The UK is to launch the country’s first mobile money transfer service in the spring of 2014, seven years after the successful concept was debuted in Kenya.
According to the Daily Mail, eight financial institutions representing 90 percent of UK current accounts have already signed up to the project, with others expected to follow suit.
The banks already signed up for the scheme include Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Danske Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Metro Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Santander.
Customers will be required to register for the service through their own banks without having to share the information with any other party. The information is stored in a secure central database that allows banks to store their customers’ mobile phone numbers securely, linking them to their account details.
The UK Payments Council said that a third of smartphone users had expressed a definite likelihood of signing up for the service once it is launched.
Adrian Kamellard, chief executive of the council, said: “The mobile payments project is a fantastic example of the unique role the Payments Council can play in delivering far-reaching, innovative improvements for customers.”
He further explained that the new service will offer a simple, secure way to split a bill for dinner, receive money from a friend or pay a tradesman without the need to remember or share account details.
The scheme was supposed to have been launched by December 2012, but the council decided to push the date to 2014 as it continues to formulate policies that will govern the text-based cash transfer service.
The body is also still in the process of setting up rules regarding the minimum service standards and technology requirements for the smooth running of the service once it is launched.
In the meantime, banks are expected to start contacting their customers about linking their phone numbers to their accounts as the service nears its launch.