In 2019, Pay.UK, the UK’s leading retail payments authority, introduced plans to develop Request to Pay, a secure messaging service that allows enrolled participants to bill for goods, services, or charitable donations via a digital channel. It’s designed to complement existing bill payment methods, such as Direct Debit, and is payment agnostic, meaning funds can be sent via Faster Payments, Bacs or from a card, or as a payment initiation request via open banking.

Request to pay-based solutions give payers improved flexibility and control over their outgoings. The digital request allows them to authorise the payment without having to enter the value or recipient’s account information, saving them time, hassle, and reducing their risk of error.

At Mastercard, and leveraging the expertise of Vocalink, a Mastercard company, we’ve developed a Request to Pay solution that enables financial institutions and other processors and billers to participate in Pay.UK’s Request to Pay service. Mastercard is one of the first Request to Pay solution providers to be enrolled in the service, and our solution meets all rules and requirements outlined in Pay.UK’s framework.

We’re delighted to be working with the UK payments industry to provide people, businesses and organisations with another safe, simple, secure and accessible way to pay and get paid.

We recognise the need for improved control and flexibility everywhere around the world; we are also aware that there are different implementations of request to pay-based services and schemes. For example, the European Payments Council (EPC), which manages the SEPA payment schemes that cover most of the euro credit transfers and direct debits in Europe, has developed a Request-to-Pay Scheme rulebook, which is expected to be published in November 2020 following public consultation.

Mastercard Bill Pay is a globally-available bill presentment and payment solution that allows people to view, manage and pay bills — typically via their financial service provider’s banking app. It complies with the EPC’s Request-to-Pay Scheme rulebook, and it’s currently in pilot with US banks and credit unions via The Clearing House’s RTP® network.

Bill Pay forges the missing link between bill presentment and payment. Approved billers can submit an electronic payment request and bill information via a biller application, and can communicate directly with their customers. It reduces the cost of mailing paper bills and processing cash and cheques, offers better visibility of payment status, helps them reconcile payments to customer accounts, and lowers customer support costs.  

Another Mastercard solution that leverages request to pay functionality is Pay by Account, a way for people to pay securely and conveniently directly from their bank account or digital wallet for goods bought in-store and online. It’s currently live in the UK as Pay by Bank App and available via people’s existing banking apps.

Request to Pay-based solutions offer people greater control and flexibility over their outgoings, while allowing billers to improve their customer experience and billing efficiencies. Financial institutions can serve both segments more effectively, and innovate on top of the solution to grow their revenues — while providing better experiences and promoting financial wellness for everyone.

Jennifer Furmidge, Vice President, UK Product,