PSR publishes remedies consultation for its card-acquiring market review

26/01/2022

The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has published its initial remedies consultation for its card-acquiring market review.  

Every time somebody makes a card payment – for example, when buying their weekly groceries – the merchant uses card-acquiring services to accept the payment. These services are critical to the UK economy because they enable consumers and businesses to use their cards to pay for goods and services.   

The PSR’s review published in November found that the supply of card-acquiring services does not work well for merchants with annual card turnover up to £50 million. These merchants could make savings by shopping around or negotiating with their current supplier, but many do not.  

Today’s publication sets out proposals to improve services and choice for merchants. To make sure the market works better for merchants, the PSR is considering the following four potential remedies: 

  • Greater transparency: to help merchants understand the pricing elements of any services they use, card-acquirers should provide summary information boxes setting out key price and non-price service elements of card-acquiring services. These should be in both bespoke form and published with general information in generic format.  
  • Access to comparison tools: like price comparison websites, the PSR wants the industry to help stimulate Digital Comparison Tools (DCTs) for merchants so they can see whether they are getting the best deal.
  • Greater engagement: to help merchants know when their contracts are due for renewal, there needs to be an agreed standard of messaging by providers that will help merchants understand that their contract is due for renewal and the terms of the contract on an annual basis.