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General directions

Individual General Directions and requirements may include explanatory notes to clarify how we will apply a rule.

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.

These General Directions are the revised versions that we published in March 2020. We adopted the original version of these General Directions on 18 March 2015, and modified some provisions in May 2016.

In March 2018 we consulted on reviewing these Directions to ensure that they remained relevant and proportionate, reflecting market realities, changes to legislation and potential future developments. In March 2019 we published our decision on the review into our ‘day one’ Directions and consultation on the proposed Directions.

We published the revised Directions in March 2020 along with our response paper RP20/1, explaining how we considered consultation responses to finalise the wording of the Directions. 

Summary of General Directions 

General Direction 1: Cooperative relationships with the PSR

Requires participants and regulated persons to have an open and cooperative relationship with the PSR and to notify us of anything we would reasonably expect notice of.  

General Direction 2: Access (FSBRA)

Requires the operator of Bacs, Faster Payments, and Cheque and Credit to have access requirements which are ‘POND’ (proportionate, objective and non-discriminatory), publish these access requirements, notify us of any changes, and provide us with an annual report containing access information.  

General Direction 3: Access (PSRs 2017)

Requires payment systems regulated under Regulation 103 of the Payment Services Regulations 2017 to notify us of changes to their access requirements, and to provide us with an annual report containing access information.

General Direction 4: Service-user interests (interbank payment systems)

Requires the operators of Bacs, Faster Payments, Cheque and Credit, and LINK to make transparent decisions, consider service-users’ interests in their decision-making processes, and publish forward-looking annual reports on stakeholder engagement activities.  

General Direction 5: Conflict of interest (FSBRA)

Requires the operators of Bacs, Faster Payments, Cheque and Credit, and LINK to take all reasonable steps to avoid conflicts of interest between operators of payment systems and providers of central infrastructure to those same payment systems.