Immediate Payments or the Faster Payments Service

Immediate Payments or Faster Payments is the only European Union (EU, EC), EU single market, European Economic Area (EEA) or United Kingdom UK payment system available day and night, 365 days per year, supporting the demands of personal and business customers, ensuring that immediate payment is the best choice for moving money at any time, simply, quickly and reliably.

A product developed by ACI Worldwide Payment Systems within the BASE24-eps.

The Faster Payments Service (FPS) is a person-to-person payments network in the EU, EC, EU single market, EEA or UK designed for high volume, low value payments between personal and business account holders at participating banks.

The "faster" part of the name refers to the reduction in transfer time from 3 days to "immediate" - a huge improvement on the previous standard for low value payments.

Immediate Payments or Faster Payments

Immediate Payments is a programme of work undertaken by the Faster Payments Scheme, to provide information on the access options available to join Faster Payments either directly or indirectly.

Information about the types of participation, access options, settlement requirements can be found below.

The Immediate Payments or Faster Payments Scheme has the following objectives:

"To drive a consistent and trusted experience for end customers across all directly and indirectly connected Payment Service Providers (PSPs) using the Faster Payments Service."

This objective is consistent with a key Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) objective, which has been set down as:

"To review access to UK payment systems holistically, i.e. by referring to 'Access' as the ability of ALL payment service providers to use the services provided by payment systems to enable the transfer of funds."

Immediate Payment Flow Schematic

The schematic below shows the immediate payment routing of a typical Faster Payment Services that has been originated by Hub Member Bank A's customer sender to Hub Member Bank B's customer receiver as well as the responses/message flows supporting the underlying Faster Payment request.

Immediate payments flow schmatic

How To Join Faster Payments Scheme?

How to join the Faster Payments Scheme Company (FPSC) as a Hub Direct Member. The requirements to join the Faster Payments Scheme, could depends on the following eligibility Criteria below:

  • Be able to comply on a continuous basis (i.e. 24/7) with the technical and operational requirements of the system become a member of the Company

  • Be an Authorised Payment Services Provider (PSP) under the Payment Services Regulations of Bank of England BofE or European Central Bank ECB

  • Commit to pay any additional legal costs incurred by FPSC with regard to your Hub membership

  • Have, or be eligible to hold at least one unique sort code

  • Hold a Sterling Settlement Account at the BofE or ECB or be able to use a Euro/Sterling Settlement Account held by a Group Company at BofE/ECB

  • Hub Direct Member connects directly to the Faster Payments Central Infrastructure (FPS CI) to send and receive Faster Payments from other directly connected PSP's

  • Member must operate continuous 24/7 technical operations with 100% availability

  • Provide a legal opinion confirming that Scheme agreements are legally binding and enforceable on you (applicable for non-European overseas entities)

  • Validly execute and remain party to all FPSC legal agreements

  • Whilst there is no joining fee to join FPSC itself, a Hub Direct Member must pay the fees charged by transaction processing supplier to support the technical implementation, testing and on-going connectivity with the central infrastructure.

Hub Direct Member to meet eligibility criteria to become a full member of FPS i.e. Member to have or obtain the relevant Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Banking Licence and hold a settlement/reserve collateralisation account with the BofE or ECB.

Immediate payments submitted into the FPS CI typically receive a response within seconds, therefore the Hub Direct Member would be required to comply with the real-time nature of the messaging flows.

A Direct Member has the option to offer additional services to its clients such as Direct Agency and Direct Corporate Access (DCA)

Immediate Payments Access Options

There are a number of ways for you to connect to Immediate Payments (or Faster Payments) either directly on indirectly.

In addition to the different immediate payments options outlined here, there are also a number of alternative technical solutions available commercially to enable you to participate in Faster Payments.

This section provides the options available in connecting to Faster Payments.

  • Direct Membership - Enables a PSP to connect directly into the Faster Payments Central Infrastructure to send and receive Faster Payments.

    Directly connected members also perform their own settlement with the Bank of England.

  • Direct Agency - As above, this option allows a PSP to connect directly into the Faster Payments Central Infrastructure via a sponsoring member that offer Direct Agency services.

    The sponsoring member will also perform Bank of England settlement on your behalf.

  • Indirect Agency - This option enables a PSP to connect via the sponsoring members own indirect agency offering that is connected to the central infrastructure on your behalf.

    The sponsoring member will be able to provide various connectivity/service options in order for you to connect to that sponsoring member to send and receive Faster Payments as well as it performing Bank of England Settlement on your behalf.

  • File Input Module (FIM) - FIM is aimed at PSP's that require a file based solution to submit Faster Payments directly into the Central Infrastructure under sponsorship of a Member offering FIM services.

    FIM payment files may contain payments from more than one originating customer account.

Advantages of Immediate Payments
(Costs and Benefits of Faster Payment Services)

There are huge costs and benefits advantage of having immediate payments infrastructure which reflects a lots of significant benefits of immediate payments can deliver to end-users or end users.

More costs and benefits solutions in accessing the Faster Payments Service as a Hub Direct Member.

Find below (but not limited to) are some of the benefits and savings you will enjoy when becoming a Hub Direct Member:

  • Access to industry-wide expertise through the Scheme's committees

  • Contribute to making Immediate Payments (or Faster Payments) become an enhanced, more ubiquitous service proposition across the industry

  • Direct participation in the service removes dependency on a sponsor bank

  • Faster Payments (or Immediate Payments) members don't need to rely upon using Faster Payments services from other banks (such as settlement for Direct Agencies)

  • Members have a seat on the Immediate Payments (or Faster Payments) Board, directly engaging on the strategic direction of the Company

  • Real-time payment and receipt capability for customers

Sponsor Banks
(Banks in the Faster Payment Scheme)

The following sponsor banks or banks in the faster payment scheme which can offer/support the Faster Payments services are:

  • Barclays
  • Citibank
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds
  • RBS
  • Santander

Faster Payments currently has 11 participants who connect directly to the service, while a further 400 PSPs access the service indirectly through sponsor banks.

Vocalink Faster Payments Service (FPS) and Immediate Payments

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