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General directions

Individual general directions and requirements may include written guidance to clarify how a rule will be applied.

We decide which is the most appropriate and proportionate way to intervene – a rule or a decision – based on the specific circumstances of the matter.  The procedures we follow when adopting rules and decisions are set out in our Powers and Procedures Guidance.

We adopted these general directions on 18 March 2015, and modified some provisions which take effect on 31 May 2016.

In March 2018 we consulted on reviewing these directions to ensure that they remain relevant and proportionate, reflecting market realities, changes to legislation and potential future developments.

We will issue a policy statement in due course summarising responses to this consultation and our views. Any changes to the Directions will be subject to separate consultation on the proposed revised text of the Directions later in 2018.

You can read our General directions as they currently stand in full here: 

General directions

A summary of the General directions can be found further down this page.

General Provisions

Application of the general directions and general requirements on participation in regulated payment systems (General Provisions GP1, GP2, GP3, GP4 and GP5) – this sets out general provisions which apply to all general directions and a central glossary.

Transitional Provisions

General directions on transitional provisions on access to and governance of regulated payment systems:

  • Transitional Provisions TP1 and TP2 relate to the compliance reports to be provided in 2015 under General Directions 2, 3 and 4.
  • Transitional Provision TP3 relates to the compliance reports to be provided in 2016 under these General Directions.

Summary of General directions

General direction 1 (Participants’ relationships with the PSR)

How we expect participants to interact with us by having an open and cooperative relationship.

General direction 2 (Access)

Requires Bacs, CHAPS, C&CC and FPS to have objective, risk-based and publicly disclosed access requirements which permit fair and open access (the ‘Access Rule’) and to report on compliance with the Access Rule (the ‘Reporting Rule’).

This includes modifications to the compliance reporting obligation which take effect on 31 May 2016.

General direction 3 (Access)

Requires LINK, MasterCard and Visa to publicly disclose their access requirements and to report on compliance with Part 8 of the PSRs 2009 (‘Reporting Rule’).

This includes modifications to the compliance reporting obligation which take effect on 31 May 2016.

General direction 4 (Governance) – the service-user direction

Requires Bacs, CHAPS, C&CC, FPS and LINK to ensure appropriate representation of service-users’ interests in the decision-making processes of their governing bodies and to report on compliance with this direction.

This includes modifications to the compliance reporting obligation which take effect on 31 May 2016.

General direction 5 (Governance) – conflicts of interest direction

Requires Bacs, CHAPS, C&CC, FPS and LINK to take all reasonable steps to avoid certain conflicts of interest between operators of payment systems and providers of central infrastructure to those same payment systems.

General direction 6 (Governance) – transparency direction

Requires Bacs, CHAPS, C&CC, FPS and LINK to publish the minutes of their governing bodies.