The Payments Council has signed a contract for Experian to create a major database of payment methods and details.

The central biller database will go live late next year, said the Council, and it will be used as an industry database of transactions made on online and telephone banking.

The Payments Council was created by the banking industry four years ago in an attempt to improve how systems and services address the needs of service providers and citizens.

The new database will improve the accuracy of transactions, the Payments Council said. It will collect, verify and standardise information from banks on how their corporate customers receive payments, and it is an initiative from the Council’s recently-published National Payments Plan.

It is intended to improve information on display – for example via simplified drop-down menus – which in turn may mean customers are more likely to make the right payments.

Experian estimates that up to a quarter of customer references are invalid or incorrectly formatted, increasing the time it takes to credit payments and sometimes preventing them from being credited altogether.

Hilary Plattern, head of strategy at the Payments Council, said bill payers will have “increased confidence in the accuracy of the information they use”, and companies receiving the money “can be confident their customers are using up-to-date bank account and sort code details, as well as correctly-formatted references”.