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News Article

Banking customers to benefit from faster payments

Published 3 January 2012 by

The introduction of a new one-day payment rule is set to put an end to the inconsistency in the time it takes for UK banking customers to transfer money from one account to another, the Financial Times reports.

Many people have had to wait for up to three days for transferred payments to arrive in their bank accounts - despite banks being able to move money in just a matter of hours since 2008.

The changes, which were brought into effect from January 1st, mean that over 15 million payments every month are expected to be made through faster payments - which take just one working day to arrive in the recipient's account.

Banks were given until 2012 to implement the new one-day payment timescale, known as 'D+1'. It's part of European legislation introduced over two years ago, designed to 'harmonise' payment services across Europe, and make it easier for customers to transfer payments across countries.

Faster payments are being roundly welcomed - particularly in the UK, where the payments system has been the subject of criticism. Back in 2000, the Cruickshank Report, commissioned by the Treasury, revealed that privately controlled payment transfers between banks were expensive, time-consuming and harmed competition.

In light of the report, The Payments Council, an industry body, was tasked with speeding up the payments system. Measures included launching the faster payments service to process online, phone and standing order money transfers for customers in 'near real-time'.

However, some banks have been criticised for not taking up the initiative. Kevin Brown, chairman of the Faster Payments Scheme, commented that he is keen to 'drive greater usage' in 2012, and suggested that future services such as mobile payments could be built from the existing faster payments model.