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NatWest launches SME open banking payments refunds with Northern Rail deal

With SMEs under increasing pressure during the pandemic, the bank hopes faster payments and refunds at lower costs will help cash-strapped businesses.

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James Hodgson/NatWest

NatWest has launched an open banking payments service for SMEs allowing businesses to send payments directly to customers without needing their bank details.

The service is made through NatWest’s Payit brand, which launched open banking payments last year.

Payit now allows businesses to send money to customers using the service for refunds and compensation instead of using cheques or BACS, allowing payments in both directions, via open banking.

James Hodgson, head of commercial payments at NatWest says the need for businesses to send their customers money often occurs at crucial moments but existing methods can be slow, inefficient and expensive.

“We’re aiming to transform that experience with Payit, which now allows businesses to send payments that are credited to customer accounts in a matter of seconds, and all without the need for their bank details,” he said. 

Payit, he says, has now having processed over 200,000 transactions for existing business customers, since launching last year.

The enhancement to Payit uses the Faster Payments framework, which allows payments of up to £250,000 to be made, typically within a matter of seconds, NatWest says.

The cheque cashing process means consumers often have to visit a branch to access the funds. 

The bank has also announced today that major transport provider, Northern Rail, has signed up for the service. 

Other notable customers include Vanquis Bank, the Captain Tom Foundation and FreeAgent.

NatWest is also planning to launch an API proposition, allowing merchants to integrate Payit directly with their own technology infrastructure.

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