The plan details landmark changes which have addressed some critical issues across the payments sector over the last 12 months. It sets out the route the PSR will take this year towards continuing to realise its vision of payment systems that are: reliable, safe and fit for purpose for everybody that uses and relies on them.
"We were created to shake up a sector that was dominated by major players, and we have done just that.
"By opening up access in payment systems, we’ve made good progress on levelling the playing field. This is critical to boosting competition in retail banking and improving the range and quality of services that consumers receive.
"We’ve also made a positive difference for people to protect them from Authorised Push Payment scams (APP scams). We are bringing the right people together to put protections in place to help prevent APP scams from happening, and reduce their impact when they do happen.
"But we can’t sit and watch from the side-lines. It’s important that whilst recognising our achievements, we stay involved to ensure that the pieces of work we have committed to are successfully delivered."
This is demonstrated by the number of projects which are coming to fruition in 2018. The PSR will continue to oversee:
- The procurement process in infrastructure for payment systems. This will ensure the objective of removing barriers and opening up the industry to new and innovative technology providers remains in the foreground. This should help alternative providers create new services and improve existing ones - allowing greater choice and better quality for everybody that uses payment systems including: consumers, businesses and charities
- The establishment of the New Payment System Operator (NPSO) and the introduction of the New Payments Architecture (NPA). The PSR remains committed to standing behind the delivery of a blueprint, which could transform the UK interbank payment systems. The NPA will focus on giving users more control over the timing and amount of their payments with request to pay - allowing businesses to reduce the chances of payments not being made. It will also help to fight fraud by introducing a confirmation of payee service - enabling consumers to have greater confidence that they are paying who they intend to.
- The development of a reimbursement model for the victims of authorised push payment scams - reducing the number of consumers affected by this scam and minimising the harm caused.
The PSR’s Annual Plan also sets out a further commitment to continue the trio of exploratory work it started last year: data associated with payments, changing competitive dynamics, and consumer protection. These are significant pieces of work that will give the PSR detailed insight and help it understand how best to deliver its objectives.
The plan also aims to explore wider issues relating to the way the cards market works. The PSR will actively monitor industry changes such as the provision of ATMs in the UK, and has already been very clear in setting out key requirements of LINK - the UK's largest ATM scheme - to protect the current, widespread free access to cash. The PSR has confirmed that it will intervene if it believes the current broad geographical spread of free-to-use ATMs is threatened.
The PSR will not shy away from direct intervention, particularly when the interests of those that use payment systems are concerned. This includes intervention using its competition powers.