A survey carried out by MPI Europe, a specialist financial services management consultancy, on behalf of industry information site Fast Payments confirms that scheme members for Faster Payments have successfully implemented this innovative payment method, yet there is still significant work required to realise the full benefits of Faster Payments, particularly in terms of widespread adoption of the scheme, as well as in the development of more effective security measures.
Participants of MPI Europe’s web survey included large banks, building societies and smaller retail banks. It is clear that since the official launch of Faster Payments in May 2008, the scheme banks, mainly the UK Clearing Banks, who have been leading the faster payments scheme, have achieved their targets in terms of a base implementation of the system with large volumes of payments being processed and successfully flowing through the central infrastructure provided by Vocalink.
However, the survey, the second in a series, which aims to monitor the implementation of the Faster Payments scheme, shows that 35% of non-clearing banks are still unable to receive faster payments, indicating a large divide between the implementation of Faster Payment systems by founding members of the scheme and others. As a result, the adoption of the faster payments scheme is not as rapid as it could be. This reconfirms a similar finding in the first survey run prior to the scheme launch, which showed a lack of information being passed to non-clearing banks and corporate payment users .
In addition, the speed of the Faster Payments process, which moves money between accounts in near real time, presents important security and fraud challenges which are yet to be fully addressed by some banks. John Cant, Managing Director of MPI Europe, comments: “Some banks have had to put in place temporary measures to address these issues. Addressing them on a more universal and permanent basis is one of the main tasks in this area for 2009”.
The survey results add weight to the view that even the scheme banks have further work to do, to continue to develop and widen the use of Faster Payments. For example, it shows that although clearing banks show a marked decrease in staff devoted to Faster Payments projects, most participants of the survey have stated that they continue to have budget in 2009 for Faster Payments related activities.