Starling Bank becomes first digital-only bank to join Faster Payments as direct partner

Starling Bank has become the first digital-only bank to join the Faster Payments Scheme as a direct participant. Traditionally, new bank entrants join the scheme via a sponsor bank or another bank. 

The bank, which is planning a live launch this quarter, becomes the 13th member of the scheme, which allows banks to provide their customers with real-time payment services at any time of day or year.

As Tom Hay, Head of Payments at Icon Solutions, helpfully explained the processes of Faster Payments in our FinTalk podcast, Faster Payments is an on-line system which processes payments as they are received, and different to the traditional Bacs, which is an off-line, batch based payments processing system.

Starling Bank will be offering just one product when it launches: a current account, but it comes with features such as the ability to pause and unpause the debit card connected to the account. A major selling point of the bank is its real-time insights and account information, and the Faster Payments Scheme is undoubtedly an integral part of the bank’s vision.

Julian Sawyer, Chief Operating Officer at Starling Bank, said:

“Not only have our users expressed huge interest in real-time insights that we can give them as a result of Faster Payments, but it means being able to send money to friends or set up regular payments know it will be an instantaneous and simple process.”

She also said this partnership is a “huge step” for the bank and its ability to help people manage their finances better.

Starling Bank’s membership comes on the back of another high-profile fintech company’s membership: TransferWise. TransferWise has gained direct technical access to the FPS as the tech partner of Raphael’s Bank, an independent UK savings and lending bank established back in the 18th century.

And it looks like Starling is just the first of several joiners in 2017 as Craig Tillotson, Chief Executive of Faster Payments, said:

Starling is the first of a number of new joiners planned for this year as we enable payment service prodders, both established and new, to offer its customers real time, 24/7 payments they demand.”

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