FastPay, NatWest’s new person-to-person (P2P) payment service, allows anyone with Internet access and an email address or mobile phone to send and receive payments. It’s only the UK’s second bank-based P2P offering, and European P2P volumes look set to reach E770 million by the end of 2002 – suggesting NatWest’s move is a wise one.
NatWest has become the second bank in the UK to launch a person-to-person payment service.
Royal Bank of Scotland’s NatWest subsidiary is the first UK high street bank to launch a P2P payment service. The service aims to relieve the hassle of sending a cheque through the post. It may also bring customer acquisition advantages to NatWest by driving traffic through its website. FastPay uses technology provided by UK company, Magex, founded by NatWest Card services in 1998.
Egg already has a P2P payment service, branded Egg Pay, which has been in operation for a few months. Broadly speaking, Egg offers the same service as NatWest. For example, neither service requires that a customer bank with the provider, only that they set up a FastPay or Egg Pay account.
Both services impose a maximum payment amount (GBP200 for Egg Pay and GBP250 for FastPay) and both service providers say that they may impose a charge for using the service in the future. NatWest has already said that from September 2002 it will cost GBP0.20 to send a FastPay payment and GBP1 to take money out of a FastPay account.
Differences between FastPay and Egg Pay include the fact that FastPay incorporates mobile phones whilst Egg Pay does not. NatWest has also imposed other limits on the service. The maximum that can be paid into a FastPay account in one day is GBP100 while the minimum is GBP5 or GBP10 with a credit or debit card.
Datamonitor is optimistic about the future of P2P payment services. It predicts that that European P2P volumes will reach E770 million by the end of 2002 and also anticipates that worldwide P2P payments volumes will increase to E7.7 billion by 2005. NatWest is wise to launch the service early; it shouldn’t be too long before its competitors follow suit.
Related research: Datamonitor, P2P Payments (BFFS0116)
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