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Pepare for the next generation of card payments

Paying for your shopping using your smartphone just got even easier as Mastercard expands the reach of its mobile payment app.

The humble credit and debit card may be a step closer to extinction thanks to a new announcement from Mastercard.

The company has revealed a major expansion to its Masterpass digital wallet service that will allow customers for the first time.

Going forward, Masterpass should now work seamlessly on your smartphone, wearable device or tablet, letting you pay online, in-store, or using the NFC-enabled app with just one touch.

Masterpass makes paying for goods even easier

Masterpass makes paying for goods using your smartphone even easier

Mastercard says that the new service, which links to your current account, is perfect for a wide ranges of use cases, from paying for the tube in the morning to splitting the bill at lunch and ordering your weekly shop online.

Banks will also be able to build Masterpass into their own apps, bringing together all your various digital payment methods and apps in one place.

The company says that around 80 million people around the world will be able to benefit automatically from the new service, which launches in the US today before expanding to Europe later next year.

The news comes as competition in the mobile payment market continues to increase, as big players such as Apple and Samsung throw their weight behind the technology.

Since its launch in 2014, Apple Pay has helped popularize the idea of paying for good using a mobile phone in the UK, with thousands of businesses across the country supporting the technology.


Moore, M. (2016) Home. Available at: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/689626/mastercard-masterpass-contactless-shopping-payment-app-nfc (Accessed: 15 July 2016).

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WIRED Money 2016 Startup Stage: new ways to pay

Want to save £1 every time you run a mile? How about a keyboard that lets you pay from WhatsApp?

What will be the next fintech breakthrough? On June 23, 16 startups from around the world gathered at the British Museum in London to pitch on the WIRED Money Startup Stage.

From blockchain to alternative lending and working in emerging markets, the startups had five minutes to pitch their ideas to our expert judges. On the panel, Marisol Menéndez Alvarez, open innovation manager at BBVA; Yann Kandelman, head of investment at Orange Digital Ventures and James Temperton, acting deputy editor of WIRED.co.uk.

These pitches are all focused on digital-only banks and new ways to pay.

Modern Lend

WIRED Money 2016 Startup Stage winner

If you’re coming to the US to work or study, getting credit and loans can be tricky. Kobina Ansah, co-founder and CEO of ModernLend is trying to change that. His startup uses alternative data metrics to provide credit cards and loans to creditworthy international citizens shut out of the US system.

Traditional banks may decline borrowers who lack a US credit history, says Ansah. These people, hugely creditworthy in their home countries, are unable to borrow in the US as they lack a credit history or social security number. The startup is already working with the international student offices at the University of Pennsylvania and NYU and will launch its first card for international citizens this autumn.

Oval Money

Saving is a $35 trillion global market, but only 18 per cent of young adults save with a major financial institution. Benedetta Arese Lucini, co-founder and CEO of Oval Money, wants to make it more fun. The savings app uses MangoPay to create a digital wallet that lives on a user’s smartphone.

Oval Money gamifies saving using an ‘If This Then That’ model to tap into pretty much any API: run five miles? Save £1. Buy something from Amazon? Save five per cent of the total purchase. Oval Money can also use micro-transactions, making it easy to save tiny amounts regularly to build up a large pot.


Herzliya, Israel-based PayKey wants to make it easy to pay for goods within any app. The idea is simple, Dario Mutabdzija, president and head of business development: a white-label keyboard for iOS that lets anyone transfer money to anyone else in an app. According to Mutabdzija, incumbent banking and payment apps aren’t contextual or “integrated into the daily lives of consumers”.

As PayKey is totally service agnostic, it can work anywhere, so users can pay within Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp – wherever.


If you’ve got kids, there’s a chance you already provide them with financial services – but you probably call it pocket money. Robin aims to “connect kids to the financial world through their parents in a safe way,” says Robin CEO Rogelio Valdés Garcia. The app, which links a wallet with a parent’s bank account, uses gamification to encourage responsible saving and money management.

When it launches Robin will charge £2 per month to use the service and hopes to partner with banks to move children onto real accounts when they are old enough.


Temperton, J. (2016) WIRED money 2016 startup stage: New ways to pay. Available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/wired-money-2016-startup-stage-digital-banks (Accessed: 11 July 2016).

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Contactless payments in vogue for Barclaycard and Topshop accessories

News: Card payments on the increase as mobile and contactless take off.

Barclaycard and Topshop have teamed up on a range of contactless payment accessories.

The NFC-enabled bracelets, phone cases and keychains come as part of the bPay collection that was launched in 2014.

Users that have a UK registered Visa or MasterCard, debit or credit card will be able to add funds to their digital wallet using a mobile app, online through the bPay web site, or set up an automatic top-up, which will add funds to their balance one it falls below a pre-set level.

The accessories contain a bPay chip by Barclaycard that links to the digital wallet.

Britain is clearly a big fan of contactless payments and paying by card instead of cash, with rising online and contactless transactions increasing spending on debit and credit cards by 10% to £660 billion in 2015.

Online card spending increased by 20% to £210 billion from £175bn in 2014, this means that almost a third of plastic spending takes place on the internet. Paying by mobile is also on the increase with half of online spending taking place on tablets and smartphones, up from 37% in 2014, according to figures from the UK Cards Association show.

Contactless payments are also on the increase, partly thanks to the increase in the payment limit to £30 and nearly half of all cards issues now having contactless capabilities. In 2015 £7.75bn was spent via tap and pay, compared to £2.32bn in 2014.

