Experian will collect, verify and standardise information from banks on how their corporate customers (billers) receive payments. The full database is to be used by banks to make it easier for online and telephone banking customers to find accurate information when paying their bills - for example, via simplified drop-down menus. The service will also benefit billers, who will find it easier to reconcile incoming electronic payments by providing more accurate billing information for customers to use.
The central biller database is an initiative from the Payments Council's recently published National Payments Plan (2011-2014), forming part of the Payment Council's programme of activity to enhance existing payment services through innovation.
Jonathan Williams, Director of Strategy at Experian Identity and Fraud comments: "Experian estimates up to a quarter of customer references are invalid or incorrectly formatted, increasing the time it takes to credit payments and sometimes preventing them from being credited altogether, particularly when bill issuers change their account details, switch banks, or are involved in a merger or takeover.
"This database will help ensure banks hold correct and up-to-date information for billers and it will give both corporate and consumer customers' confidence their payment will reach the right recipient and will be processed quickly."
Hilary Plattern, Head of Strategy for the Payments Council, said: "This innovative solution is a win-win: consumer customers making payments benefit from increased confidence in the accuracy of the information they use to pay bills online or over the phone, while companies can be confident their customers are using up-to-date bank account and sort code details, as well as correctly-formatted references.
"This new database is an excellent example of the Payment Council's commitment to put customers' needs at the centre of the way payment methods are designed. We look forward to working with Experian to develop and deliver this service."