Starling Bank Makes a B2B Push With Real-Time Payments

  • Grace Noto
  • May 9, 2017
  • 0

U.K. businesses vying for faster payments might want to take a look at Starling Bank.

The bank’s new B2B payment service will enable businesses to have access to the Faster Payments network, the mobile-first bank—one of the nation’s first neobanks—announced yesterday.

“Faster Payments only has 15 banks connected to it in the United Kingdom—of which were are one—so if one wanted access they, had to go through someone else,” Julian Sawyer, chief operating officer for Starling Bank, told Bank Innovation.

The 2,000-odd fintechs and more than 400 banks in the United Kingdom previously had very limited options should they wish to utilize the Faster Payments network for their clients. Starling, according to Sawyer, wants to “open up the payment rails.”

Starling will first integrate participating businesses into its open API. Clients will then onboard, a period that takes about 12 weeks with Starling (for others, it might take months, according to Sawyer), and then the business will have the ability to offer instant payments to its clients.

The service actually works over the same rails as Starling’s consumer-facing model, according to Sawyer, which is hosted on Amazon Web Services. Business payments will flow through AWS before accessing networks, including Faster Payments, Bacs, and Mastercard.

“We are using open banking and APIs [to be] the only company offering real-time access,” Sawyer said. “We are trying to disrupt this market, which we believe is ripe for disruption.”

Currently, Starling’s payment service is only available for payments within the United Kingdom, though that could change in the future: the neobank will be joining SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) at the end of the year  in order to gain euro-to-euro payment capabilities; essentially making international payments through euros as opposed to using pounds.

Additionally, the bank’s consumer facing app is now available to download in beta.

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