Graham Peacop, CEO, UK Cards Association, said: “With the amount spent using contactless cards almost trebling between 2014 and 2015 and the payment limit increasing to £30, it is clear 2015 was the year contactless went mainstream.

“Whether buying a sandwich on the go, or paying for a round of drinks or a tube journey, contactless has become the default way people choose to pay for every day shopping.”


Nunns, C.J. (2016) Contactless payments in vogue for Barclaycard and Topshop accessories. Available at: http://www.cbronline.com/news/internet-of-things/consumer/contactless-payments-in-vogue-for-barclaycard-and-topshop-accessories-4919256 (Accessed: 8 July 2016).

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50 years on: How credit cards changed our relationship with money

Fifty years ago this week Barclaycard issued the first credit cards in the UK.

Half a century on, consumers are used to a range of convenient ways to pay, but back in 1966 there was a feeling of change when people tried to brandish their exciting new plastic cards.

“When it arrived I didn’t really know what it was,” admits Liz Hodgkinson, who was a fresh-faced 22-year-old just out of university.

The company sent out some 1.25 million plastic cards to Barclays customers from 29 June 1966 and while some sent them back or never used them, many, like Liz, a writer, embraced the new way of paying.

“There was an explanatory letter from Barclays which said it was issuing the cards to its best customers. It was a terrific revolution as far as women were concerned as previously you had to have a male guarantor to get credit.”

Liz Hodgkinson in 1966 and today

Liz Hodgkinson in 1966 and today

At the time, the bank said: “[Barclaycard’s] purpose is to reduce the use of cash in shopping and other transactions and the scheme is designed to appeal not only to those who must travel and spend a good deal of money in restaurants, but also to the everyday shopper throughout the country.”

It also stressed the benefits to retailers and businesses by pointing out that the card would help in “reducing or eliminating the book-keeping now needed to maintain customers’ credit accounts.”

‘Made me feel special’

Once she’d worked out its advantages, Liz used her card as soon as possible.

“I realised that I could buy something without having to pay for it there and then and could have three weeks’ grace. It meant I didn’t have to wait until payday.

“It made me feel very special. My husband banked at Lloyds at the time so didn’t get one.”

In fact it took Barclays’ High Street rivals six years to respond.

Then and now

By the time a group comprising Lloyds, NatWest and Midland (now HSBC) launched the now-scrapped Access card in 1972, there were 1.7 million Barclaycard holders.

Today the company says it has 10.5 million consumer customers as well as many more business customers.

Graphic showing key stats of 50 year anniversary

In the intervening period, the world of plastic cards has changed completely.

In 1966 Barclaycard charged an annual interest rate of 1.5% but expected payment by the end of the month.

The idea of revolving credit, where a card can be used to maintain a longer borrowing, only started in 1967 when Barclaycard offered up to three months’ credit. Now, of course, it’s possible to be in debt to a credit card for a lifetime and the average interest charged on outstanding balances is 18.9%.

The borrowing limits in 1966 were much more modest, too. Cardholders were offered up to £100 worth of credit. Now the average is around £4,000, the company says.

Looking ahead, plastic cards will take over from cash to become the UK’s most frequently used payment method by 2021, reckons Payment UK.

The growth will be driven by “the next generation of account holders”, says the UK Cards Association as “younger people are more likely to embrace new technologies such as contactless cards and mobile payments.”

Barclaycard being sold in 1966

Paying on plastic has come a long way since 1966, with the introduction of debit cards and contactless payment

But the older generation is getting in on the act, too. Liz Hodgkinson, now 72, reveals: “I have an app on my phone to make contactless payments,” although she admits: “It was set up by my grandson!”

Debt warnings

While the introduction of plastic in 1966 may have given cardholders like Liz a feeling of confidence, the evolution of the credit card also meant the danger of getting into debt very much became a reality.

“I was elated to get an Access card when I was aged 18,” says Karen Wake, 55, a pension expert. But her happiness didn’t last. “By the age of 25 I had built up £30,000 worth of debt.

“I worked hard to pay it off in five to six years and have had no debt since then,” she says. “Despite the fact I now work in the financial services industry, that didn’t equip me to manage my finances at a young age.”

Today, many people happily use credit cards for convenience – often earning rewards or cashback – while paying the balance off every month to ensure there are no charges.

But overspending and building up long-term debt remain big problems.

Mike O’Connor, chief executive of the debt charity Step Change, says: “The average credit card debt we see is £8,403 and last year we dealt with more than 200,000 people with £1.7bn of credit card debts.”

He says the Financial Conduct Authority should reform the market to ensure that credit cards work better for consumers, especially those in financial difficulty.

“Small changes to existing rules, such as increasing minimum payments from 1% to 2% of the balance or fixing minimum repayments so that they don’t fall as the balance declines, could save people thousands of pound and cut years off repayment periods,” says Mr O’Connor.


Read, S. (2016) 50 years on: How credit cards changed our relationship with money. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36518248 (Accessed: 5 July 2016).

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OT Enables Contactless Payment with Swatch in Switzerland

OT (Oberthur Technologies), a leading global provider of embedded security software products and services, announces a key partnership with Swatch, the renowned Swiss watchmaker and one of the world’s most popular brands, to provide contactless payment to customers in Switzerland.

They will be able to pay with speed, security and convenience, just waving their stylish Swatch Bellamy watch close to on contactless terminals – a great way to shop and save time.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160616005616/en/

As contactless POS terminals are now widespread in all kinds of locations (convenience stores, Quick Service Restaurants, vending machines, car parks, etc.), using such a wearable to pay becomes easy and really convenient for everyday purchases. Combining payment convenience with the style of a Swatch watch really enhances customers’ everyday experience.

