In the UK in the early 2010s sending and receiving money between people was not a simple or frictionless process. Different rules and differing levels of banking digitalisation meant that transferring money could be slow and difficult. However, nearly everyone had a bank account and an easily remembered mobile number. Could the two be used to simplify the money transfer process, copying the success of such models in Africa?
To be a success, the proposition required an industry-wide approach needing the buy-in and collaboration of the majority of UK’s high-street banks and building societies to deliver scale and trust. The Payments Council, set up by Government in 2007 with financial institutions’ backing was tasked with delivering the vision.
The Payments Council required a strategic partner that could support the mobilisation of Paym. Working as an extension of the internal project team – part of Faster Payments – Piran supported the programme management, the development of the proposition and go-to-market brand, as well as working with stakeholders across the UK current account banking market.
When a payer sought to make a payment, their bank would look up the mobile phone number of the intended beneficiary (the payee). The Paym Mobile Payments Platform would then provide the payee’s account details using the payee’s registered mobile number as a proxy for their account. 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). To drive adoption, Paym was free of charge and if someone attempted to send money to an unregistered number, the intended payee would receive a text message inviting them to register.
Piran Partners translated large scale customer insights and technical information into key proposition features, and led the award-winning name and brand identity development, and developed the staged launch, onboarding high street banks and building societies and embedding the ‘ingredient brand’ Paym into their own online banking journeys.
In 2014 Paym, supported by Piran, launched the world’s most significant mobile payments service with agreement across launch banks and building societies backed by a million pound, above-the-line, customer communication programme. The launch period resulted in 46% brand awareness, over 300 million opportunities to see and over 1.4 million registered customers.
At its peak, the service was offered by 15 of the UK’s largest banks and building societies, and was available on more than nine out of 10 UK current accounts. The total number of registered Paym users topped 5.8 million who, between 2014 and 2023, transferred over £2.7 billion. Paym drove wide scale improvements in banking infrastructure which modern banking applications rely on.