Open banking payments – Finally, a real alternative to cards for e-commerce and contact centre payments

By Ordo
After twenty years of progressively complex security fixes being applied to card and bank payments, making life more expensive and complex for both businesses and their customers, new open banking payments regulation and technology has allowed innovative regulated payments institutions like Ordo to start again from scratch. They now offer new open banking enabled payments options for businesses that are not only easy to use, but inherently more safe and secure for both the business and their customers.

As businesses have digitised, going from predominantly face to face to online and contact centre interactions, payment have had to follow suit. Realistically, the only option for taking these remote payments has been with credit and debit cards. But cards are expensive and increasingly complex to support operationally. New open banking payments regulation and technology has allowed innovative regulated payments institutions like Ordo to deliver attractive new alternatives. These services allow businesses to collect payments for only a small, fixed fee, and without the customer experience difficulties of cards.

  • When taking payments online or over the phone, the only practical option to date has been debit or credit card. But card payments are costly (businesses pay a percentage of value and have the growing overhead of card data security protections), not guaranteed (fraudulent card use means businesses don’t always get paid), take time to arrive in a business’s bank account, and are getting harder for end customers to use with the roll out of Strong Customer Authentication.
  • New open banking regulations and technology is changing this, allowing a new generation of regulated payments providers like Ordo to let businesses collect these types of payments cost effectively, securely and easily directly from their customers without the use of cards.
  • Services like Ordo’s e-commerce and request for payment solutions charge a small flat fee per payment, allow money to flow irrevocably, in real time, directly from the customer’s bank account into the business’s account with no exchange of bank or card details and the customer authorising their payment directly with their own bank. All the customer needs is access to their mobile or internet banking channel. There’s no registration or app download needed. There is no information for the customer to enter, either about who they need to pay, or how they need to pay them, just a simple authorisation with their bank using their fingerprint, face-id or password.
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For e-commerce and contact centre payments, cards have been the only payment option but are costly to businesses and increasingly difficult to use for consumers.

Over the last twenty years businesses have digitised and moved many of their customer interactions from face to face to contact centre and online. In parallel with this move, their payments have gone from predominantly ‘card holder present’, where the customer can simply pass over their payment details securely embedded in their payment card and authenticate their payment via chip & pin to ‘cardholder not present’ where the customer has to type in or read out their card details, name, expiry date etc., and then authenticate the transaction as best they can with their CVV2 number from the back of their card.

With limited other viable digital payment options available to businesses these ‘cardholder not present’ transactions have been the only game in town. Given this limited choice its unsurprising that using card payment in these circumstances feels like a poor solution:

  • Taking any card payments is expensive, costing anywhere between 0.5 and 2.5 percent of the transaction value as a direct fee, and given the security risks of taking these payments remotely, the card fees can be even higher.
  • The indirect costs to businesses of taking and securing these card payments has continued to grow. The costs to businesses of complying with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) continue to grow as fraudsters have developed and enhanced their ability to harvest stored card details via business data breeches and security infrastructure or process weaknesses. Also, the costs of failure, fines imposed by data protection and privacy watchdogs, have also become eye-watering for large companies that have failed to properly secure their systems
  • Day to day operational costs have also increased, particularly in the contact centre environment where, to preserve internal staff security, customer’s card details can no longer be handled by agents and need to be captured via Interactive Voice Response (IVR)/DTMF systems that require a customer to enter card details over the phone without the agent hearing them. Most recently, with the mass migration to home working from Covid lockdowns, the technicalities of this requirement have acted as significant barriers to effective contact centre working from home.
  • Because of the inherent security weakness of these remote transactions, the risk of fraudulent card transactions remains. This is a cost that is ultimately born by the business concerned through chargebacks and potentially higher card fees. Often linked to this problem is the delay in receipt of cash as card companies normally settle payments to their merchants a number of days after the card transaction has been authorised or charge a premium fee for quicker settlement
  • Remote card transactions, whether on-line, or via a contact centre DTMF solution are also harder for the end customer. There are significant barriers to transaction completion for end customers who have to enter all their card details and more to for every transaction. With the final implementation of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) regulations in 2021 these hurdles will grow even higher, causing increased purchase abandonment and customer dissatisfaction, even when card details have been held-on-file by a merchant from a previous transaction – each subsequent payment transaction triggered by a customer action (for example an insurance mid-contract amendment or ad hoc purchase, rather than a regular subscription) will still need to be authenticated by the customer using SCA (see box: Strong Customer Authentication).

