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Who we regulate

Eight payment systems have been designated by HM Treasury

Link cash machines are a designated payment system

Our goal is to promote competition and innovation and to ensure payments systems are operated and developed in the interests of the people and businesses that use them.

The measures we have set out recognise that payment systems must be resilient, competitive, dynamic and respond to the needs of the people and businesses using them.

Systems need to be transparent to gain trust and accessible to a wide range of businesses and service-users who in turn can deliver competitive services to consumers.

Designated payment systems

We can only use our regulatory powers in relation to payment systems designated by HM Treasury, which keeps this list under review.

Our concurrent competition powers apply more broadly to any payment system active in the UK.

The designated payment systems are:

  • Bacs
  • C&C (Cheque & Credit)
  • CHAPS
  • Faster Payments Scheme (FPS)
  • LINK
  • Northern Ireland Cheque Clearing (NICC)
  • MasterCard
  • Visa Europe (Visa)

Designated payment systems in more detail

Bacs is the interbank system that processes payments through two principal electronic payment schemes: Direct Debit, which is used by individuals to pay bills, and Bacs Direct Credits, which are used by businesses to pay employee salaries and wages. Bacs Payment Schemes Ltd (BPSL) operates the Bacs payment system. www.bacs.co.uk

CHAPS is the UK’s real-time, high-value sterling interbank payment system, where payments are settled over the Bank's Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) infrastructure. CHAPS processes both wholesale (eg, international payments) and retail payments (eg, house purchases). CHAPS Clearing Company Ltd operates the CHAPS payment system. www.chapsco.co.uk

Cheque & Credit (C&C) is the interbank payment system in England, Scotland and Wales that processes cheques and other paper instruments. C&CCCL (Cheque and Credit Clearing Company Ltd) operates the C&C payment system. www.chequeandcredit.co.uk

Faster Payments Scheme (FPS) provides near real-time payments as well as standing orders. Almost all internet and telephone banking payments in the UK are now processed via FPS. It is also used by PSPs to process other services. Faster Payments Scheme Ltd (FPSL) operates the FPS payment system. www.fasterpayments.org.uk

LINK is the interbank payment system that enables you to take cash out of your bank accounts (and other activities) using the LINK network of ATMs in the UK. LINK Scheme operates the LINK payment system. www.link.co.uk

Northern Ireland Cheque Clearing (NICC) processes cheques and other paper instruments in Northern Ireland. Belfast Bankers’ Clearing Company Ltd (BBCCL) operates the NICC payment system. Read more about BBCCL.

MasterCard is the card payment system operated by MasterCard Inc. www.mastercard.co.uk

Visa is the card payment system operated in the UK jointly by Visa Europe and Visa UK. www.visa.co.uk