Payments firm seeks banking licence as industry shake-up gathers momentum

A UK payments firm is applying for a banking licence to provide a full range of bank services to businesses, joining a growing list of firms targeting the area as the industry reshapes after the financial crisis.

Voice Commerce Group, an unlisted payments firm that is interested in buying bigger rival RBS WorldPay, said on Monday it had appointed law firm Mills & Reeve to get a license from the Financial Services Authority to operate as a business bank.

“There are some real opportunities. There's a sea change in the way that financial services are going to be provided to businesses and consumers over the next 12 to 18 months,” said Nick Ogden, chief executive officer of Voice Commerce.

It is likely to take about six months to get the licence and offer a range of services first in Britain, he said. He is aiming for about 50,000 customers by the end of 2011 and and also has sights on expanding in Europe and the US, he said.

Voice Commerce was formed in 2005 and provides mobile financial, payment, identity and verification services.