The UK Payments Council’s new mobile payment initiative, Paym, has signed up half a million customers in its first month of operation. The system, which is being supported by all major high street banks (although a few, including NatWest and Nationwide, have yet to roll it out) allows users to transfer up to £250 using only a recipient’s mobile phone number, instead of the traditional bank account number and sort code.

Paym is currently available to around 30 million UK account holders, and will open up to everyone as the remaining UK banks join the scheme later this year and in early 2015.

The Payments Council told industry website NFC World that they are looking to expand the scheme to allow payments based on email addresses.

“In terms of future plans for Paym, we are focusing on payments between friends, family and small traders as the core use for the service and getting this bit right first.

“It is true to say that [Paym] is a powerful and adaptable proposition. Part of the Payments Council’s role is to keep the UK’s payment systems, including Paym, under review to ensure we have innovative payment systems that work for all types of customers, both now and in the future.

“The evolution of Paym will be based on what customers want, as well as innovation in the competitive space from the banks and building societies that are offering the service to their customers.”

The Paym system operates as an additional information layer on top of the UK’s banking infrastructure, allowing a unique identifier (a mobile phone number) to be tied to a bank account to route payments. In theory adding a second unique identifier (an email address) would be relatively straightforward – and give the UK’s personal and small business banking customers yet another way to accept payments.

Photo by Johan Larsson