OT’s FlyBuySE (Secure Element) is fully integrated within Swatch Bellamy watches and provides a high level of security while enabling seamless payments and transactions. OT’s latest portfolio covers a broad range of payment networks and applications (such as payment, security access, transport, etc) and can be embedded in many different types of wearables. With this partnership between Swatch and OT, Swatch Bellamy holders can perform fast contactless transactions with an innovative alternative to cash. Their watch remains as stylish as before, while embedding the latest payment technologies.

“At OT, we are delighted to work with such a renowned brand as Swatch to launch this innovative product. As contactless payment becomes widespread from an acceptance point of view, more end-users will be looking for such stylish wearables enabling them to pay in a quick, secure and convenient way” said Eric Duforest, Managing Director of the Financial Services Institutions business at OT.

Carlo Giordanetti, Creative Director, Swatch International, declared: “We are happy with the cooperation with the OT team in the Swatch Bellamy project. OT knows how to adapt its portfolio of products and solutions to the latest trends and it is the ideal partner to offer this innovative watch. We look forward to developing this relationship further, and to presenting Swatch Bellamy in more countries.”

“We are delighted to team up with OT and Swatch to provide a payment-enriched version of this emblematic Swiss time keeper to our customers. The Swatch Bellamy is an innovative and fashionable alternative to traditional payment cards. Due to the prepaid functionality, the funds can be easily loaded without any need of a bank account” said Alessandro Seralvo, Director Cornèrcard.

OT is a world leader in embedded digital security that protects you when you connect, authenticate or pay.

OT is strategically positioned in high growth markets and offers embedded security software solutions for “end-point” devices as well as associated remote management solutions to a huge portfolio of international clients, including banks and financial institutions, mobile operators, authorities and governments, as well as manufacturers of connected objects and equipment.

OT employs over 6 500 employees worldwide, including almost 700 R&D people. With a global footprint of 4 regional secure manufacturing hubs and 39 secure service centers, OT’s international network serves clients in 169 countries. For more information: www.oberthur.com


(No Date) Available at: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ot-enables-contactless-payment-swatch-114400627.html (Accessed: 4 July 2016).

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Pay your car licence – with your card!

Cape Town – The City is testing the use of card payment facilities at its motor vehicle registration office at the Civic Centre.

The use of card payment facilities will be for one week before the City expands this service to other motor vehicle registration facilities across Cape Town, such as the Promenade Mall, Milnerton, Khayelitsha and Plumstead.

On the first day of the pilot, more than 100 credit and debit card transactions were processed.

The city-wide roll out to motor vehicle registration offices is expected to take approximately two months. According to deputy mayor Ian Neilson, the expansion of card payment facilities for the payment of rates and tariff accounts and traffic fines will take a bit longer as system upgrades are required.

The City will accept payments of up to R5000 per transaction by credit or debit card, or any other means of payment which does not hold any cost implications.

“This amount covers most transactions by our clients,” Neilson said, “be it for motor vehicle licences, rates, services bills or other sundry payments. The City will, however, reclaim the relevant banking fee for any payment over R5000.”

As electronic payments carry the lowest bank charges, more than 60 percent of payments to the City are via this method.

“Our first day of testing went well and 103 card transactions to the value of approximately R45 000 were processed,” he added.

“The success of our online offerings, such as receiving municipal accounts by e-mail and the option of registering for the City’s e-services portal, allows for online payments of rates, tariffs and motor vehicle licence payments for clients,” said Neilson.


Kent claims 90% of waste handled in UK (2016) Available at: http://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/kent-claims-90-of-waste-handled-in-uk/ (Accessed: 1 July 2016).
In-text citations:

  • (Kent claims 90% of waste handled in UK, 2016)
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Brexit: Possible Impacts on the UK Payments Market

Following Britain’s momentous decision to leave the European Union our thoughts must inevitably turn to the potential impact on UK consumer payments.

In this blog we provide some early thoughts on how the UK market may be affected, beginning with recent European regulation which will have to be untangled.

First, let us look at how the two Payment Services Directives may be approached by the UK government. Will the PSD1 remain on the statute book, and the PSD2 implemented as planned? The answer at this stage is probably. Many aspects of European legislation related to consumer protection are likely to remain because they did not fundamentally change existing UK rights. The UK government’s approach to account access is generally more progressive than that embodied in the PSD2, so this will probably be superseded by UK Open Data Initiative.

The biggest change will be in the area of licensing and passporting. The FCA has established a good reputation with innovative European payments businesses for its regulatory regime. These eMoney and Payment Institutions will probably to move their headquarters to other European markets, and we will be poorer for it both commercially and from an innovations perspective. Changing the approach to passporting will affect the UK’s cross border acquirers the most. Many UK acquirers rely on passporting FCA regulatory licenses to support their local acquiring offers across the EU. Unless they already have licenses in other EU markets, acquirers will need to seek new EU regulatory approval to operate across the continent, and to sign new merchant contracts.

Second, interchange regulation. The UK CMA has always taken a close interest in the payments market, and many issuers expected interchange to decline in the medium term. It therefore seems unlikely that credit interchange will suddenly return to its previous levels. It may be that debit migrates back to the historical fixed price approach. This is particularly important within the context of the announced move to a basic 0.2% (removing the 50p cap and 1p fee) expected for Visa Debit in September. We can therefore expect modest change in the interchange arena.

