution getting on board with this. We know mobile network operators have been looking to make the move into mobile payments and the minimum requirement that businesses need to have in order to join up with the service is they need to have access to faster payments – such as internet banking – or LINK, the ATM switching network,” the spokesperson said.

The Payments Council service will ensure that, as a minimum, a passcode or similar security feature will be required to authorise payments and the service will also offer the technical capacity for financial institutions to remotely disable an account in case of suspected misuse. The service would most likely take the form of a smartphone app, the Payments Council added, although it would not mandate how it is packaged by service providers.

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