Innovation and changeDigital TransformationGovernment trials accepting payments through digital wallet platform

Government trials accepting payments through digital wallet platform

Following the initial trial, the plan is to roll mobile digital wallet payments across to local government, police and NHS organisations within a year

Using government services will be even more convenient now, owing to the digital wallet trial launched by the government. The Minister for Implementation, Oliver Dowden, has announced that the government will now allow payments to be made with mobile phones through Apple Pay and Google Pay.

An initial trial of four government services being payable through Apple Pay and Google Pay has been launched.

Oliver Dowden said: “We’re focused on making access to government services as easy as possible. And introducing mobile payment to GOV.UK Pay will also make transactions more secure.

“This is another example of how we are working smarter as a government – improving services for people as well as reducing fraud and costs.”

Focusing on travel services

The Global Entry Service, the Registered Traveller Service and the Electronic Visa Waiver Service are the government services included in the initial trial. The Global Entry Services enables UK citizens to get expedited entry to the United States while the Registered Traveller Service makes it easier for frequent visitors from non-EU countries to enter the UK using modern E-Gates at the border. The Electronic Visa Waiver Service allows people from four countries in the Middle East to travel more easily to the UK.

The only non-travel service in the initial trial will be Online basic DBS checks. These are carried out before people are allowed to work in certain sectors.

Digital wallet platforms

Digital wallet platforms like Apple and Google Pay allow the use of fingerprint and facial recognition technology through users’ phones for payments. The government says paying in this way will be both more secure and more convenient for people.

Apple Pay allows users to make payments in person, in iOS apps, and on the web. It is supported on the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac. Apple Pay was the leading payment service according to a 2018 report by Consumer Reports. Apple Pay has 390 million paid subscriptions globally and is on track to reach 10 billion transactions.

Google Pay enables users to make payments with Android phones, tablets or watches. The Google Pay app also added support for boarding passes and event tickets in May 2018.

According to the Mobile Operating System Market Share in United Kingdom – April 2019, Andriod and iOS have a market share of 50.64% and 48.55% in the UK respectively.

Increase the convenience and security

The new payment service would reduce fraud and cut costs, according to Oliver Dowden.

The government launched its online payments platform GOV.UK Pay for services with credit and debit cards in 2016, and so far, more than 2.9 million transactions have been made.

Lead product manager for GOV.UK Pay, Till Wirth, said: “Allowing people to pay for government services through Apple Pay and Google Pay means they won’t have to enter their credit or debit card information when making payments. This innovation will increase the convenience and security of GOV.UK Pay for users and hopefully make their experience online a lot easier.”

The UK government, the NHS in particular, has been widely criticised for its slow progress in adapting to modern technology and the lack of digital literacy amongst the workforce. Around, 130,000 pagers – largest in the world, are still being used at the NHS. They aim to decommission pagers by the end of 2021. Next in the radar for phasing out are fax machines.

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