The European Banking Authority will almost certainly move, possibly to Paris to balance the ECB in Frankfurt. However, may have little impact on the UK consumer payments market as they have played a relatively modest role to date.

How may the international card schemes react? Both have substantial presence in the UK, particularly Visa. It seems likely that Visa Inc. will increase its presence in Continental Europe as part of a wider restructure as other roles are migrated to the US. MasterCard may also to shift its emphasis to Waterloo away from Canary Wharf. Both schemes will need to adapt their licensing approaches, but these are already flexible enough to accommodate the inclusion of non-EU markets. Such moves by the card schemes may be to the detriment of London and the UK, but the impact will probably be modest.

The impact on data processing and data security remains unclear. Will the UK be treated as an off-shore location for card and payment processing? This will be a matter for the lawyers to resolve, but could affect Visa’s UK processing hub, or MasterCard’s rumoured purchase of VocaLink. New payments processors arriving in Europe from the US or Asia are also much less likely to locate their business in the UK.

Will there be a substantial change in the structure of issuers and acquirers of consumer payments (either cards, credit transfers or direct debits)? We have already highlighted the impact on cross border acquiring, and both regulators and schemes will need to adapt accordingly. On the issuing side markets are unlikely to change their activities as they are either domestically focussed, or already manage operations both inside and outside the EU.

Now let’s look at users of payments. Will consumer spend day to day be affected? Again, probably not. Consumers in the UK do not use SEPA Direct Debits or SEPA Credit Transfers domestically. They will continue their preference for cards in store, and online. The growth in online payments will continue, alongside the growth in contactless in-store. Similarly it seems unlikely that there will be a substantial change in the merchant landscape. The UK will remain a vibrant market where retailers online and offline will fight for consumer spend. It seems less likely that our exit from the EU will impact this to any great degree.

We have suggested that there may be some potential downsides particularly in the area of acquiring and processing. Will there be any upsides? At this stage we struggle to see any, which is a great disappointment. Perhaps benefits will emerge from the current maelstrom by 2017.

So, in conclusion, impacts on the UK consumer retail payments market will most probably be concentrated in areas such as licensing, cross border acquiring and processing. However, in the long term we are optimistic that the UK consumer payments market is likely to remain innovative and forward looking and get past these issues.


Finextra (2016) Brexit: Possible impacts on the UK payments market. Available at: https://www.finextra.com/blogposting/12770/brexit-possible-impacts-on-the-uk-payments-market (Accessed: 27 June 2016).

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Is your business prepared for the cashless economy?

The UK is on the fast track to being cash-free, but are our small and medium businesses ready?

The pounds in your pocket are destined for the museum display cabinets. This is according to new research by trade association, Payments UK, who predict that debit card and contactless payment use will overtake cash transactions by 2021 after finding that cash transactions accounted for less than half of consumer payments for the first time in 2015.

There’s no doubt that contactless technology has transformed consumer buying, and with Apple and Android Pay now available, it’s clear that the days of counting out coppers for a pint of milk and a Mars bar will soon be over.

Who has the least cash?

Citigroup and London’s Imperial College latest Digital Money Index indicates that the UK has begun to sprint ahead in the global race to becoming a cashless society after rising from 7th to 4th place in the list of countries that are most ‘digital ready’. Finland topped the list as the most digital-ready country for the third consecutive year, with Singapore and the US following behind in second and third place respectively.

Finland’s continued position as a digital leader is unsurprising considering their strong investment in digital infrastructure. Fixed broadband is available to 97 per cent of Finnish homes; this combined with affordability has helped Finland become one of the most tech savvy nations, with 91 per cent of the population being regular internet users. Furthermore, according to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), Finland has one of the highest shares of eGovernment users and users of eHealth services in Europe. The Finnish government’s integration of digital and public services has further embedded digital processes into everyday life, meaning that digital payment is just another aspect of efficient modern living.

Contactless: the consumer’s choice

The rapid change in the UK’s payment habits can largely be attributed to big brands’ early adoption of contactless. In 2014 Tesco updated all 6,000 of their payment terminals in London to accept contactless payment, they announced that this would save 6 seconds for every customer that used it. For a consumer that is often time poor, 6 seconds less spent in a queue is 6 seconds less stress but more importantly for Tesco it speeds up customer service which enhances the customer experience.

However, contactless payment hasn’t always been hailed as a hero. Transport for London’s (TFL) announcement that its buses would go cashless in 2014 was initially met with scepticism. Nonetheless, since TFL has rolled out contactless across its network, more than 400 million journeys have been made using credit or debit cards or a mobile device, revealing that contactless is an option that offers consumers more, not less choice.
While Tesco and TFL helped lead the way in implementing wave and pay into our everyday lives, the increase in the contactless spend limit from £20 to £30 further pushed contactless mainstream by boosting retailer opportunities and encouraging a wider range of merchants to adapt their payment systems. In 2016, from petrol stations to pubs, consumers can go about their daily lives without having to enter their pin.
Contactless may have won London over first, but a recent study by Barclaycard found that contactless is growing fastest in Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff. Furthermore, the study also revealed that the over 60’s, the group often deemed as ‘technophobes’, are the fastest growing adopters of contactless card payments. The popularity of contactless across generations offers further evidence that wave and pay is here to stay as more consumers look to utilise new technology that will allow them to make safer, more convenient payments.

