NatWest first UK bank to offer new payment option through VRP

Ellie Duncan
04 May 2022

NatWest Group has signed agreements with payment providers TrueLayer, GoCardless and Crezco to begin offering variable recurring payments (VRPs) as a new payment option for businesses and consumers.

NatWest said that this makes it the first UK bank to go beyond the Competition and Markets Authority’s requirement for banks to provide VRP in support of sweeping, where money is automatically transferred between accounts belonging to the same person.

NatWest built its VRP API for sweeping last year and made the first VRP transaction for sweeping in a ‘live’ environment in December, as opposed to a sandbox, in collaboration with TrueLayer.

Daniel Globerson

NatWest’s Daniel Globerson

Daniel Globerson, head of bank of APIs at NatWest Group, said: “VRP has huge potential for both consumers and businesses. As a relationship bank in a digital world, we’re proud to lead the industry by delivering a new payment option through VRP, which will make it easier for businesses and their customers to manage payments for a wide range of services.”

Through VRPs, payment providers will be able to give businesses a new option for managing customer payments for a range of services, including utility bills and subscriptions.

It means that the bank’s business customers will be able to collect customer payments via the ‘Faster Payments’ service, meaning payments can be received in near-real time.

Customers will have the ability to set maximum payment amounts and make instant payment cancellations through VRP, and will also be able to consent to businesses taking payments from their account on a regular basis, without the need to give consent to each payment individually.

Jana Reid, senior product partnership manager at TrueLayer, said that VRP unlocks the potential to deliver value for consumers and businesses.

“It is significant to see NatWest go beyond the regulatory mandate, embracing a wider approach to deliver new, more efficient and digitally native payment options to its customers,” Reid added.

Duncan Barrigan, chief product officer and chief growth officer at GoCardless, called VRPs “a game-changer” for businesses and consumers alike.

“From sweeping, which will help us make our money work harder without the hassle, to use cases beyond ‘me-to-me’ where merchants can take advantage of this digital-first, cost-effective payment method, VRPs will make ‘account-on-file’ the next big trend in payments,” he said.

In November, the CMA approved a new timeline for the CMA9 to implement VRPs for sweeping services, with the revised deadline pushed back to July 2022, from January 2022.