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PSR MR15/1 Market review into the supply of indirect access to payment systems - draft terms of reference

Published 25 03 2015
Last updated 30 06 2015

Allowing customers, including consumers, businesses and charities, to receive and make payments requires payment service providers such as banks or credit unions to have access to payment systems. Access to these systems also supports competition between banks and other PSPs who in turn develop innovative new services to meet customers’ payment needs. 

Banks, credit unions and other PSPs can either have direct access to a payment system or indirect access through a sponsor service provided by a bank which has direct access. The four main banks which provide indirect access to other banks, credit unions and PSPs are Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS.

Read the draft Terms of Reference

We have produced a factsheet to summarise the key points.

Update: on 29 May 2015 we published the final terms of reference for this review.

Why are we doing this market review?

Some banks and PSPs have raised concerns, including:

  • the limited choice of indirect access providers (sponsor banks)
  • a lack of information about the indirect access services that sponsor banks offer

We want to answer a number of key questions:

  • What are the competition implications of the current indirect access market structure?
  • What factors may limit how many sponsor banks offer indirect access to payment systems?
  • What might a competitive indirect access offering look like?

How long will it take?

Over the next four weeks we will take comments on the scope of the review and finalise the terms of reference towards the end of May.  At that stage we will publish a more detailed timetable.

We currently expect it will take about 12 months to complete the review and report on our findings. If we decide there is a need to take further action to improve the market, we expect this will take a further six months.

How do I get involved?

Please direct any queries you may have about this market review to iamr@psr.org.uk, or in writing to:

Indirect Access Market Review Team
Payment Systems Regulator (15th Floor)
25 The North Colonnade 
Canary Wharf
London E14 5HS