With at least 30 countries having launched or in development of faster payments initiatives, two European programs are making progress. U.K.-based payments provider VocaLink recently announced it’s working with Raphaels Bank to enable access to the Faster Payments Scheme for several U.K. banks, including competing financial institutions. Meanwhile, Italian payments processor SIA announced its mobile money service Jiffy has more than 250,000 users as of the end of 2015.
“Raphaels recently announced its intention to become a member of the Faster Payments Scheme. Our direct participation in [the scheme] will allow us to offer sponsorship to other financial institutions and payment service providers who wish to access the scheme via our membership,” John Box, head of strategic partnerships, Raphaels Bank Payment Services, said in an announcement.
Faster payments initiatives in the U.K are more developed than in other countries. In 2008, VocaLink built and continues to manage the real-time technology behind the U.K. Faster Payments Service as part of the Faster Payments Scheme.
In the U.S., VocaLink announced Dec. 10, 2015, it signed a contract with The Clearing House, a U.S. banking and payments company owned by 24 banks, to develop a real-time payment service, following a letter of intent between the two entities a few months earlier. The collaboration is expected to result in a wide-ranging payment system, enabling consumers and businesses to send and receive real-time payments, and will provide a platform for future services “that go beyond basic payments,” according to the announcement.
In addition, the Federal Reserve in January 2015 issued a report, “Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System,” to serve as a foundation to develop safe and faster payments. The CFPB also weighed in on the issue last July by issuing nine guiding principles to ensure a faster payments system is secure and transparent, among other guidelines.
SIA, which launched Jiffy in Italy last spring, says approximately 50 banks have adopted the P2P service. In addition to more than 250,000 active users, Jiffy average single transactions were €42 (US$45.48), and 50 percent of the transfers were less than €25 (US$27.07) in 2015.
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