No more waiting: electronic cash transfers hit the fast track

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The Independent Online

Cash transfers over the phone or online are to become faster, Apacs, the UK payments association, has said.

From 27 May it should take only one day, instead of the current three, for money to be moved electronically – including by standing order – from one account to another.

A new system has been set up, at a cost of more than £100m, to cope with future increases in the number of electronic money transfers, as cheques become defunct.

At present, phone and internet payments represent 4 per cent of all payments in the UK system. But the popularity of online banking is growing all the time, with up to 17 million Britons using internet banks in 2006. Standing orders make up around 9 per cent of all bank payments.

The decision by the banks to speed up payments was prompted by pressure from the Office of Fair Trading, which said in 2005 that transfer times should be faster.

Apacs said the project had taken three years as it was "massive and complex".

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