The Payments Council, the organization that represents the payments industry in the U.K., has announced its intention to launch a mobile person-to-person funds transfer service that could serve 90 percent of all U.K. bank accounts. To move funds, the system will depend upon the Faster Payments service and the LINK ATM network.

Eight financial institutions — including Barclay's, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS — have commited to a spring 2014 launch of the service, which will allow customers to send and receive funds via simple text messages and use a mobile phone number as a proxy for a bank account.

"The mobile payments project is a fantastic example of the unique role the Payments Council can play in delivering far-reaching, innovative improvements for customers," Adrian Kamellard, Payments Council chief executive. "This new service will offer a simple, secure way to split a bill for dinner, receive money from a friend, or pay a tradesman without needing to remember or share account details."

The Payments Council promised that the system will be secure, requiring a passcode or similar feature to authorize payments. Additionally, customers will be able to disable accounts remotely. Any features beyond that will be up to participating FIs, the council said.

During the next year, rules, standards and testing of the service will be completed, and a pre-launch registration period will commence. The Payments Council will designate an enrollment period during which FIs can begin to register customers, linking their mobile numbers to their accounts.

Details of the scheme will be released in time, the council said, and the exact process for enrollment will be announced closer to the actual launch date.

For more on this topic, visit the mobile banking research center.

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