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VocaLink created Pay by Bank app to meet the payment challenges facing today’s digitally savvy consumers and businesses. Think of it as a ‘digital debit’ payment solution from your Starling app. With a strong focus on security and simplicity, Pay by Bank app provides direct access to your bank account for making speedy and secure payments through your smartphone.

Liam Spence, Head of Product & Innovation at Pay by Bank app looks at what problems Pay by Bank app solves.

Liam Spence, Head of Product & Innovation at Pay by Bank app

A problem definitely needed solving.

Whether buying my weekly shopping on my laptop or paying for gig tickets on my smartphone, not only did I have the inconvenience of typing all my personal and payment information out line by line, but I had the insecurity – a lingering feeling of doubt – about where my details were going. Even if the website or device had stored all my information ‘for my convenience,’ who could access it all?

The last thing anyone wants is to realise their data has been stolen and the very sobering thought of being out of pocket.

Just as Starling have built their users a bank from scratch, Pay by Bank app is a unique payment method that was built from the ground up. We believe the Fintech revolution is about empowering consumers to take control of their finances and this ethos is firmly at the heart of what we have built.

We started out by identifying the pain points associated with making online payments. Lots of customers are really frustrated with the inconvenience of giving away personal and payment information every time they check out online – and they are becoming increasingly worried about where their data is held, who can access it and who can use it.

Using your smartphone to buy the things you want and when you want sounds convenient.

That’s until you remember the need to type in all your information into a small screen along with remembering a lengthy username and password. Throw in the fact that you are relying on a third party to keep your information safe, and it can become much less appealing all of a sudden. Recent high profile data breaches haven’t helped matters with several cases of UK consumer data being stolen or used fraudulently.

These are understandable concerns in today’s always-online society and they are getting bigger. The UK is the third largest economy in terms of total value of online sales (after China and the US according to the UK Cards Association) and fraud is on the rise. Remote purchase fraud totalled almost £400 million last year and is still increasing (up 20% last year according to Financial Fraud Action). If your information is stolen then your account can be hit very hard and very quickly, and in many cases permanently..

Clearly there is a need for a payment method that tackles these issues and protects you when shopping online.

Pay by Bank app is very simple and works just as you would expect it to; when you want to check-out online you tap the Pay by Bank app button, your Starling Bank banking app opens automatically and you login just as you usually would. Once securely logged in, you can see how much you are paying and to whom you are paying the money. You can check your account balance, choose the account you wish to pay from and pay immediately. We can finally buy those tickets as we please, without the stresses surrounding security. It works seamlessly on your smartphone and there is an option to link your banking app to other devices and browsers on tablets, PC’s and laptops.

This simple journey provides a number of benefits over other online payment methods. There is no new app to download and no new PIN or password to remember because you are checking out using your Starling app. Your balance is displayed in real-time so you can stay in control of your money and the payment happens immediately over Faster Payments. And all the delivery information for your purchase can be provided by your bank rather than typing it out every time to each retailer.

All your payment data is safely stored within your Starling app - it is never shared with the retailer.

We do some clever things with payment tokens which means the retailer only ever requests a payment from you. Rather than sharing any of your account information, you simply push the money out of your account. If none of your payment information is shared then it absolutely cannot be stolen.

Right now we are building out our new payment ecosystem, adding more retailers all the time, so look for Pay by Bank app when you shop online. Looking to the future, we are busy creating our contactless solution so you will be able to pay using your Starling app to pay in stores all across the country. It is great to be working with Starling Bank, helping people stay in control of their finances on the go and helping to see and spend their money in a new and better way.

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