The UK Payments Council has unveiled a new payments system allowing consumers to send and receive payments using only a mobile number.
The new service, branded Paym, is in the final stages of testing and is due to be launched in April, when customers of participating banks will be able to send payments to each other using only their mobile numbers.
Adrian Kamellard, CEO of the Payments Council, said: "We’re all used to the idea of a ‘mobile update’ to improve our apps – Paym is a mobile update for payments that means you can pay securely using just a mobile number.
"Paym will make it easier to repay a friend for cinema tickets, split a restaurant bill or settle up for a colleague’s birthday collection."
Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Danske Bank, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Santander and TSB Bank are already signed up to Paym, meaning customers will be able to use the service immediately after the launch date.
Clydesdale Bank, first direct, Isle of Man Bank, NatWest, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Yorkshire Bank have also committed to join during 2014.
According to the Payments Council, this will make Paym available on more than 90% of current accounts by the end of this year.
Nationwide Building Society have also said it intends to join in early 2015, while Metro Bank and Ulster Bank are understood to be finalising launch plans.
Paym closely resembles Barclays Pingit, a free app that allows consumers to send money to anyone who has a UK mobile number once they have registered their bank account with the service, whether or not they are a Barclays customer.
Barclays Pingit is currently available on Android 2.2 and above, iOS 4.2 and above and BlackBerry OS 5.0 and above and the bank is working to provide apps for the BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone operating systems.
Kamellard said: "Paym is a great example of industry-wide collaboration that delivers tangible benefits for customers.
"The service has the potential to link up every bank account in the country with a mobile number – millions of people will be able to use it this year and we look forward to expanding Paym even further, so everyone can benefit from this easy, secure new way to pay."
RBS and NatWest are understood to have pushed back plans to join Paym while the group prioritises a number of other system updates.
A spokesperson said "RBS and NatWest are committed to participating in the Paym service and offering our customers an additional way to send and receive payment using a mobile number only. We expect to be able to offer this service later in the year."
The spokesperson also pointed out that RBS and its subsidiaries NatWest and Ulster Bank already have access to a similar service known as ‘Pay Your Contacts’, whereby customers can use the mobile banking app to send a payment to anyone with a Visa card and a UK mobile phone number.