Better for business

The swift infiltration of contactless into our everyday lives has certainly raised customer expectations of the pace and ease of service, meaning that businesses not offering customers the payment options they expect, risk undermining their reputation by appearing out of touch.
However, the new way to pay offers considerable benefits to businesses too. Sage Pay’s Payments Landscape Report 2015, found that annual cash handling costs, including allowance for fraud and theft, set UK retailers back more than £3,600 on average. By offering cashless payment options, businesses will benefit hugely from reduced cash handling costs. While digital payments are not completely free from fraud, the risk is significantly lower. Figures from the UK Cards Association show that in the first six months of 2015, fraudulent transactions were equivalent to only 2p for every £100 spent using contactless functionality.

In addition to speedier, safer transactions, digital payments also open up the possibility of integrated reward programmes and location-based marketing. Tapping into these smartphone capabilities will allow businesses to use customer data to deliver tailored marketing campaigns, enhancing customer experience and encouraging loyalty.

While the question of whether the UK will turn completely cashless remains debatable, there’s no doubt that paying for a latte with a quick swish of your wrist has become so commonplace that digging deep in your purse for cash feels like an archaic practice. Whether you’re a high street store, independent coffee shop or a local newsagent, consumers now expect to be able to pay with lightning speed. Cashless is coming, make sure you’re prepared.


Growth Business UK. 2016. Is your business prepared for the cashless economy?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.growthbusiness.co.uk/comment-and-analysis/2532811/is-your-business-prepared-for-the-cashless-economy.thtml. [Accessed 24 June 2016].

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How To Make UK Faster Payments Faster

The Faster Payments initiative has made significant strides in the United Kingdom, so much so that the scheme has been held up as a model for other nations globally. 

Yet the work is far from done.  There are still numbers of businesses and consumers that are not yet linked up to the grid, so to speak, and even fewer products for consumers to take advantage of.

In an interview with Karen Webster, William Proctor, vice president and product line manager of UP Immediate Payments at ACI Worldwide, delved into the triumphs and trials seen thus far.

The Faster Payments scheme has a goal of reaching every single consumer in the U.K.  What are the main barriers to entry for people, businesses and payment providers looking to be a part of the U.K. Faster Payments scheme?

U.K. Faster Payments has seen very successful adoption.  It’s clear that the service is valuable as the transaction growth rates continue to be in the double digits year over year.  Some of the barriers that had prevented adoption to date, such as value limits, have largely been eliminated.

Now, the primary barriers are reaching the consumers and small businesses who are not customers of direct member banks, as well as enabling larger businesses to integrate real-time processing into their back offices. Delivering on ubiquity is the key objective, and the push to make more indirect members, direct members will help significantly.

Enabling payment service providers to access the payment systems offered, called The New Access Model, will also lead to more innovation, itself creating a new payment ecosystem.  Finally, there is always the issue of education.  The U.K. market understands the options very well.  In other markets looking to offer real-time services, education will be an important element to drive adoption.

The fixed costs of communication links between PSPs and central infrastructure is causing issues with potential users of Faster Payments services, especially smaller players.  What is being done to allow them the same advantage and ability to use the service? 

The New Access Model approach from Faster Payments Scheme Ltd (FPSL) introduces the concept of Aggregator Services to simplify and reduce the cost of access for an organization seeking to offer real-time payment services.  This is a smart approach as it gives smaller banks, FinTechs and all other payment intermediaries greater options for connecting to the scheme.

Organizations can be a direct member and have an account with U.K. Faster Payments or they can use a sponsor relationship. By using a technical aggregator, the costs of connectivity are shared across several tenants using the same infrastructure.

This flexibility allows businesses to connect with the solution that makes the most strategic and economic sense to them.  It allows them to really focus on the end user, a business or a consumer, to offer new and unique services.  This is what the real-time capability is all about – driving innovation, competition and enhanced value on the back of real-time processing.

Given where the U.S. market is going with multiple real-time schemes, we expect this Aggregator approach could make a lot of sense there, too, to enable the vast number and types of institutions that offer real-time payments.  We’ll need an approach that addresses many more participants, both banks and non-banks.

It has been identified that the gap between the scheme’s central interfaces and PSP’s diverse capabilities and infrastructures need to be bridged, but not to the extent of using a ‘single pipe’ solution.  Would having multiple connection points open up more ways for fraudsters? How is the consumer or business protected?  

New models such as this are always a target for fraud.  When Faster Payments first went live, online banking fraud more than doubled from the prior year. The model itself is not more susceptible, but with more participants in the scheme and more end users, there is a greater threat.  It’s critical that organizations offering any new products and services look comprehensively at their systems and processes to enhance fraud prevention techniques as required.  This is an area that needs ongoing attention as technology evolves.  Open API initiatives such as PSD2 will equally be challenged by new fraud threats.  It’s critical to have a real-time fraud approach that looks across access origination channels and processing engines — a layered, multi-channel approach to your fraud strategy.

Smartphones have drastically changed consumer expectations and brought about multiple new digital and mobile payment services.  How does faster payments enable product innovation as well as future technology advancements? 

The smartphone has driven a demand for real-time, instantaneous information.  This transposes into our expectations for making payments. We see these experiences converging across digital formats, mobile to social for example and we have shifted from caring about the transaction to caring about the experience. A delay or a complex process makes no sense, but it’s not that simple to change.  Years of transformation and evolution are behind current payment models.

However, that is also what is really interesting about where we are today in payments.  The newer players entering the space as well as the established financial institutions and payment intermediaries are heavily embracing technology and change.  Whether it takes the form of competition or partnership, the industry is moving forward at a very fast pace.  The real-time payments schemes are just the enabling rails for terrific innovation.  We have a new customer anticipating huge benefits from adding real-time processing to their foreign exchange services.