Given this combination of direct and indirect costs, poor customer experience and purchase abandonment, there has to be a better solution for businesses to collect remote payments. While there is a substantially more cost-effective way of collecting payments, the Faster Payments Service, its limited feature set and growing security concerns, makes its use on a standalone basis a non-starter for e-commerce and contact centre payments (see boxes: Faster Payments & Push Payments Fraud).

teamwork is important

Open banking regulation and technologies has created new options for businesses

New open banking FCA regulated payment institutions, like Ordo, are using open banking and the Faster Payments Service to finally deliver an alternative to card payments for e-commerce and contact centres that massively reduces direct and indirect costs and risks to businesses, as well as providing an easy to use and safer experience for their customers than current card-based solutions (see box: Open Banking Payments).

Ordo’s innovative e-commerce and real time request for payment (contact centre) solutions have been built to exploit the following key features of open banking enabled Faster Payments:

  • The underlying low cost base of the Faster Payments Service, which, unlike the global card schemes, charges banks only a small fixed fee per transaction irrespective of the value of that transaction.⦁    The potentially much reduced flow of account details between parties in the open banking payments journey. Only the paying customer’s bank sees all account details, the receiving account information being provided securely from the open banking payments institution (e.g. Ordo) and the source account being selected directly and securely by the paying customer within their own bank’s mobile or internet banking app.
  • The irrevocability of Faster Payments meaning that once a payer’s bank authorises and makes a payment, there is no mechanism for reversing or clawing back the payment, eliminating the risks of fraudulent payments for the collecting business.
  • The security and privacy led end-to-end designs of the Ordo open banking payments solutions, ensuring that both the business’s and end-customer’s payments information is kept secure, allowing all the benefits of speed, low cost and irrevocability of Faster Payments without any of the fraud risks associated with its normal day to day use.
male female business people working tablet office

There are now better payments solutions for businesses and their customers

Exploiting the regulation and technology of open banking, new regulated businesses like Ordo are now delivering businesses e-commerce and request for payment (contact centre) solutions that outperform card payments for them and their customers in every dimension:

  • Rather than a percentage of transaction fee that rises with transaction value, Ordo charges businesses only a simple flat fee per payment (never more than 20p) irrespective of the transaction value. Ordo can do this because as a regulated Payments Initiation Service Provider (PISP) it initiates Faster Payments from the end customer’s bank account directly to the requesting business’s bank account to deliver funds, never handling them itself. All consumers and many businesses also get the underlying Faster Payments at zero cost, or as a maximum, as a small fixed per payment fee from their bank.
  • With Ordo, indirect costs are all but eliminated. As there is no exchange of payment card or account details between the business, their end customers or even Ordo there is no customer payments data to secure, no requirement for PCI DSS compliance and no risk of fines following a data breach for these transactions. The Ordo solutions also enable the collecting business to provide an indelible transaction or customer reference passes with the underlying Faster Payment to support automatic payment reconciliation on receipt into their bank account.
  • This open banking enabled payments solution can also reduce business operating costs. For example, in the contact centre environment, an agent can trigger the generation of a request for payment that is sent directly to their customer. The customer simply opens the message, selects their own bank and authorises the real time payment to the business already set up by Ordo from their mobile or internet banking app. As soon as the payment has been made the agent is informed and the customer call can be completed knowing that irrevocable funds have been received.
  • Payments fraud risks to businesses are also eliminated. They know definitively whether payment has been made or not. Ordo informs the business in real time that payment has been made so the business can be absolutely confident that the money is in their bank account and that there are no circumstances under which the money can be clawed-back, or the payment reversed.
  • Finally, and potentially most importantly, the end customer’s payments experience has been radically simplified. With the open banking enabled Ordo solution, the end customer does not enter any card or bank account details. They simply follow a secure and personalised, single use, link from the business’s e-commerce site or from a payment request message sent by the business. The link takes them to the Ordo web environment where they choose their bank from one of the forty plus UK banks supported by Ordo. Ordo then automatically opens the customer’s mobile or internet banking app and passes all the information required to make the payment to the customer’s bank using the open banking security protocols. Provided the customer is happy to proceed they authorise payment directly with their bank using their normal security credentials (like fingerprint or face-id), and the payment is made directly to the requesting business.

