Access All Areas

Issue 179 | 4 October 2021

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Digital Payments

Join me on Wednesday 6th October at 11am at Access All Areas, The Access Group’s virtual event next week, where I’ll be talking through how the pandemic has accelerated digital and how to optimise your payments for this new landscape and grow your revenue.

Sign up here: Access All Areas - Digital Payments


What’s the Chase by Tanya Thourani

Tanya Thourani has been reflecting on Chase’s entry into the UK’s current account banking marketplace:

Will you value a modern offering from an established financial institution or a more established offering from a modern institution?

Last month, JPMC launched a digital retail bank in the U.K, challenging the British rivals (Neo + Incumbents) on their home turf.

In UK, Digital banking has become mainstream, so why one more digital bank with thin margins and tough competition?

I wonder if the stability and trustworthiness of the banking provider remains a key consideration for consumers and is the driving force behind this launch....

Moreover, this has definitely heaped pressure on British incumbents such as Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest, and HSBC who are already battling low interest rates and upstart digital rivals.

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Bacs Direct Debit and Direct Credit

An exert from Northey Point’s latest Payments Tracker.

In the 12 months to the end of August 2021:

  • Bacs Direct Credit volumes have decreased by 2% (12 months to July decreased by 3%)

  • Bacs Direct Debit volumes have increased by 2% (12 months to July increased by 1%)

  • Total Bacs volumes have increased by 1% (12 months to July unchanged)

  • Bacs Direct Credit values have increased by 4% (12 months to July 3%)

  • Bacs Direct Debit values have increased by 1% (12 months to July decreased by 1%)

  • Total Bacs values have increased by 3% (12 months to July increased by 2%)

Volumes for Bacs Direct Credits in August were again just behind 2020 although with a small recovery seen reducing the year on year fall in volumes from 3% for the year to July 2021, when compared to the 12 months ending July 2020, to 2% for the year to August 2021, again when compared to the 12 months ending August 2020.

The growth in Direct Debit volumes year on year has continued though, with an increase of 2% recorded for the year to August 2021. As Direct Debits account for 70% of Bacs payment volumes, this increase has contributed to the overall growth now recorded in Bacs volumes of 1% for this period.

The growth in the value of both Bacs Direct Credits and Direct Debits continues contributing to a 3% growth overall for the year ending August 2021, when compared with the previous 12 months ending August 2020. Assuming the current easing of restrictions continues we would expect to see continued recovery throughout the remainder of this year.

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Simpler, safer & more empowering….

How would you describe Request to Pay in 50 words?

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Agency Banking: Holding customers back

Andrew Smith over at Clear Bank has been writing about the UK’s Agency Banking arrangements.

Andrew writes:

If you are new to the term “agency banking” then think of it simply as this, most banks are actually customers of bigger banks. The bigger banks hold their bank customers funds for them, and they will provide access to payment systems like Faster Payments, Bacs and CHAPS. Other services maybe provided too, but for the majority of agency banking customers, this is the bread and butter stuff.

Now, because there are few banks that can clear and settle transactions for themselves, and that number varies between payment systems, most financial service providers in the UK rely on a few of these agency banking providers, of which there is only 5.

Andrew’s article considers:

  • Service levels and the lack of real-time

  • Transaction costs

  • Competition, the conflict of interest

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Banks trial emergency hotline for APP fraud

UK banks are to establish an emergency hotline to protect customers from APP fraudsters posing as bank staff.

Running as a one-year pilot trial, the 159 hotline is supported by Barclays, Lloyds, NatWest, Santander and Starling Bank, covering 70% of all UK primary account holders.

Operated by bank and telco-funded body Stop Scams UK, the roll call of organisations involved also include the majority of the UK's main telecommns networks.

The move comes amid rising panic about an epidemic of authorised push payments fraud, in which customers are tricked into revealing security details by scammers posing as authority figures. The latest figues from UK Finance show losses to APP fraud topped card fraud for the first time in H1 2021.

The banking industry body recorded a 71% increase in APP fraud to £355.3 million during the first half of 2021, compared to £261.7 million in losses from card crime.

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Monzo withdraws US banking licence application

Monzo has withdrawn its application for a U.S. banking license following discussions with regulators.

Monzo reportedly started to apply for a U.S. banking license in April last year as part of an effort to expand its userbase, but the talks with the regulator do not appear to have gone well.

“Following recent engagement with the OCC, we’ve decided to withdraw our banking license application for our U.S. start-up,” the Monzo spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC.

“While this isn’t the outcome we initially set out to achieve, this allows us to build and scale our early-stage product offer in the U.S. through existing partners and invest further in the U.K. We have big ambitions for Monzo U.S. There are many routes to market we’re exploring that have been successful for other market entrants who are now major players.”

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Current Account Switching

Watch out for the latest Current Account Switching Service campaign. Having been accountable for CASS at launch and for its first few years I still get a buzz from the great achievements (and great adverts).


In brief


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Mike