NatWest Group has signed agreements with three payment providers – TrueLayer, GoCardless and Crezco – to offer Variable Recurring Payments (VRP) as a new and convenient payment option for businesses and consumers. Today’s announcement, an industry first, means that NatWest Group will be the first UK bank to go beyond the requirement for banks to provide VRP in support of ‘sweeping’ – the automatic transfer of money between two accounts belonging to the same person.
NatWest Group’s VRP offering will enable payment providers to give businesses a new option for managing customer payments for a range of services, including utility bills and subscriptions – complementing existing payment options such as Direct Debits and online card payments.
VRP will let businesses collect customer payments via the Faster Payments service, meaning payments can be received in near-real time.
As VRPs are set up digitally, there’s no paperwork to complete either – saving time, plus reducing the risk of fraud and manual error.
Customers will also benefit from more control over their finances as they’ll be able to set maximum payment amounts and make instant payment cancellations through VRP.
What’s more, in a change to the Open Banking status quo – where customers can consent to single immediate payments only – VRP will let customers consent to businesses taking payments from their account on a regular basis, without having to consent to each payment individually.
Daniel Globerson, Head of Bank of APIs at NatWest Group, commented: “VRP has huge potential for both consumers and businesses. As a relationship bank in a digital world, we’re proud to lead the industry by delivering a new payment option through VRP, which will make it easier for businesses and their customers to manage payments for a wide range of services.”
NatWest Group had already been leading the industry, having built its VRP API for sweeping last year – well ahead of other banks – and having made the first VRP transaction for sweeping in a live environment in December.
Offering VRP as a new payment method also marks a significant development in NatWest Group’s API commercialisation strategy, which is bringing an increasingly wide variety of the bank’s services to customers and partners in innovative and convenient ways.
Jana Reid, Senior Product Partnership Manager at TrueLayer, commented: “There is so much potential that can be unlocked with VRP to deliver value for consumers and businesses. It is significant to see NatWest go beyond the regulatory mandate, embracing a wider approach to deliver new, more efficient and digitally native payment options to its customers. We’re delighted to be collaborating with NatWest once again on this industry innovation and look forward to our relationship developing over the coming months.”
Ralph Rogge, CEO of Crezco, commented: “NatWest has taken the lead in going above and beyond regulatory requirements for VRP, setting an example that we hope others across the industry will follow. At Crezco, we’re proud to play a part in delivering a new and convenient payment method that will bring benefits to businesses and consumers alike.”
Duncan Barrigan, Chief Product Officer and Chief Growth Officer at GoCardless, said: “VRPs will be a game-changer for businesses and consumers alike. From sweeping, which will help us make our money work harder without the hassle, to use cases beyond ‘me-to-me’ where merchants can take advantage of this digital-first, cost-effective payment method, VRPs will make ‘account-on-file’ the next big trend in payments. Working with NatWest, with its advanced VRP capabilities, will help us accelerate our vision of building the world’s first bank payment network to help businesses access a range of account-to-account payments methods, from direct debit to VRPs, in a single platform.”