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PSR Strategy - Innovation and future payment methods


 

 

What we want to achieve 

The PSR is working on defining its future strategy. We are currently asking for input on the ‘innovation & future payment methods’ theme.  

On innovation, the PSR believes that: 

The payment industry needs to be agile and innovative so that consumers can access the payment methods that work for them; not least during this time of big economic change. 

But how can the PSR best promote a choice of payment methods that suits the needs and preferences of people and businesses? To help us answer that question, we need your help.  

We have published a specific set of questions along with a series of related content pieces to stimulate thinking and debate. Your feedback can be shared informally, here on our website by emailing psrstrategy@psr.org.uk, through more formal mediums such as letters, or simply by reaching out to us on 03004563677 and we’ll be happy to arrange a call back.

 

 

Where we are now 

At the PSR, we’re striving to ensure that payment systems work well for everyone, now and in the future. We think it’s important that everyone has a good choice of how to make payments, in ways that work for them.  

With innovation happening all around us, we are also aware that those choices might change over time. The way in which we choose to pay today, may no longer suit us tomorrow. That is why we want a payment systems industry which is continuously innovating to meet the needs of users – whether that’s developing new services, making improvements to existing systems or designing entirely new products.  

The UK benefits from a payments industry that is no stranger to innovating quickly and we believe that new ideas and products will help move the future of payments forward. We want to work with industry to meet the future needs of the UK’s increasingly digital economy and do so in a way that serves the interests of the people who use payment systems.  

While people in the UK are increasingly using a wide range of ways to pay, including through their mobile phones, being able to pay with cash remains equally important. For many people cash continues to be a vital way of making payments. Since 2018, the PSR has worked to ensure that those who rely on cash can access it. That’s why at the end of 2018 we took steps to require LINK – the UK’s largest ATM network – to maintain the broad geographic distribution of protected ATMs, why we continue to progress our work alongside other authorities in the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy (JACS) Group and why, in June 2020, we released a joint statement with the FCA which sets out some of the key issues we’ve identified and what we’ll focus on in the short, medium and long-term. Following that publication, we also released an interactive map looking at the coverage of access to cash across the UK. You can learn more about our work on cash here

In April of this year, our Head of Policy, Genevieve Marjoribanks, stated that unprecedented times calls for agility, resilience and innovation. The fight against COVID-19 is proving to be a formidable challenge. It’s having a devastating effect all over the world, and the financial sector is working to provide vital lifelines that people need to deal with the impact.  

For many of us, the coronavirus pandemic also changed the way we pay. We’ve seen a 50% fall in ATM withdrawals and an increase in online shopping and that, in turn, has brought on some  new innovations. Some banks have begun offering a cash delivery service to their vulnerable customers who are self-isolating or unable to access cash. Others have introduced connected or companion cards, allowing people to have a trusted person purchase essentials on their behalf. 

It is examples like these, and many others, that show the real potential of innovation and that prove that innovation and inclusion can go hand in hand. Now and in the future, the PSR will continue to encourage innovation.  

To be clear, we are not encouraging innovation just for the sake of innovation, but for the benefits that innovation brings for everyone. To ensure exactly that, we need your help in answering these questions: 

  • How can the PSR promote a choice of payment methods that suits the needs and preferences of people and businesses? 
  • What do we mean when we say innovation? Does innovation go further than technological advancement?   
  • In thinking about the future of payment systems in the UK, what should the PSR’s role be?   
  • Should we, other regulators and/or government play a pro-active role in spurring on innovation? Should we actively promote innovation in alternatives to existing payment methods?  If so, what should we do?  
  • Are there lessons we can learn from other countries experiencing innovation in payment methods? 
  • Is the UK ready to become a digital and/or card only society? Why (not)? 
  • Do you think the lockdown will have a lasting impact on the use of particular payment systems?  
  • Should we intervene to make sure (certain) merchants accept a number of different payment methods.  Should we make sure (certain) consumers can access their preferred payment method?  
  • Should we, other regulators and/or government intervene to make sure we do have a functioning cash system, and if so, why? Has the current Covid-19 pandemic influenced the response to this question? 
  • Should we maintain a cash system at any cost? How expensive would it have to be to maintain an operating cash system for it not to be worthwhile? 
  • What does the current lockdown situation tell us about the need for cash?  Have consumers’ preferences changed?   Has it told us anything about the appetite for alternative ways of paying?  Has it spurred or sped up innovation?  What are the implications for the future?  

These questions aim at stimulating debate between everyone who wishes to take part. At this stage, we are not looking for well-rounded statements, but instead would like to enter into an open dialogue with you. We are doing this to ensure that your concerns and vision for the payments industry are reflected in our first ever long-term strategy.  

If you want to contribute, your feedback can be shared informally, here on our website by emailing psrstrategy@psr.org.uk, responding to our social media blogs and questions, and through more formal mediums such as letters, or simply by reaching out to us on 03004563677.

We are also organising an online discussion forum. More information on these and how to take part will follow shortly. If you are not on our mailing list and want be informed on these and other updates around the PSR’s strategy, subscribe to our updates by emailing psrcommunications@psr.org.uk.

Further reading: innovation and future payment methods

The role of regulators in stimulating innovation

Innovation: the ancient process central to economic growth

Payments through the ages

Challenges to innovation

Was sliced bread really the best thing?

When market incentives fail consumers, the PSR must lead the way

From consultation to inclusive design – the power of lived experience

Should we maintain a cash system at any cost?