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Card payments

What they are and how the PSR is involved

What are payment cards and card payment systems?

A payment card is a card that can be used to withdraw money or pay for goods and services – for example a debit card, credit card, or prepaid card (a card pre-loaded with funds).

Card payment systems (or card schemes) enable people and organisations to make payments by card by providing a network that joins up:

  • cardholders, who use the cards as a way to make payments
  • issuers, which make payment cards available to cardholders
  • merchants, which are the retailers or service providers that accept card payments from cardholders
  • acquirers, the banks which contract with merchants to accept and process card payments

The card payment systems that currently operate in the UK are:

The Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR)

In the UK the PSR is the competent authority for the monitoring and enforcement of the Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR).

The IFR is European Union (EU) legislation that took effect on 8 June 2015 and brought major changes to the way UK card schemes (such as Visa and Mastercard) operate, most notably by introducing a cap on certain interchange fees applicable to payment cards.

The Treasury designated us as the lead competent authority for the IFR in the UK in the Payment Card Interchange Fee Regulations 2015.

Find out more

Click the links below to learn more about the IFR and how it affects people and businesses.

The IFR - what, why and how

How the IFR affects retailers

What the IFR means for consumers