The mobile banking revolution in the UK has reached its latest chapter today after a number of the countryís largest banks made the new Paym mobile payment technology available to their customers that will enable them able to undertake day-day banking by simply using their phone number.
Account holders with banking giants Barclays, Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Halifax, Lloyds, Santander and TSB will now be able to utilise the revolutionary service which allows individuals to make and receive payments by simply utilising their phone number, without having to part with any banking information about themselves such as their account number or sort code.
Instead, all bank account holders will have to do is share their phone number via the app, and will then be able to receive and make monetary transfers via the payments section of the app.
Users will simply have to register their phone number with the bank that services them, and will then be free to make payments to anyone else registered on the Paym app by selecting their number and pressing ëconfirm recipientí and clicking ësendí.
The maximum daily transfer that one person can make on their mobile phones is £250, though certain banks offer their customers a higher rate on request. Moreover, users of the app will receive transferred cash irrespective of whether their phone is on or off, as the mobile device simply functions as a transfer mechanism.
It is thought that a monumental 30 million bank customers are set to benefit from the new technology, though a further 20 million UK account holders are expected to have to wait until 2015 to be able to use the service, with smaller banks and a number of building societies yet to fully adopt the system.
It has been estimated that over 350,000 people have already registered for the app, with the Payments Council, the organisation responsible for the apps launch, forecasting that over 1 billion payments would have been made via the app by 2018 as account holders begin to frequently utilise the service to make payments to privately paid employees such as plumbers, carpenters and babysitters.
Despite the technology being widely available from today, account holders with RBS, NatWest, First Direct and Ulster Bank will have to wait till later this year in order to utilise the service.
And customers of Nationwide will have till wait till next year in order to use the technology, whilst holders of accounts with the Metro Bank, Yorkshire Bank and other smaller building societies are yet to be given a date for when they can begin to use the system.
RBS, who have experienced a number of technological computer difficulties over the past 12 months, have argued that they have delayed their own implementation of the service in order to optimise their computing system and prevent problems occurring in the future.
"We are prioritising the volume of system changes we are making to ensure we can deliver the best service to our customers," said an RBS and NatWest spokesperson.
However, potential technical issues are not the only problem that the new scheme is facing, with data from polling company Consumer Intelligence suggesting that only 25% of customers will utilise the service due to underlying apprehension toward the security of the app.
Research by Consumer Intelligence, a surveying organisation, found that a quarter of bank account holders had signalled that they would utilise the new app, which rose to a substantially higher 39% for adults aged between 18 and 34. However, almost 50% dismissed the notion of using the service, citing security apprehensions as the primary factor behind their decision.
"It's clear that the banking industry has a job to do educate many of them that mobile payments are a safe and consumer-friendly development," said David Black of Consumer Intelligence.
Other consultants have advised users of the App to proceed with caution when making payments and to watch the process carefully.
"They will need to be vigilant and monitor their accounts to make sure that there is no suspicious activity, as with every advance in banking technology comes a new fraud risk," said Gabriel Hopkins of the from the data consultancy FICO.
"Fraud is like a balloon - if you squeeze it in one place, it bulges somewhere else - so banks need to stay alert and have the highest level of mobile fraud protection for customers," he said.
However, the Payments Council, have argued that the scheme is entirely safe and secure, highlighting that users of the app will still need to log into their account when attempting to make transfers, and this will require the insertion of a password.
Paym is a "safe and easy option", said Adrian Kamellard, the chief executive of the Payments Council.