We see all types of FinTechs, but also banks and processors, launching creative new services, where real-time payments are a cornerstone to these offerings and in many cases are the foundation to delivering the user experience.


PYMNTS (2016) How to make UK faster payments faster. Available at: http://www.pymnts.com/news/security-and-risk/2016/uk-faster-payments/ (Accessed: 17 June 2016).

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Early days, but Apple Pay struggles outside U.S.

More than 18 months after Apple Pay took the United States by storm, the smartphonegiant has made only a small dent in the global payments market, snagged by technical challenges, low consumer take-up and resistance from banks.

The service is available in six countries and among a limited range of banks, though in recent weeks Apple has added four banks to its sole Singapore partner American Express; Australia and New Zealand Banking Group in Australia; and Canada’s five big banks.

Apple Pay usage totaled $10.9 billion last year, the vast majority of that in the United States. That is less than the annual volume of transactions in Kenya, a mobile payments pioneer, according to research firm Timetric.

And its global turnover is a drop in the bucket in China, where Internet giants Alibaba and Tencent dominate the world’s biggest mobile payments market – with an estimated $1 trillion worth of mobile transactions last year, according to iResearch data.

Anecdotal evidence from Britain, China and Australia suggests Apple Pay is popular with core Apple followers, but the quality of service, and interest in it, varies significantly.

To use Apple Pay, consumers tap their iPhone over payment terminals to buy coffee, train tickets and other services. It can be also used at vending machines that accept contactless payments.

Apple Pay transactions were a fraction of the $84.5 billion in iPhone sales for the six months to March, which accounted for two-thirds of Apple’s total revenue.


In Australia, where Apple Pay launched a month ago, payment machines supported by one mid-sized bank reported frequent failures.

“Bendigo Bank is experiencing some unforeseen technical issues in accepting Apple Pay payments at selected merchant terminals,” a spokeswoman for the bank told Reuters, adding that a lack of wider industry engagement in launching the service limited the lead time in testing the new technology.

Apple Vice President Jennifer Bailey said such experiences were premature and not representative. “Like any set of major technology changes, it takes time,” she said. “We want to move as quickly as possible, we push it as quickly as possible.”

Facing a slowing smartphone business, Apple has taken on the payments market hoping to add ways to make its devices more appealing, and more revenue streams. Apple takes a cut of up to 15 cents in the United States on every $100 spent.

While it has long mastered the supply chain for its mobile devices, the payments ecosystem has proved harder to control, and banks in other countries have reportedly negotiated lower transaction fees, contributing to its slow global roll-out.

Apple nearly doubled its R&D spending to more than $8 billion in 2013-15 as it pushed out a wave of new products including Apple Watch and Apple Pay, as well as upgrades to existing hardware devices and new services.


Apple has leveraged its huge U.S. user base to push Pay, but has met resistance in Australia, Britain and Canada where banks are building their own products.

“Payments in general is such a complicated system with so many incumbent providers that revolutionary change like this was not going to happen very quickly,” said Joshua Gilbert, an analyst at First Annapolis Consulting.

The upshot: Apple has rolled out Pay in a dribble, adding countries and partners where it can – Hong Kong is expected to be added next – resulting in an uneven banking landscape with users and retail staff not always sure what will work and how.

In Britain, for example, $14 billion was spent via contactless cards last year, according to Windsor Holden, a Juniper Research analyst. That makes it harder to persuade people to take the extra step on their smartphone for the same checkout convenience.

“You have over 86 million contactless cards in circulation, you have to persuade Britons to register their cards to the (Apple Pay) service when they can already use them to make a contactless payment,” Holden said.

In Australia, where more than 60 percent of all card transactions are through contactless cards, reception has also been muted. A spokesman for one large retailer said he had seen “very little uptake of the payment option” in his sector. He didn’t want to be named as he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Diego Machuca, 32, banks with Apple Pay-holdout Commonwealth Bank, has an iPhone and is already “largely cashless”. He says Apple Pay is appealing, but he wouldn’t switch banks just to access that one feature. “Not over that. There’s too much work involved just for tap-and-go,” he told Reuters.

Three months after the China launch, users on online forums complained that using Apple Pay, even at popular fast-food outlets, was not as seamless as local services such as WeChat, Tencent’s messaging and mobile commerce phenomenon.

Nonetheless, Apple’s approach has spurred development in several markets where the mobile payments industry had previously not taken hold – giving it the jump on rivals Google’s Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

Android Pay only launched in the United States in March and in Britain last month for use on the latest model Android phones. Samsung Pay is available in three markets; China, South Korea and the United States.


Siegel, M., Wagstaff, J. and Auchard, E. (2016) Early days, but apple pay struggles outside U.S. Available at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-apple-pay-idUKKCN0YN61U (Accessed: 17 June 2016).

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No contactless card? That’ll be 10p extra – the Subway charging people MORE to use Chip and PIN

After a surprised customer in Bristol was informed paying by chip and PIN would cost 10p MORE than using a contactless card, we take a look at your rights.

Contactless payments let you buy goods of up to £30 just by waving your card, wristband, phone or any other contactless device by the reader in the shop.

But they also come with some pretty serious security risks – meaning many people are choosing to leave theirs at home or not upgrade.

Others simply have cards that aren’t enabled yet – with many of these not set to be replaced for some years – meaning they couldn’t pay with contactless if they wanted to.

None of this would be a problem, except now some people are charging customers MORE to use a chip and PIN terminal – even though the card companies charge the same amount.

Bill was faced with this charge at Subway in Brislington, Bristol, where customers were being asked to pay 10p more for using a debit card that wasn’t contactless.

