Introduced in May 2008, the Faster Payments Service (FPS) facilitates secure, near real-time payments initiated via the Internet, Mobile & Telephone Banking, and as a business you can also use a service called Direct Corporate Access to submit payments. Over 6 billion Faster Payments have been sent since the scheme started and now virtually all Internet and Telephone Banking payments in the UK are processed via Faster Payments.
Payments made between two institutions that are both members of Faster Payments, can take as little as a few seconds, although in practice many institutions state that payments will be made in up to two hours depending on security and fraud checks.
Faster Payments are a quicker method of sending money than using Bacs. Payments sent via Bacs are processed on a three working days cycle, whereas Faster Payments are almost immediate and available 24/7.
FPS has an individual transaction limit of £250,000 but banks and building societies have the ability to set their own limits. Single immediate payments (such as ad hoc or emergency payments), forward-dated payments, standing orders or direct corporate access payments (immediate payments for businesses) can be processed using the Faster Payment Service. Faster Payment transactions are tend to be cheaper than a CHAPS payment and are faster than the 3-day Bacs processing cycle. However, it is not possible to recall a Faster Payment once it has been submitted.
Like Bacs, Direct Corporate Access to Faster Payments, requires your bank to sponsor you onto the service and to issue you with a Service User Number (SUN).
The Faster Payments Scheme is a not-for-profit company, and is owned and operated by its participants, which is made up of Banks and building societies. More than 400 other financial institutions are able to offer Faster Payments. It is available to more than 52 million current account holders in the UK. A list of the member banks is available on the Faster Payments website.
The Faster Payments Service is delivered by VocaLink, who provides the payment infrastructure, whilst the Faster Payments Scheme Company manages the service.