To find out how Ordo can help your business:

About Ordo

Ordo was founded by the former executive management team of the Faster Payments Scheme in 2018 to use open banking payments to create new, more cost-effective and secure payments solutions for businesses small and large and their customers and launched its first payments solutions in 2020.

Ordo is an FCA authorised payments institution (Firm Reference Number 836070 on the Financial Conduct Authority register).

Ordo is backed by Nationwide Building Society Ventures, CGI (The global technology provider) and private investors.

To learn more about Ordo, and what its solutions could do for you and your business go to For a demonstration email or to see for yourself what we do, signup as a personal or business user at or download the Ordo app from the Apple App Store.

The Faster Payments Service, launched in 2008, provides all UK consumers and businesses with real time, 24×7, irrevocable payments between all UK bank accounts. The service is widely used to pay invoices, settle card bills and make person to person payments. In 2020 Faster Payments processed 2.9 billion payments between bank accounts moving over £2.1 trillion.

To make a Faster Payment the payer (who is sending the payment) needs to provide the Bank Sort Code and Account Number of the account they wish to pay (the payee’s account). Increasingly, payers also need to know the account name of the account they wish to pay, although this is not used by the core Faster Payments Service. The payer, normally at the request of the payee, can also add an optional 18 character payment reference, to help reconciliation of payments that arrive in the payee’s bank account.

When the payer makes the payment, mainly on their mobile banking or internet banking app, their bank will confirm to them in real time that not only has the money been sent, but it has been acknowledged and received by the payee’s bank and normally immediately applied to the payee’s bank account. This process is completed by the Faster Payments System and the two involved banks in a matter of milliseconds.

From the payee’s perspective, as soon as the payer has made the payment, the money is credited to their bank account. Not only does this happen in real time, 24×7, but the payment is irrevocable. This means that unless the payee agrees in a subsequent discussion with their bank that a payment has been made to them in error, the payment cannot be reversed or charged back in anyway.

The Faster Payments Service is the underlying payment technology used by open banking payments services like Ordo.

Push Payments Frauds are frauds against the senders of payments, usually sent through the Faster Payments Service, where a payer has been persuaded, tricked or misled into either sending a payment for a fraudulent service, or a legitimate payment to a fraudster’s account. In the first half of 2020 reported losses associated with these Authorised Push Payments Frauds were £207.8m. Only £73.1m of these losses were returned to customers by their banks, the remaining loss of £134.7m had to be absorbed by the impacted consumers and small businesses themselves.

Many of these frauds involve the interception and changing of the Bank Sort Code and Bank Account Number that has been sent by the payee to the payer. A consumer might have a computer virus on their PC that checks each incoming email for invoices and bank details, replacing them with a fraudster’s account. Many of these receiving accounts are known as ‘mule’ accounts where potentially vulnerable consumers have been persuaded to make their bank account available to the fraudster, typically for a slice of the payment as reward. The ability of the fraudsters to quickly move payments around the UK banking systems from mule account to account makes them hard to catch.

The introduction of Confirmation of Payee services is making this form of fraud harder, as the payer will need to know the name of the receiving account. The payer may be alerted if this is different from the name of the person they thought they were paying, but social engineering, where a fraudster may suggest that the unusual name of the account is actually a security feature, means this is not a perfect protection.

Although the risk of this type of fraud sits legally with the paying customer, when these events hit the business trying to collect payment is also indirectly impacted by the loss to their customer, delaying the payment they were due to get, and negatively impacting customer relationships.

Once hit by such a fraud, this often drives understandable protective behaviour from payers, like calling up a business to validate payment details, or even making a small test payment and then calling up the business, that drives further cost and inefficiency on to the business trying to get paid.

By protecting the payee’s bank details from any interception, open banking payments services like Ordo can prevent many of these types of fraud.

Confirmation of Payee (CoP) has been introduced by the UK’s largest banks following regulatory action by the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR). This regulation requires the largest banks to ask their paying customers for the account title of any payment they are planning to make through Faster Payments before a payment can be made.

The bank asks the payer to enter the destination account title as part of the payment set up. The bank then checks with the destination bank to see if the title is correct. If the destination bank is participating in CoP they will either confirm a match, suggest a close match and play back the correct title, or deny a match.

Once this result is passed back to the payer, unless there is a full match, they can only proceed with the payment at their own risk.

