• The PSR outlines its plans for the coming year, including acting today to improve outcomes now but also taking the important steps required to improve outcomes in the future.
  • Since 2015, the PSR has been instrumental in making the payments industry better so that people and businesses making payments have better choices and protections.  
  • The PSR aims to make sure there are real benefits that work for everyone – whether that’s using digital payments, accessing cash, or being protected from fraud.


The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has published its key aims, activities and expected costs for the year 2021/22.  

The PSR regulates 40 billion payments worth more than £92 trillion each year. Its role is to provide the focus and expertise necessary to make sure that the systems – and markets they support – work for people, businesses and the economy. 

In 2021/22, the PSR will focus on work that will improve outcomes by encouraging competition and innovation where it is needed most and putting the interests of everyone who uses payment systems first. By doing this, it wants to see people and businesses benefit from more choice and exciting new ways to pay. 

The pandemic has changed the way many people live their lives and how businesses operate. Increased reliance on the internet and digital communication is shaping the way we socialise and the way we pay for things. 

Against this backdrop, the PSR will focus on issues that affect people and businesses now while pushing ahead with important work required to improve outcomes in the future. In 2021/22, the PSR will continue to build on work in areas like scam prevention and access to cash to make sure that no one is left behind and people can access the payment methods they want and need. 

Ensuring the successful renewal of the UK’s interbank payment systems by Pay.UK will be a key focus. The New Payments Architecture has the potential to support greater competition in the payments market which will give people and businesses more choice to use payment services and systems that work for them.  

One way to offer increased choice is through new payment methods. The regulator will consider what barriers there might be to bank-to-bank payments playing a greater role in everyday payments, offering alternatives to card or cash payments. Part of that work will explore what levels of protection are in place for people making payments this way and consider whether more are needed. The PSR also plans to finalise work on its future strategy, as well as assessing emerging innovations like cryptoassets and what its role might be in their regulation. 

Effective engagement and prioritisation are central to the regulator’s plans for keeping pace with the demands of an ever-evolving landscape and realising its objectives. But the PSR will also step in and use a range of formal powers to effect change and secure compliance where necessary.  

In the summer, the regulator will publish its annual report on how it has performed against its plans for 2020/21. 

Chris Hemsley, Managing Director at the PSR, said: 

‘Greater competition and innovation in payments can significantly benefit us all and help the UK’s economy recover from the impacts of the pandemic.  

‘Whether it’s cash, cards or interbank, we want to see the systems we regulate adding real value to people’s lives while supporting an innovative, competitive payments market. We also have an opportunity to address some of the issues – like scams and access to cash - we see in payments today, so that outcomes for everyone improve over time. 

‘We have set out our plans to prioritise our work between the more immediate challenges we face now, and the changes needed to make UK payment systems fit for the future.’