He’s not the only one to be charged.

Is that even allowed?

Contactless debit and credit cards

In Bill’s case we know that his card issuer, Visa, charges exactly the same amount in fees for contactless and Chip and PIN transactions- but there’s no reason the retailer can’t impose its own fees.

“All SUBWAY® stores are independently owned and operated by franchisees, who are independent business owners,” Subway told Mirror Money.

“On this occasion the franchisee for the Brislington store has opted to enact a debit card charge and has placed a sign at the till point making customers aware of this.”

The government only bans “excessive” card surcharges and there are a number of legitimate reasons shops could impose small ones.

Firstly, retailer’s own banks charge a fee to process card transactions – the UK cards association told Mirror Money – while fees for hiring terminals might also be different for chip and PIN and contactless cards.

As these are set between the shop and its bank, they could easily vary for different types of transactions.

There could also be a standard fee that the shop chooses to waive for contactless card transactions, but not Chip and PIN, as they are quicker and let the shop serve more customers.

Will it spread?

A customer holds a 10 pound British banknote, next to a Verifone Systems
Putting in your PIN could cost you

Card transactions cost retailers, although this has been capped at an average of 0.2% (2p per £10) for debit cards and 0.3% (3p per £10) for credit cards in the EU.

However, these are generally waived for customers by big stores – and fees only imposed in smaller shops for transactions below a certain level.

But with contactless payments so much quicker, the idea of charging people an additional fee for using Chip and PIN to compensate for the extra time it takes to pay is something that might well catch on.

If you’re looking to avoid being charged for not having a card, contact your bank or building society and they should be able to issue you a contactless enabled debit card.

If you’re worried about security on this card, we’ve got a full breakdown on how to stop cards being read from your wallet or purse here.


Andrews, J. (2015) No contactless card? That’ll be 10p extra at this shop. Available at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/no-contactless-card-thatll-10p-7063341 (Accessed: 10 June 2016).


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Payment card data attacks worry over half of UK and US businesses

Well over half (60 percent) of US and 52 percent of UK enterprises feel that an attack on payment card data is likely or more than likely.

Semafone conducted a survey during the summer of 2015 on the attitudes and practices of UK and US payments professionals. Contact centres have seen to decrease in payments conducted over the phone. Volume of payments made over the phone have increased or remained the same during the last two years according to 87 percent of UK respondents and 84 percent of US.

Eighty three percent of all respondents (79 percent of US and 86 percent of UK) felt that loss of customers or brand damage would be the worst effects of a payment card data breach. Crisis communication plans have been put into place in case of a payment card data breach for 68 percent of UK respondents and 51 percent of US.

Contact centres don’t seem to be prepared for possible attacks as only 46 percent of respondents said that they maintain a full set of Payment Card Industry (PCI) controls to lower the risk of an attack. Eighty one percent of respondents said that they ask their customers to say their card details out loud on the phone.

“Both card and telephone fraud are on the increase in the US and the UK, but it’s clear that there is more work to be done to put the right security measures in place. It’s good to see that organisations are waking up to the threat of attack and recognising the reputational damage a breach can bring, but we all need to move faster if we want to avoid more large-scale incidents,” said Tim Critchley, CEO of Semafone.


Payment card data attacks worry over half of UK and US businesses (2016) Available at: http://www.scmagazine.com/payment-card-data-attacks-worry-over-half-of-uk-and-us-businesses/article/464384/ (Accessed: 10 June 2016).

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Restaurant where cash is off the menu: Tossed will become first chain to only accept payments by card or on mobile apps

A restaurant has opened which won’t take your order, and won’t take your cash.

High street food chain Tossed has become the first in the UK to stop accepting coins or notes and only take payments by credit or debit cards, or contactless methods such as Apple Pay.

Two new outlets in central London will not only refuse cash payments, but they will also require customers to place their orders using self-service kiosks – akin to those in supermarkets.

The new systems will replace manned tills entirely, and will invite customers to choose their food using touch-screen menus.

The modernised outlets will have 15 self-service kiosks and customers will be able to pick food up from a collection point, whether they have ordered in-store or through Tossed’s website or mobile phone app.

Tossed, which specialises in healthy salads and wraps, said its goal was to make the customer experience slicker and free-up staff to make fresh meals.

It is also seeking to remove paper from its shops in a bid to be more environmentally friendly.

Vincent McKevitt, founder of Tossed, said: ‘Most operators face speed and capacity issues at lunchtime, but ours are intensified because we make our food fresh-to-order and most guests like to customise their food to suit their health and taste requirements.

Tossed plans to roll out the cashless self-service model to all of its 26 restaurants across the UK

Tossed plans to roll out the cashless self-service model to all of its 26 restaurants across the UK

‘This unique solution allows our team to focus their energy on our speed of production.

‘Guest feedback from the trials has been very positive: people like to be able browse in their own time and customise what they eat, completing a great experience with tasty, bespoke, healthy food, served quickly.’

Tossed plans to roll out the cashless self-service model to all of its 26 restaurants.


Reporter, E.D.C. (2016) Tossed will become first chain to only accept card or mobile payment. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3490675/Restaurant-cash-menu-Tossed-chain-accept-payments-card-mobile-apps.html (Accessed: 10 June 2016).

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iZettle’s boss is on a mission to kill cash

iZettle’s black card terminals are letting Shoreditch coffee houses and sole traders ditch cash.

“Getting rid of hardware, I think that’s the future of payments.”

That’s a bold claim, especially from a man whose business has, until recently, revolved around building the card readers favoured by quirky cafes and sole traders.

