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NatWest trials online payments technology removing need to use cards

By Vicky Shaw, Press Association Personal Finance Correspondent

A new way of paying for shopping online which removes the need to use debit or credit cards is being trialled by NatWest.

The bank said the technology, which takes people directly through to their bank account, could provide customers with an alternative way to pay when making secure purchases online or on their mobile.

The service removes the need for people to spend time inputting their long card numbers by providing them with the option to press a NatWest button at the end of the purchase process which will take them through to their mobile app.

The person making the purchase can then login with Touch ID or their standard password before the process completes.

The bank said the initiative could cut the length of time it takes to make an online purchase from minutes to just seconds.

NatWest has been trialling new payments technology with Carphone Warehouse (PA)

NatWest also said paying in this way using the mobile app means customers can immediately see their bank balance when they make a purchase, helping them to avoid nasty surprises and potential overdraft fees.

A trial has been taking place involving Carphone Warehouse, NatWest said.

It said in the initial trial, over half of customers chose to make their payment using the NatWest service, rather than use their card.

Following early signs of success from this trial, NatWest plans further trials with other businesses in the coming months.

The bank said the new payment approach could also help companies, reducing the need for them to store sensitive data and potentially making refunds easier.

NatWest said the trial has been made possible due to Faster Payments and Open Banking.

Open Banking is a new secure way for people to share their information, making it easier generally for companies to offer them new payment methods and banking products. This should help give people more choice when managing their money.

Cathy Dargue, head of payables at NatWest, said: “This new service provides our customers with an alternative way to pay, which is convenient and simple to use, and brings benefits to both our customers and commercial partners.

“In order to develop this new service we’ve harnessed Open Banking which means in future this could be offered not only to our own customers, but potentially to the customers of other banks as well.”

Marion King, director of payments at NatWest, said: “Given how successful our initial trial has been we think directly linking payments from people’s bank accounts without the need for a card will play a much larger role in online shopping in years to come.”

Shaun Kidd, head of account management at Carphone Warehouse, said: “We have been really impressed by the adoption and usage at this early stage. The service is proving to be an innovative, convenient and trusted mobile payment method for customers.”