Genevieve Marjoribanks Westminster Business eForum speech – 19 May 2020

19/05/2020

This is the text of the speech as drafted and may differ from the delivered version. This speech was delivered at the Westminster Business eForum: Next steps for digital payments in the UK - innovation, inclusion, security and regulation, on 19 May 2020. 



Good morning, and thank you for inviting me to speak here today. My name is Genevieve Marjoribanks and I’m Head of Policy at the Payment Systems Regulator.

So much has happened in the past few weeks that has led to widespread changes to our ways of working. Reflecting on the changes we’ve all embraced, and with this being my first digitally presented keynote, I want to talk about innovation in payments.

Whether protecting access to cash in isolated communities or working to prevent authorised push payment fraud, we are working to support the smooth functioning of the UK economy during one of its biggest ever challenges.

The Coronavirus pandemic is having a devastating effect on people all over the world. Now public bodies and industries have a responsibility to help them recover, and the financial sector is working to offer vital lifelines to consumers in need.

We’ve seen Barclays, NatWest, PayPoint and Sainsbury’s bank support LINK in a pledge to maintain free-to-use ATMs, despite a drop in demand caused by lockdown provisions.

We’ve seen the contactless limit raised, which makes it easier for people to pay for their shopping without having to handle cash or a point of sale terminal.

And we’ve seen innovations like Starling Bank’s Connected card, which allows account holders to give someone they trust a second debit card to buy groceries and other essentials on their behalf.

So, do we need more innovation in payments? For us at the PSR, the answer is decidedly yes! Not innovation just for the sake of innovation, but for the benefits that innovation brings for everyone. And that’s why one of the PSR’s three key objectives is to promote the development of and innovation in payment systems, including the infrastructures that are used for these systems. 

Alongside promoting effective competition and ensuring that payment systems are operated and developed in the interest of users, innovation is at the heart of everything we do. 

New Payments Architecture

So, with that said, I would first like to talk about one of the PSR’s key priorities: the New Payments Architecture, or NPA. 

The Blueprint for the NPA is the product of the Payments Strategy Forum, which involved thousands of hours of collaboration between industry stakeholders and users. The Blueprint outlined an ambitious plan for developing a more innovative and competitive interbank payments environment, underpinned by a resilient and sustainable infrastructure.

It's often said that the UK has consistently been at the forefront of innovation in payments, as shown by the introduction of Faster Payments, FPS, in 2008. At the time, FPS was one of the world’s first 24/7 immediate interbank payment systems. It has now been emulated, in one form or another