The Rise and Fall of Paym: Lessons in Mobile Payment Failure

Key Takeaways:

– Paym, the mobile payment service launched by UK banks, is shutting down due to declining registrations and transactions.
– UK consumers are shifting towards newer forms of mobile payment and accessing Faster Payments through online banking.
– Lack of marketing and industry strategy, as well as difficulty of use, are cited as reasons for Paym’s failure.
– Offering Paym as an open API could have allowed for innovation and transformation.

The Rise and Fall of Paym

Paym was launched in 2014 as a collaborative effort by fifteen of the UK’s biggest banks and building societies. It aimed to provide a convenient and secure mobile payment service for users, allowing them to send and receive money using just their mobile phone number. At its peak, Paym had around 5.8 million registered users, but over time, its popularity waned.

Changing Consumer Trends in Mobile Payments

One of the main reasons for Paym’s decline is the changing consumer trends in mobile payments. With the rise of digital wallets and contactless payments, consumers are now opting for more convenient and seamless payment methods. Services like Apple Pay and Google Pay offer a faster and more integrated experience, allowing users to make payments with just a tap of their phone. Additionally, the availability of Faster Payments through online banking has made traditional mobile payment services like Paym less relevant.

The Importance of Marketing and Industry Strategy

Another factor contributing to Paym’s failure is the lack of effective marketing and industry strategy. While Paym was initially launched with much fanfare, it failed to maintain a strong presence in the market. Many consumers were not aware of its existence or did not understand how to use it. This lack of awareness and education hindered Paym’s growth and adoption.

The Ease of Use Factor

In addition to marketing, the difficulty of use also played a significant role in Paym’s downfall. Many users found the registration and setup process confusing and time-consuming. The need to remember and input long account numbers and sort codes deterred users from using Paym regularly. In contrast, newer mobile payment services offer a more streamlined and user-friendly experience, making them more appealing to consumers.

The Potential of Open APIs for Innovation

One potential solution that could have saved Paym is offering it as an open API. By opening up the platform to developers, Paym could have allowed for innovation and transformation. Developers could have built upon the existing infrastructure and created new and exciting features that would have attracted users. This approach has been successful for other mobile payment services, such as Venmo in the United States, which offers an open API and has seen significant growth as a result.

The Future of Mobile Payments

As Paym shuts down, the future of mobile payments in the UK remains bright. While Paym struggled to keep up with changing consumer trends, newer and more innovative services continue to emerge. Digital wallets, contactless payments, and online banking are becoming the preferred methods of payment for many consumers. The key takeaway from Paym’s failure is the importance of staying ahead of the curve and continuously adapting to meet the evolving needs of consumers.


Paym’s shutdown serves as a cautionary tale for mobile payment services. It highlights the importance of understanding and adapting to changing consumer trends, as well as the need for effective marketing and industry strategy. While Paym had the potential to be a game-changer in the mobile payment space, its failure to keep up with the competition ultimately led to its demise. As the mobile payment landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial for companies to innovate, offer user-friendly experiences, and stay ahead of the curve to succeed in this rapidly changing industry.

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