As the world becomes smaller and cross-border commerce grows, the move for global interoperability in the payments market has never been more important. 2015 represented a key year for global innovation in the payments industry and VocaLink, the UK-based international payment systems provider, has been central in driving this innovation.

The UK Faster Payments Service continues to set the standard for national payments services with immediate payments becoming the norm for both businesses and consumers. Other countries have watched the transformation of UK payments and are seeking to adopt its technology and world-class service standards.

Global interoperability

The global payments market is evolving fast and at the end of 2015, VocaLink signed a contract with The Clearing House (TCH) to develop a national real-time payment service in the U.S. The system aims to be the most comprehensive real-time payment system ever developed. Not only will it empower U.S. consumers and businesses to send and receive real-time payments from their existing accounts at financial institutions, but it will also provide a platform to launch innovative new services that will power a new economy built around real-time payments.  These services include new message capabilities for financial services that go well beyond basic payments. James Aramanda, President and chief executive officer at The Clearing House said: “Finalising this partnership with VocaLink represents a significant milestone in our effort to make ubiquitous real-time payments a reality in the U.S. Once completed, customers will pay or receive money in real-time from any financial institution, and with its innovative extensible design the system will be built to provide the basis for payment solutions currently unimagined. Most importantly, with VocaLink’s proven track record of rapid and effective development of real-time payments, The Clearing House and its owner banks will soon deliver access to the secure, real-time payments that customers in the US desire.”

Three of the four global financial centres

The U.S. is the world’s largest payment market and this deal accelerates the move towards ubiquitous, real-time payments. To promote international interoperability and help ease cross-border commerce, the system will comply with global standards (ISO 20022) for real-time payments. Following the launch of this service, VocaLink
technology will power major faster payments services in the UK, Asia and North America, including three of the four largest global financial centres. Europe has also begun the journey towards a pan-European instant payments service.

VocaLink was selected by The Clearing House for its proven technology that includes many of the attributes desired by U.S. customers, its ability to upgrade its existing platform to provide additional innovative solutions, and its demonstrated speed to market. It implemented the UK Faster Payments Scheme in three years, and Singapore’s FAST payment scheme more rapidly.  The business also designed, built and manages the real-time technology behind the UK Faster Payments Service on behalf of the Faster Payments Scheme.  Since the service was launched in 2008, the real-time infrastructure has provided a platform for further innovation, driving the development and proliferation of a wider range of services, including mobile payments.

Paul Stoddart, managing director, VocaLink, commented: “Our strategy is built on a vision to shape the global payments landscape. Many economies have watched and admired the transformational potential of real-time technology in the UK. However, full international interoperability is necessary to ensure compatibility and truly seamless payments. The deal with TCH is an important milestone in us reaching this vision. The U.S. is the largest global payments market and to win this deal boosts the UK’s credentials as a global leader in payments technology and makes VocaLink a great British success story in fintech overseas.” 2015 was a significant year for the payments market and the innovation that has been rolled out across the world has started our journey towards a true global payments landscape, supporting both consumers and businesses with cross-border commerce