NatWest is taking a minority stake in payments fintech and consultancy, Icon Solutions. This follows NatWest collaborating with Icon Payments Technology to align with the new global ISO 20022 payment data message standards. The 2023 partnership allows NatWest to initially leverage a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) processing engine along with ready-made scheme packs.

This includes the recently mandated SEPA Instant capability, in addition to existing Credit Transfer and Direct Debit capabilities. These provide customers with more choice and establish the foundation for future innovation. The modernisation will enhance the end-to-end experience for customers as they seek greater flexibility in their initiation of payment flows.

Optimising the low code approach to modernise payments

The IPF framework empowers business payment experts via low code to create industry leading workflows. And it enables software engineering teams to quickly extend and create highly customisable integrations into existing bank systems.

The investment and ongoing partnership with Icon Solutions is expected to accelerate NatWest’s strategic outcomes in the payment space. And it aims to provide customers more choice and lay the foundation for future payments innovation.

It forms part of a payment platform modernisation plan which will build on the bank’s existing relationships and accelerate its ability to respond to the rapidly changing payment market.

NatWest says that by making strategic investments, it builds on its long-standing partnerships to drive innovation for customers and colleagues.

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‘Bringing the payments estate to life’

Mark Brant, Chief Payments Officer at NatWest said: “Our relationship with Icon Solutions has already helped us to bring our payments estate to life. This investment is fundamental to the delivery of our modernisation in payments technology, which will enable us to better serve our customers and to remain at the forefront of the payments industry.

“We continue to play a major role in developing payment innovations for the future, embracing new technologies, standards and capabilities to shape the future of the payments landscape while improving customer experience.

“Combining the scale and resilience of a bank with the speed and innovation of a fintech like Icon Solutions means we can bring new payment services to our customers quickly and safely.

Tom Kelleher, co-founder and Director of Icon Solutions added: “NatWest and Icon have been on a journey together since 2019 to modernise payments at the bank, inspired and led by Ian Povey and Mark Brant. We have a common belief in the adoption of low-code technologies to deliver new payments systems quickly and safely, with a significantly lower cost profile.

“Overcoming vendor lock in and powering in-house builds with the Icon Payments Framework, NatWest can now drive change from within. It builds new revenue streams, anticipates regulatory change and responds to market changes and competitive pressures. Today’s investment is much more than an investment. It’s a commitment to a future where payments are safe, immediate, and flexible.”