Jacob de Geer co-founded iZettle in Stockholm in 2010, at a time when card payments were exploding in popularity across Europe.

As we increasingly moved away from cash to card, small shops and retailers struggled to take card payments without signing long onerous contracts or paying huge fees to banks and payments companies more interested in serving large supermarkets.

“What we saw is that the need for taking cards was enormous, but what we realised is that many of the smaller merchants were reluctant to adopt this new technology, whether that was from a fear of the upfront costs or overheads on their business,” de Geer told The Memo.

Today if you’ve been into an independent coffee shop, bike store or had a handyman come out to your house, chances are you might have been handed one of iZettle’s card reader devices to pay with.

That’s because iZettle doesn’t charge monthly subscription fees or set-up costs for these small retailers to take card payments, it’s just a free (or cheap) iZettle terminal and then a small transaction fee.

A contactless country

It’s not just quirky coffee shops, in the UK with London’s black cabs being ordered to start accepting card payments by October, many cabbies are looking at iZettle as the quickest, easiest way to achieve this.

iZettle has even put together a TfL-approved contactless card payment bundle for drivers to take card payments.

De Geer says the UK is by far iZettle’s fastest-growing market, outstripping even the company’s home market.

“The UK is even more advanced than Sweden, especially when it comes to contactless. Still in Sweden you can’t find contactless cards being issued by banks.”

Indeed Brits have swarmed to using contactless. In March we spent a combined £1.5bn with contactless, an all-time record, just four months after we passed the previous monthly record of £1bn with contactless.

De Geer says Britain has now reached a contactless “inflection point” where the sheer momentum of contactless cards and shops accepting contactless are rapidly accelerating, part of the reason iZettle has grown so quickly in the UK.

But building new card readers and hardware isn’t de Geer’s ultimate goal, iZettle is on a mission to move beyond payments.

“Getting rid of hardware, I think that’s the future of payments.”

iZettle lets small businesses take card payments across 12 countries.

iZettle lets small businesses take card payments across 12 countries.

The next lenders

Last year de Geer raised €60m in funding and announced an expansion of iZettle to include cash advances for its customers.

Now your favourite small coffee shop can borrow against its sales history and use the money to invest in higher quality coffee beans, hiring new baristas or even a opening a new store.

Since the financial crisis it’s this kind of borrowing that traditional banks have been reluctant to offer, leaving these small companies and sole traders in difficulty, now a host of new lenders are springing up to serve this market.

If small businesses borrowing against their sales history sounds familiar, it could be because PayPal, Amazon and Square (iZettle’s US rival) all began offering similar services over the past year.

But that’s not something that worries de Geer.

“There will be plenty of players in this space, SMEs have been painfully underserved.”

“I think we have one of the strongest merchant acquiring machines going in the offline space [with iZettle’s payment terminals attracting new retailers who might go on to borrow from iZettle], we’re much stronger than PayPal,” he says.

Still, PayPal and Amazon have both had long head-starts in lending to small businesses, and neither has claimed to have seen much success in the space.

Today de Geer is confident iZettle can do better.


IZettle’s boss is on a mission to kill cash (2016) Available at: http://www.thememo.com/2016/05/23/izettles-jacob-de-geer-is-on-a-mission-to-kill-cash/ (Accessed: 10 June 2016).

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A quarter of UK consumers refuse to shop cash-only

Consumers in the UK are reducing their cash use, with a quarter of shoppers claiming to avoid stores that don’t accept payment cards.

A quarter of UK consumers will avoid shopping in stores that only accept payment by cash, according to research.

A study by payments firm Worldpay found 25% of consumers would choose not to go in shops that do not take card payments, and a third of shoppers will only use cash if completely necessary.

The younger generation are the drivers of the cashless trend, with 60% of people aged 24 to 34 stating they would prefer not to carry cash.

Dave Hobday, UK managing director at Worldpay said: “For today’s digitally driven shoppers, cash has become a relic. It’s easy to see why that’s the case, as innovations like contactless and mobile payments continue to raise the bar in terms of speed, simplicity and convenience.”

Worldpay’s research found this attitude to card payments may damage smaller retailers, and estimated that 60,000 small retailers across the UK make card payments difficult for consumers.

One in 10 small retailers claimed not to offer card payments for customers, and of those who do offer card payments, 10% imposed a minimum spending threshold on payments made by card.

Younger shoppers are highly influenced by what they view and share online, and many will choose to shop on their mobile devices even after or during a visit to a physical store.

Consumers have not only abandoned cash, but are increasingly turning to contactless and mobile payments rather than traditional chip-and-PIN methods.

This need for a “seamless shopping experience” is forcing both retailers and payments providers to be more flexible with the services they provide.

But Worldpay’s research found only 20% of small independent retailers offered the ability to provide click-and-collect style services where customers could order online and pay in store or vice-versa. To combat this lack of digital flexibility, Worldpay has launched an awareness campaign dubbed iStreet to help small retailers become more digitally savvy.

Hobday said: “Consumers take for granted the ability to flit between in-store and online channels – and they expect retailers to provide the same flexibility, regardless of their size. Small and independent retailers [need help to] embrace technology to enable them to offer the type of experience that modern consumers expect and which has, until now, largely been the preserve of larger high-street stores.”


McDonald, C. (2016) A quarter of UK consumers refuse to shop cash-only. Available at: http://www.computerweekly.com/news/450297931/A-quarter-of-UK-consumers-refuse-to-shop-cash-only (Accessed: 8 June 2016).