Request to pay

Introduction

Request to pay will be a new, flexible way for bills to be settled between people, organisations and businesses.

It’s a messaging service that has been created to complement existing payments infrastructure and gives billers the ability to request payment for a bill rather than simply sending an invoice or a bill. For each ‘request’, customers will be able to pay in full, pay in part, ask for more time, communicate with the biller, or decline to pay. A customer’s response does not change their legal obligations.

Once the service is available it will sit alongside Direct Debit and other existing bill payment methods to give consumers and businesses additional choice and flexibility. It could save billers an estimated £1.3 billion per year.

Request to pay is currently in a closed pilot testing phase. Future vendors of the service including fintechs, major billers and household name financial services providers are testing the rules, standards and functionality of the service in a closed environment.

The first successful request messages were sent just this week. Testing is expected to end later this year ahead of a planned market launch of the rules and standards in early 2020.

Developers

Potential request to pay providers can view the draft specifications for request to pay in an API sandbox.

Using API (‘application programming interface’) technology as a secure way of sharing data, the proposition is for the request to pay service to be underpinned by a single central directory, which will enable registration of participants and identification of the services they provide.

You can find out more and register for access at the request to pay website.

Next steps

Request to pay is currently in a closed pilot testing phase. Future vendors of the service including fintechs, major billers and household name financial services providers are testing the rules, standards and functionality of the service in a closed environment.

Testing is expected to end later this year ahead of a planned market launch of the rules and standards in early 2020.

Request to pay – exploring industry views

Prior to that introduction, Pay.UK has sought to test the market’s reaction to this new service and explore potential opportunities for and barriers to implementation and market uptake.

At the end of 2018 we commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct research with stakeholders including businesses, charities and financial institutions. Qualitative research then took place in early 2019, comprising roundtable discussions and in-depth interviews focused on sectors with the potential to benefit from the service.

The findings are now published in this report: Request to pay – exploring industry views. It presents the independent conclusions and recommendations, and highlights the themes that emerged from speaking to payments decision-makers across a variety of businesses.