While CoP is improving the security of payments, it is also making them much harder to set up for consumers and does not have wide coverage beyond the UK’s largest banks. Getting the account title correct is also harder than you might expect with many banks only accepting as valid one of a variety of account titles they use in different situations internally in the bank. It’s often the case that the title on a cheque book differs to that on a debit card, and also differs from the title used in payments or bank statements. Where the payee goes by a different name (e.g., Mike rather than Michael) this can result in failed matching – leading the payer to doubt the validity of the transaction.

The Ordo open banking payments services deliver an easier to use and more secure experience than CoP. When a consumer is presented with a payment to authorise, Ordo shows the payer the account title they are going to pay in advance. They don’t need to have entered it themselves, and the title shown is collected directly from the payee’s bank using a secure open banking transaction meaning there is no opportunity for corruption or interception.

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is being progressively introduced by banks and other financial institutions to better secure bank and card payments. The requirement was introduced into the EU’s Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and has been incorporated into UK law.

SCA is required when most telephone or online bank payments and card transactions are being made by a consumer. SCA is typically implemented by asking a consumer to validate each payment they make through a banking app, or by quoting a one-time code sent to them by SMS or email, whenever they make a payment. While there are some exemptions for very low value payments, and beneficiaries the consumer nominates as ‘trusted’, as SCA is fully implemented in early 2021, more and more e-commerce payments will require more complex additional steps by the customer if they are to go through.

SCA requires the customer to use two factor authentication (2FA) of payments, providing two of something they know (like a password), something they have (like a smartphone or credit card), or something they are (like a fingerprint) for every payment they authorise.

This complexity, while protecting everyone from fraud, will almost certainly increase drop out and abandonment rates for e-commerce transactions.

One area where SCA works quite well however is in payments authorisation for Faster Payments and open banking payments in mobile banking apps. The much more secure operating environment of smart phones and their carefully engineered use of fingerprint and face-id means that full SCA authorisation of a payment can be achieved with minimum impact on the paying customer.

In payments made with open banking payments services like Ordo, SCA is used in the simplest and most secure way for consumers. Consumers only authenticate directly with their bank via mobile banking or internet banking apps, delivering the security of SCA in a simple user experience.

In 2016, following an enquiry into competition in retail banking, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), placed a number of regulatory requirements on the UK’s nine largest banks to open up banking to new competitors. One of these requirements was break down the banks’ monopoly on payments by adopting open banking. Over the same period the EU Second Payments Services Directive (PSD2) was introduced into UK law. PSD2, going beyond the CMA 9 largest banks, requires all UK payment account providing institutions to open up their payments as well.

The CMA established the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) to build the standards and common technology to enable these payments, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as the UK’s financial regulator, set up an authorisation process for businesses that wished to become regulated providers of these services (Payment Initiation Service Providers – PISPs).

Appropriately authorised PISPs, like Ordo, are now able to set up payments directly with their customer’s selected banks, where the customer can then authorise the payment to be made in real time, directly from their bank account to another bank account via Faster Payments. In 2020 over 3 million open banking payments were made.

Ordo, as a PISP has direct secure connections to over 40 UK banks where it can set up payments for its customers.

In Ordo, payment initiation works as follows:

  • Ordo presents the payment to be made (as a result of a business’s request for payment, or an e-commerce payment) to the customer.

    ⦁   If they are happy to pay, they select the bank they wish to use from Ordo’s list of 40+ consumer and small business banks.

  • Ordo securely communicates all the payment details to the selected bank and opens up the consumer’s mobile banking app or internet banking service on their phone or PC.

  • The consumer’s bank validates the identity of the consumer in the normal way (e.g., fingerprint, face-id or password) and asks their approval to make the payment.

  • Provided approval is given, the bank then executes the payment from the consumer’s selected account to the payee account securely set up by the payee with Ordo.

  • The bank then informs Ordo that the payment has completed successfully, and Ordo informs the paying consumer and the payee business, that raised the request, that payment has been completed.

As a regulated entity, using open banking payments initiation, Ordo delivers secure by design and easy to use by design payments services to its business customers, and their end customers.


Open banking
November 21, 2021
After twenty years of progressively complex security fixes being applied to card and bank payments,...
Open banking
November 21, 2021
After twenty years of progressively complex security fixes being applied to card and bank payments,...
Open banking
November 21, 2021
After twenty years of progressively complex security fixes being applied to card and bank payments,...