What was Paym?
Paym was a proxy payment service that operated using mobile phone numbers. Launched in April 2014, it was one of the earliest mobile payment options in the UK that enabled end users to send a digital payment via a payee’s mobile phone number, for free.
The service closed on 7 March 2023.
How did it work?
When a payer sought to make a payment, their bank would look up the mobile phone number of the intended beneficiary. The Paym directory (referred to as the Mobile Payments Platform) would then provide the payee’s sort code and account details linked to that mobile phone number – the mobile phone number thus became the proxy for the account details. The payer’s bank would then initiate the payment instruction via the Faster Payments Service (or via the LINK infrastructure for a very small number of providers).
At its peak, the service was offered by 15 of the UK’s largest banks and building societies, thereby being available on more than nine out of 10 UK current accounts. The total number of registered users topped 5.8 million who, between 2014 and 2023, sent over £2.7 billion in payments via Paym. Payee’s, who were not registered, would receive a text message inviting them to register when someone tried to send them a Paym payment.
A collective decision to close Paym was made in September 2022 by Pay.UK and the fifteen UK banks and building societies, who operated the service. This decision was made in response to falling numbers of Paym transactions and the lack of customers signing up to become new users of the service. The decision was further supported by independent external research (commissioned by the Pay.UK Board prior to the closure decision) that measured the impact of closure on end users. The vast majority of end users were comfortable with Paym closing, given the alternatives that were available in the market.
Paym was closed operationally on 7 March 2023.
If you were a Paym user and would like help with locating historic Paym payments or you would like to find an alternative payment method, you should contact your bank or building society for assistance.
For press enquiries about Paym, please get in touch with our press team