The UK’s Payments Council has today announced that the Paym system that will allow UK bank account holders to make payments to friends and family using just a mobile number is available for pre-registration ahead of its launch on April 29.

Essentially, what the service will allow is person-to-person payments using just a mobile number – there’s no need to remember the sort code or account number of the person being paid, meaning it should be quicker and easier to reclaim odd bits of money that you have lent to people here and there.

“Friends tend to make IOUs on a casual basis, with spending dominated by items such as meals out, transport costs and cinema tickets. This ‘leisure lending’ is particularly popular amongst younger people with two in five (41 percent) 18 to 25-year-olds having paid for meals for friends,” the organisation said. “Informal loans between friends amount to more than £2 billion per year… In the last six months alone Londoners lent an average of £100 to close friends.”

Which banks?

The Payments Council, a group of financial institutions that sets strategy for UK payment mechanisms, said that Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Santander and TSB customers can register from today for the service. Customers of Danske Bank will be able to register from April 25.

Registration, however, is done on the banking side of things, rather than via the Paym website, although there is a page of links to direct you towards the correct page for your bank. Once you’ve managed to do register, your mobile number will be linked to your nominated current account, so you’ll be all ready to start receiving money into that account when the service kicks in later in the month.

The Payments Council said that from April 29, users will be able to send money via Paym directly from their existing bank’s app. It added that making a payment via the Paym system doesn’t actually require registering for the service.

Clydesdale Bank, First Direct, Isle of Man Bank, NatWest, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Yorkshire bank customers will all join the scheme later in the year. At that point, Paym will be available on 9 out of 10 UK customer’s current accounts.

With a number of mobile payment services already available, and initiatives from Barclays like PingIt, the UK already has a number of ways to make small payments to families and friends, but this is the first system that will link payments to something as simple as remembering a mobile number – making that available to 90 percent of the population could see massive uptake of the service, providing the registration process can be streamlined.

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