Mobile payments set to start in 2014

January 17, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Our mobile phones are the thing we are least likely to leave at home, whether we use them to keep in touch, surf the internet or take photos. In just over a year, however, they will have yet another use. In spring 2014 it will be as easy to make a payment from a mobile phone to an individual or business as it is to send a text, and the good news is that 90% of us with current accounts will have this facility.

Currently eight financial institutions have signed up to the process including the large high street banks and other less well known institutions such as the Cumberland Building Society. Others representing a minority of account holders are still in discussions.

Early next year banks will contact their customers giving them the chance to register their mobile phone number and details of the account to which they want to be linked. Full details of what else the customer has to do and when exactly the service will be available will also be provided in due course.

Last year over 5,000 people took part in research carried out by the Payments Council, two thirds of whom were smartphone users, and gave it a big thumbs-up. Between now and next spring, financial institutions will be carrying out work on speed of service, security and other technical issues.

There will be no need to share account details, but customers are nevertheless bound to be concerned over security; it is likely that a passcode, PIN or similar safeguard will be required to make a payment. Banks will also have the ability to freeze an account remotely if they suspect misuse.

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Thousands of consumers desert high street banks

January 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm

According to UK not for profit organisation Move Your Money, customers are deserting high street banks in their droves, and the reason? The seemingly never-ending series of ethical scandals that have rocked the reputation of the ‘big five’ – Barclays, HSBC, Santander, RBS group and the Lloyds group. Last year’s Libor rigging scandal was just the most recent in a long line of banking scandals, which began in 2007 with the sub-prime mortgage fiasco and the sparking of the global financial crisis.

Credit Unions, Cooperatives and Ethical banks are experiencing a boost in interest meanwhile. Could this be grass root sentiment turned into action by an increasingly politicised population? Indeed the facts seem to point this way. Take the fact that more than 70,000 new customers signed up for Building Society accounts last year, hot on the heels of the Barclays’ Libor rigging scandal. Again, Ethical banking institutions Triodos, The Ethical Bank and Ecology report that they have gained from the big five’s losses but perhaps no-one more than the Cooperative bank which is set to take over more than 600 Lloyds branches in 2013. In stark contrast to the banking practices to which we have become all too accustomed, The Cooperative bank has been awarded a ‘best-buy’ by The Ethical Consumer website for exemplary policies which include campaigning on green issues and those concerning international development and human rights.

If you are among those who wish to switch your money to more ethical providers then there are a number of websites dedicated to helping you do exactly that. Which has an excellent guide on moving your money to a better bank account. Move Your Money is a UK not for profit campaign designed to help jaded banking customers move to other financial institutions, via their easy to use website.

If this banking crisis has taught us anything, it’s that as end-consumers we may not make the policies but we sure pay the price. For this reason alone it may be better to move to a mutual where you will feel the effects of the good banking practices, not just the bad.

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