I was intrigued to hear that a next-generation £5.5 billion automated payments system was switched on by BACS, the inter-bank clearing service, earlier this month.
The system, which replaces an old mainframe-based system that has been in use since the 1990s, is designed to handle the same-day rapid clearing service that the banks are hoping to introduce in November of next year.
Developed by a company called Voca, the payments engine is now handling around 90 per cent of wages and salaries, and around 70 per cent of household bills.
The system is billed as highly secure and future-proof, and more than capable of handling the 12 per cent year-on-year growth in bank payments, as well as the banks plans to introduce automated euro payments as part of SEPA, the Single Euro Payments Area project.
According to Voca, the system, which was built using open standards technology and developed in Java, runs on the latest latest Oracle 10g database. It runs on two Sun F25000 servers configured as a cluster and is said to be the the largest J2EE business application ever...