https://dwpdigital.blog.gov.uk/2019/08/09/the-changing-world-of-payments/

The changing world of payments

Head and shoulders photo of Richard Laycock
Richard

The payments industry is evolving at pace. In Digital Payment Services we are helping to shape those changes, allowing us to transform our services and deliver the best for our users.

Often when we talk about payments, people automatically think of CPS, our Central Payment System, however our payments estate is much more extensive and complex than that. That means any new changes will be felt across our payments ecosystem that provides services for our 20 million customers.

Design thinking

The way the industry is changing has not only influenced our design thinking, but has also challenged our understanding of the needs and demands the next 5-10 years could bring, as well as the known challenges and pain points.

A key principle of design thinking is to challenge our mind-set and put the users and their experiences front and centre. Before shaping the future, we need to consider the influencers and disruptors that could have direct and indirect implications. Some of the disruptors we’re watching are Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies. Other important influencers include socio-economic changes, such as an aging population increasing demand on our services. We’re also looking at the introduction of open banking, which is aiming to create more competition in the payments industry by opening up and standardising banking data.

An important conclusion of our design thinking is that although we must change and develop new services, we need to protect the core services that our users rely on.

Changing trends

Some of the trends that we’ll be watching as we transform our payment services include:

  • New Payments Architecture – this will introduce the biggest set of changes to the way UK payment schemes process payments in years. Forecasted to start implementation in 2021, a common payment message standard will be introduced, the existing schemes will be consolidated and new overlay services, such as Request to Pay and Confirmation of Payee, will be available.
  • Open Banking - this is now starting to reshape financial services at pace, enabling new business models and products.
  • Distributed Ledger Technologies - we are starting to see the first full production implementations, such as Santander’s One Pay FX. The benefits include reducing time, cost and failure rate associated with making transactions whilst data is stored on a secure immutable ledger.

I’m keen for us to consider how we can harness the payment innovations coming out of these trends and how we can influence the New Payment Architecture to help shape future of payments across government.

Successes so far

Payments are core to our service and are critical to help people live better lives.

We’ve already achieved a lot: we’ve insourced some services, migrated the hosting of our core payments system from external suppliers to on premises hosting and now manage and evolve our payments systems within the department. We have delivered some fairly significant change: introduced a new Faster Payment solution allowing for near real-time payments. And we have migrated our banking services to the new Government Banking Services.

As we move our Payment Services forward they need to be efficient, modern, fast, scalable, flexible, innovative and available 24/7. To do this we’re building a team of incredible people and skills. But most importantly, we’re continuing to ensure our customers receive their payments on time.

There’s never been a more exciting time to join us, so visit our Careers website to view the latest vacancies.

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