Faster payments one year on: could do betterSame-day transfers between UK banks one year old

27 May 2009

APACS has marked the first anniversary of the Faster Payments Scheme (FPS) with the announcement that over 180 million payments have been processed.

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Many gardeners remove snails by hand at night

APACS also announced, however, that awareness levels were still only 55%, and that fewer than half of all standing order payments are being sent using the new system.

Better but not good enough

FPS allows electronic transfers between banks to be processed the same day, and represents a vast improvement on the old BACS system where transfers take 3 working days. While Which? is pleased that the new system is being rolled out, it’s still far behind schedule and is still confusing customers.

Our own research in January found that some of the biggest banks such as Abbey hadn’t rolled out the system at all and that others only allowed faster payments on some types of transfers. Lloyds TSB, for instance, doesn’t accept faster payments made via internet banking, and Nationwide only uses FPS for payments up to £10.

We also found that 65% of respondents didn’t know whether their provider had introduced FPS, and that 1 in 8 respondents had missed a payment deadline due to delays with the new scheme.

OFT faster payments taskforce

Which? was a member of the taskforce led by the Office of Fair Trading that included 13 of the UK’s largest banks that agreed to implement FPS. But the initial deadline was significantly delayed, and when it was finally rolled out, it wasn’t fully implemented.

Which? faster payments expert, Nicolas Frankcom said: 'It's hugely disappointing that we’re a year down the road and the Faster Payments Scheme still isn’t fully rolled out.

'Consumers continue to be confused about which banks do and which don’t use FPS, so the industry needs to get its act together.

'If you want to make a payment as quickly as possible check whether your bank uses FPS, and use the APACS sort code checker to see if the destination bank can receive faster payments. If you’re paying a bill or paying off your credit card check for timescales on the bill to see when you need to make your payment.'

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