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Time is Money: A Millennial View of UK Faster Payments’ 10th Anniversary

millennial viewpoint UK faster payments

As a millennial, I’ve often been the butt of jokes of those a little bit older than I am (whether colleagues or my own family). One of the clichés perpetuated is that we are constantly glued to our smartphones: In a way that’s correct, but misses an important point. As a young millennial professional, the most important thing to me is TIME. And that’s the reason my phone plays a crucial role in my life – much to the annoyance of my girlfriend and family. It means I can do things on the move, which in turn makes my life a whole lot easier.

Take this this example: Recently I landed in Miami (for a two-week multi-city trip) only to be notified that I could get travel insurance for 99p a day, which was undeniably handy as I had forgotten to get it before I left… and I was due to spend time with Mark and Dan, two colleagues and high risk companions!

 

Navigating a busy life with Faster Payments

I have been familiar with Faster Payments ever since I entered the UK workforce about 10 years ago, and have been able to move money around on a regular basis (The UK Faster Payments scheme celebrates its 10th anniversary this year). Faster Payments allow me to navigate a busy life, or at least my poor planning. There’s nothing worse than having to scrabble through your football kit to try and find the coins to pay for your five-a-side or route through your golf stuff to pay your portion of the round. Or going out for dinner with friends only to discover the restaurant only takes cash.

Faster Payments, and related new services like Zapp or Pingit, mean I can get on with the things I enjoy and want to spend time on, as opposed to wondering whether the money I put in my bag has vanished (normally my girlfriend has needed it, and taken it upon herself to remove it… but that’s another story).

As a consumer and millennial who happens to work in payments, I still think there’s a significant amount of progress still to be made. The real impact of Faster Payments is just starting to be felt and I’m looking forward to the next ten years.

Here are my top four areas that need sorting out (in my humble millennial opinion):

Loyalty

Loyalty is one of the key areas that will benefit from the proliferation of real-time payments. As immediate payments are cheaper, I would expect the savings businesses make to be passed onto me, the consumer. I would like to see tailored offers from retailers with whom I frequently spend money, encouraging me to spend even more money (spoiler alert: I have a phone and I would love to receive push notifications for offers on goods using beacons).

Faster Payments coupled with Open Banking

The fact that faster payments coupled with Open Banking will enable new third-party providers to enter the market can only be a good thing for consumers. Our digital identity will be at the heart of such new services, which over time could fundamentally change the relationship between consumers, banks and new services providers. I am excited about some of the services that have already been launched, whether it’s the NatWest payment by account service or the HSBC app, and I look forward to what’s coming next.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Faster Payments go hand in hand

Likewise, with the rise of the IoT, I expect to be able to remove the need to spend time traipsing down to the shops or going online to buy food (we ran out of ketchup on Saturday – there was a mutiny in the house, which was compounded when the supermarket took it upon themselves to substitute the brand we requested).

Security is still a top issue

Another issue I expect to be resolved in the coming years is the friction of making immediate payments in a face-to-face environment. For example, some UK retailers are offering immediate payment capabilities, but at present, the cashiers are still in learning mode, which slows down the process.

I expect this to be sorted in the coming years through better education of consumers and by further enhancement of mobile phone technology. For example, facial recognition could play a much bigger role in the ‘age of the selfie’ generation and I think blinking at your phone is quicker than getting out your loyalty card and swiping it and then putting in your pin at a payment terminal. Security has long been a challenge when it comes to immediate payments, but I believe that facial technology will play a big role in solving that issue.

So, there we go, faster payments have come a long way since they were first introduced in the UK a decade ago, but we should be even more excited about the next 5-10 years as faster payments will help me to turn up to dinner on time.