UK’s Pensions and Welfare Department Eyes DLT for Faster Payments

To keep up with the changing face of payments, the U.K.’s pensions and welfare division of government, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), says it is investigating distributed ledger technology.

In a blog post published late last week, Richard Laycock deputy director at the DWP’s Digital Delivery Shared Platforms, said that improvements are planned across the DWP payments systems to ensure its 20 million customers “receive their payments on time.”

“As we move our Payment Services forward they need to be efficient, modern, fast, scalable, flexible, innovative and available 24/7,” Laycock wrote.

For the updated system, the DWP is investigating various tech trends, including the growing adoption of distributed ledger technology (DLT).

“We are starting to see the first full production [DLT] implementations, such as Santander’s One Pay FX. The benefits include reducing time, cost and failure rate associated with making transactions whilst data is stored on a secure immutable ledger,” according to Laycock.

The department is also to revamp its payments architecture – to introduce “the biggest set of changes to the way UK payment schemes process payments in years.” With a rollout planned to start  in 2021, the DWP will introduce a common payment message standard and consolidate existing schemes. New “overlay” services will also be added, including “request to pay” and “confirmation of payee.”

Open banking – the use of open APIs to allow third-party developers to build apps and services around a banking institution – also offers a way to improve aspects of the DWP’s payment services.

Laycock said:

“I’m keen for us to consider how we can harness the payment innovations coming out of these trends and how we can influence the New Payment Architecture to help shape future of payments across government.”

London image via Shutterstock

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