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NatWest and TrueLayer push ahead with open banking’s first variable recurring payment

Despite the CMA’s delay, banks and fintechs are pushing ahead.

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High street bank NatWest has staked a claim in supporting the first live variable recurring payment (VRP) with the help of open banking platform TrueLayer.

NatWest said it has built and delivered its VRP API ahead of schedule, despite the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) deciding last month to push the deadline for launching such an API back by six months to July 2022.

“It’s refreshing to see an innovator like NatWest grasp their importance so early on and embrace VRP,” said Matt Parish,TrueLayer’s VRP product lead. “We’re proud to have collaborated with them on this important industry milestone.”

Indeed VRPs are the latest technology in open banking, said to rival Direct Debits, and while the tech is just in its early stages, customers will be able to start using them later next year.

Interestingly, Parish also called on smaller banks, those not included in the CMA’s mandate, to also build and launch VRP APIs on the same timeline as the bigger banks.

“There is so much potential that can be unlocked with VRP that it would be hugely beneficial for non-CMA9 banks who see the value of building these APIs for their customers, to do so in similar timelines to the CMA9,” he said.

The CMA’s decision to delay the launch of VRPs by six months has clearly frustrated many across the fintech and banking industries, especially those developing features and products that would have relied on the technology.

In her letter calling for the delay, newly appointed Open Banking Implementation Entity trustee Charlotte Crosswell warned that “most if not all the CMA9” would miss the 31 January 2022 deadline.

Clearly, NatWest’s VRP demo with TrueLayer is a very public signal that it would have in fact hit the original timeline.

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