Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

UK regulator unveils plans to shake up payments industry

Matthew Finnegan | Nov. 18, 2014
Consultation outlines plans to open access and spur innovation in the payments industry.

The new Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has set out plans to overhaul the £75 trillion payments industry through increased innovation and equal access to infrastructure owned by large banks.

The regulator has begun a consultation on its framework ahead of its launch in April next year, as it supports wider efforts by the government to spur competition in the finance sector.

"The systems we have today have been developed incrementally over time by the major banks," said PSR managing director, Hannah Nixon.

"So while they are relatively resilient, they are often treated as back office functions. Competition is limited, decision making opaque, and this is stifling innovation. This has to change."

She added: "I want to see an industry that is responsive to, and focused on, the needs of those using payment services. This will be an industry that encourages and enables competition and innovation, provides value for money, while maintaining reliability and security."

One of PSR's main aims is to open up control and governance of payments systems to all users, not just the major banks which own them. Fairer and more open access to payment systems such as Bacs, Cheque and Credit Clearing, CHAPS and Faster Payments is also required - with new banks typically forced to pay fees to operators for use of this infrastructure. MasterCard, Visa and LINK will also be required to publish their requirements.

The PSR plans include introducing a Payments Strategy Forum to introduce new processes for industry strategy setting with broad service-user representation.

"We want to ensure payment systems foster competition and innovation in the interests of customers." said Andrea Leadsom MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

"In particular, we want to ensure that where smaller firms want direct access to the payment systems, they can get it on a fair and transparent basis."

More information on the consultation, which is open until 12 January 2015, can be found here.


Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.