The service allows customers to make payments worth up to a daily total of £250 to their friends, family and other contacts via their mobile phones, without the need for account numbers or sort codes.

It’s an easy and quick way to settle up for shared purchases like restaurant bills, cinema tickets and joints gifts, or to make trade payments when you simply don’t have enough cash in your wallet. The average payment is £50.

Last week alone, customers made 57,000 Pay Your Contacts transactions, with customers transferring around £3m. Figures indicate customers in the North of England and Scotland are the most confident in using the service, with the biggest number of users in Manchester and Edinburgh, while Paisley and Oldham customers lead the field as a proportion of those using the mobile banking app.

How it works

Available through the banks’ mobile banking app on Android, iPhone, Windows and Blackberry, Pay Your Contacts enables instant payments to other NatWest or RBS customers who also use the mobile banking app.

Payments can also be made to non-customers who have a valid Visa debit, credit or pre-paid card. Customers simply need to click on the ‘Pay Your Contacts’ option, enter their contact’s mobile number, how much they want to pay them and a message if wanted.

The contact then receives a text message telling them the money is waiting. Once they’ve followed the link in the message, they can enter their Visa card number and the amount they are expecting, and the money will be moved into their account within 48 hours.

Recipients, who must be aged 16 or more, have seven days to collect a payment through the service from the day they receive notification.

Extending the service

RBS and NatWest expect to extend their mobile payments service later in 2014 by joining PAYM, a mobile payment service developed by the Payments Council.

PAYM, which is in the final stages of testing, will have the potential to link to every UK current account with a mobile number.

Nine bank and building society brands will offer the service from its launch date, which will be announced in April.

NatWest and RBS will be among the second group of banks to join the scheme, meaning Paym will be available on nine out of ten current accounts in the UK.

Paym will be integrated into RBS and NatWest customers’ existing mobile banking and payment apps, enabling them to receive mobile payments from contacts who are not NatWest and RBS customers for the first time.

Further information

To find out more about Pay Your Contacts visit the websites for NatWest and RBS.

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