1. ITV Report

Phone cash transfers to be made 'as easy as texting'

The scheme had originally been planned to launch at the end of last year. Photo: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

People will be able to transfer cash to friends and businesses as easily as texting next year under a new industry-wide scheme signed up to by Britain's leading banks.

From spring 2014, phone users will be able to make secure payments without needing to know sort code and account numbers, the Payments Council has said.

Customers will register for the service through their own bank, without having to share their details with anyone else.

The banks signed up to the scheme are Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Danske Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Metro Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Santander. Together they represent 90% of UK current accounts.

Phone users will be able to transfer cash at the push of a few buttons. Credit: Daniel Hambury/EMPICS Sport

The scheme had been planned to launch by the end of last year, but has been pushed back until 2014 by the Payments Council while it reaches the widest possible audience.

A central database enabling banks to securely store customers' mobile numbers and link them to their account details was created in December.

The Payments Council, which is still to set rules about minimum service standards and technical requirements for the service, said the project is the first "with the potential to link up every bank account in the country with a mobile number".

Adrian Kamellard, chief executive of the council, said:

This new service will offer a simple, secure way to split a bill for dinner, receive money from a friend or pay a tradesman without needing to remember or share account details.

A cap is expected to be set on the maximum amount of money that can be transferred in one go, which is likely to be influenced by the individual banks and building societies.

Barclays already has a similar scheme in place called Pingit, which has been downloaded more than 1.3 million times since its launch in February and is available to customers of all UK banks and building societies. Barclays said that 13% of users are not its own customers.

The bank said it is "fully supportive" of the Payments Council's initiative, which will supplement its existing service.

The Payments Council said the service will be secure and as a minimum, a passcode or similar security feature will be needed to authorise payments. Banks will also be able to remotely disable an account if they suspect misuse.

The service will move money directly between accounts using the established Faster Payments service, which processed more than 800 million online and phone banking payments last year, and the Link network, which dealt with 3.1 billion real-time ATM withdrawals in 2012.