Travers Smith advises Pay.UK on Request to Pay – the new payments messaging service


On Friday 29 May, Travers Smith's client, Pay.UK (which operates the UK's retail payment systems such as Bacs and Faster Payments) launched the Request to Pay (RtP) legal framework. Its launch is a significant milestone for Pay.UK as it seeks to deliver on its promise to promote innovation in the UK's dynamic and fast-moving payments market.

As Coronavirus lockdown accelerates demand for more varied and flexible payment options, the need for payment services innovation is becoming increasingly urgent.  RtP will provide a new, flexible way to manage and settle bills between businesses, organisations and friends. Payers will be able to approve or decline a payment request in real time and choose a payment method that suits them.

RtP is a completely unique technical system, demanding an entirely bespoke legal structure to govern it.  The Travers Smith team (in close liaison with lawyers and product owners at Pay.UK) led the design, development and implementation of the RtP legal framework.

The Travers Smith team was led by Financial Services and Markets Senior Counsel Natalie Lewis and Associate Rafi Stone, and also included Commercial, IP and Technology Partner Louisa Chambers and Associate Richard Offord, as well as Financial Services and Markets Senior Consultant Mark Evans.

Natalie Lewis commented: "We are very pleased to have been able to harness our strong relationship with Pay.UK so effectively on such a significant project. The successful launch of RtP is a testament to what can be achieved when the leaders of our payment infrastructures, financial institutions, regulators and policy-makers collaborate to produce imaginative, robust and well-founded legal, business and operational solutions designed to improve consumers' payments experience."

Tim Lewis, Head of Financial Services and Markets, commented: "I am absolutely delighted that the Travers Smith team has been at the forefront of helping the UK payments industry once again deliver a best-in-class solution to promote innovation and competition in this exciting and fast-paced FinTech sector. We look forward to continuing our part in ensuring our clients maintain the UK's pre-eminent global reputation for innovation, service-user experience and competition in the systemically critical payments and market infrastructure space."

Simon Brooks, Request to Pay's Senior Product Manager, added: "Pay.UK worked very closely with Travers Smith in delivering the Request to Pay Framework…The Travers Smith team showed the upmost professionalism and dedication to ensuring that the documentation which was created would meet not only the needs of Pay.UK but was also sympathetic to the needs of organisations wishing to join the Request to Pay Framework in the future, as well as end-users."

Cecilia Grattoni, Pay.UK's Senior Legal Counsel, commented: "The team at Travers Smith was absolutely key to the design and delivery of the legal output required on this project. The ambitions of the Request to Pay proposition presented unique legal challenges for which there is little to no precedent. It required the development of a comprehensive contractual framework and all supporting documentation, from the ground up. Fortunately Pay.UK was able to rely on an extremely committed team at Travers Smith, who were instrumental. We look forward to continuing to work together as this develops."

Paul Horlock, Pay.UK CEO, said: “The Request to Pay Framework represents the culmination of a user driven journey that was started by Faster Payments, taken forward by the Payments Strategy Forum and we’re now excited to see come to fruition through Pay.UK with the support of stakeholders from across the industry.

It is another milestone on the way towards building a more flexible future for payment services, fit for the needs of people and businesses everywhere."

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