British banks launch Paym payments service

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British consumers will be able to make payments to friends and family thanks to a new secure service that only requires a banking app and the recipient's phone number.

Paym was unveiled this week by the Payments Council and launches formally from 29 April. Consumers register their current account on the paym.co.uk website or through their participating bank or building society. When they wish to make a payment to someone in their contacts list, they can just select them when prompted in their bank's app, rather than by having to key in the person's sort code and account number.

Eight banks have signed up to the scheme, with Danske Bank joining from 25 April and further banks to follow into 2015. The Payments Council estimates informal lending accounts for more than €15 billion each year, or €6 per week for every Briton. 

Adrian Kamellard, CEO of the Payments Council, said: "Our IOU research suggests that every adult in the UK is lending just under £5 per week to someone they know. Small sums like this soon add up so it’s great that Paym will give people a new option of quickly and securely paying someone back – whether it’s for lunch, a train ticket or just a cup of tea."

UK operators are split about offering m-payment services for their customers. EE revamped its legacy Orange m-payments scheme last year to a new service called Cash on Tap. Vodafone is expected to bring its mobile wallet to the UK imminently after it went live in Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. O2 has put its mobile wallet plans on ice after mothballing its O2 Wallet service last year.