Faster Payments (UK)

Faster Payments is a revolutionary service in the UK’s banking and payment industry, designed to speed up the process of transferring money between banks within the UK. It’s not a company but a type of electronic transfer system.

What is Faster Payments?

Introduced in May 2008, Faster Payments was developed to reduce the time taken for bank-to-bank payments, allowing transactions to be processed almost immediately in most cases. The service operates 24/7, making it highly accessible for both individuals and businesses. It was initiated as a UK government endeavor, with the primary aim of creating a faster infrastructure for fund transfers between banks.

Ownership and Management

Originally, APACS (Association for Payment Clearing Services) was responsible for the development and delivery of Faster Payments. After May 2008, the day-to-day operations and management of the service were transferred to the CHAPS Clearing Company. Later, the Faster Payments Scheme Limited, a member-based organization, was set up to manage the service. VocaLink continues to provide and operate the infrastructure for the service.

Uses and Accessibility

Faster Payments is widely used for various types of transactions such as single immediate payments, forward-dated payments, standing orders, and direct corporate access payments. This versatility makes it suitable for both individual and business use. The service can handle different types of payments, including those initiated through online banking, mobile apps, and telephone banking.

International Payments and Membership

While Faster Payments is primarily used for domestic transfers within the UK, its flexibility and convenience have made it a popular choice. The service has seen significant growth in participation, with over 40 institutions, including high street banks, building societies, challenger banks, and fintechs, now participating. Notable members include major banks such as Barclays, HSBC, and Santander UK.

Transaction Limits and Security

The system allows for real-time payments of up to £1 million, although this limit can vary depending on the bank and the nature of the account. Despite its speed, the system maintains high security standards. Banks perform identity verifications and other security checks to ensure safe transactions. It’s important for users to verify recipient details thoroughly, as once a payment is made, it cannot be reversed.


In summary, Faster Payments has transformed the way money is transferred within the UK, offering a quick, secure, and versatile solution for both individuals and businesses. Its ability to process transactions rapidly and around the clock makes it an integral part of the UK’s financial landscape. While primarily for domestic use, its widespread adoption and convenience make it a significant player in the UK’s payment systems.

This page was last updated on December 29, 2023.

Share with others...