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 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. Pay.UK operates the Bacs payment system. www.wearepay.uk
CHAPS is the UK’s real-time, high-value sterling payment system, where payments are settled over the Bank of England (the Bank's) Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) infrastructure. CHAPS processes both wholesale (eg, international payments) and retail payments (eg, house purchases).
In November 2017 the Bank took over the operation of the CHAPS payment system. Despite being the operator of CHAPS, the Bank does not fall within the scope of PSR's regulatory powers. However, the PSR continues to regulate the remaining participants in the CHAPS payment system.
Cheque & Credit (C&C) is the interbank payment system in England, Scotland and Wales that processes cheques and other paper instruments. Pay.UK operates the C&C payment system. www.wearepay.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. Pay.UK operates the FPS payment system. www.wearepay.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
Visa is the card payment system operated in the UK jointly by Visa Europe and Visa UK. www.visa.co.uk
The Sterling Fnality Payment System became a designated payment system for our regulation on 31 August 2022. It is a payment system which uses Distributed Ledger Technology to transfer funds between its participants. It is primarily focussed on wholesale and high value payments, backed by central bank money: https://www.fnality.org/home.
The designated payment systems originally also included The Belfast Bankers’ Clearing Company (Northern Ireland Cheque Clearing), which no longer oversees cheque and paper credit clearing.