The banks involved in implementing Faster Payments in the UK.
The UK banking authorities mandated a change in the way that payments are handled to reduce the transfer time from three working days to a few hours. This new system was named ‘Faster Payments’.
Launched in 2008, Faster Payments involved all the major UK banks linking to a central scheme operated by Vocalink. The scheme provided a basic certification service for banks to validate their set up prior to going live with the service. This supported a number of checks to certify the bank interacted with the system as expected, but didn’t address the genuine testing needs of the member banks.
As the process moved forward it became clear that banks would have trouble completing the testing work they needed to pre-certify and in the set-up of the solutions, whether product based or developed in house.
The market needed both functional testing and performance components to ensure that systems were able to process messages correctly and had the capacity to support the expected transaction throughput of over 400 tps. Functional testing, as well as handling the full inbound and outbound message set, had to be able to manage individual and bulk transactions and support the message standards dictated by the scheme – including support for MACing.
The Solution and Results
In response to this, Iliad developed a specific version of its t3 V7 software to meet the needs of member banks and to support them in readying themselves for the service launch and beyond.
The system was modelled specifically for Faster Payments supporting inbound and outbound messages and providing a comprehensive simulation of the central infrastructure. It delivered a full set of testing capability, both functional and stress, to allow teams working with immovable deadlines to fully evaluate and measure the success of the software they had developed or acquired. This ensured it met the rules and conditions of the scheme.
90% of the banks who signed up for the scheme licensed t3 V7 – FasterPayments to meet their testing needs. Iliad’s solution was a core part of ensuring its clients were ready to process transactions against a hard deadline which was under scrutiny from the UK government and national press.
The experience and knowledge Iliad used in developing the solution has continued to serve its clients well. Each bank that joined the scheme, and chose Iliad’s software as its test solution, continues to operate t3 V7 for Faster Payments. Many have extended the use of the solution into other areas including seven day account switching and ICS (the future cheque clearing model). In addition, a number of the aggregators who are now looking to join the scheme in response to the change in rules for membership, have licensed t3 V7 – FasterPayments to support their testing and integration with the scheme.