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PSR seeks views on competition and innovation in the UK’s New Payments Architecture  

Published 28 01 2020

The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has issued a Call for Input on competition issues that could arise in the UK’s New Payments Architecture (NPA).   
  
The NPA is the UK payments industry’s proposed new way of organising the clearing and settlement of payments between banks, known as interbank payments.  
 
Whether paying employee wages, or transferring money to a friend using internet banking, interbank payments are a key part of everyday life for businesses and consumers alike.  
 
The importance of the NPA should not be underestimated. It is a once in a generation change to the very fabric of the UK’s interbank payment systems. It will facilitate the development of services that make transactions safer and give everyone more control over who, when and how they pay. 

The PSR wants to see the NPA delivered in a way that drives innovation in payment systems and benefits the people and businesses who use them. This can be done by boosting competition between existing and new payments services as well as enhancing resilience and security in payments.   
   
The regulator is inviting all interested parties to respond to a ‘Call for Input’ which seeks to gather feedback on the likelihood of competition issues materialising in the NPA and how harmful or significant they could prove to be.  
 
The overall aim is to provide greater clarity and more detail on the PSR’s expectations, concerns and regulatory approach. Ultimately, the PSR will publish a ‘Policy Statement’ to explain what bidders, participants and other users can expect from the regulator as the NPA becomes a reality. The PSR expects to publish this statement before the end of 2020 (co-ordinating with Pay.UK’s NPA CIS procurement timetable as appropriate).

Chris Hemsley, Managing Director of the PSR, says:  

“The renewal of the UK’s interbank payments infrastructure, through the NPA, has the potential to deliver innovative new services and products for businesses and consumers.  
 
“Pay.UK continues to make progress in its role to deliver this infrastructure renewal. Today’s publication supports that process, by inviting views on what might prevent the benefits that competition can bring, and the steps that all parties – including the PSR – can take to ensure that people and businesses feel the full benefits of this important investment in our payments infrastructure.”
  

The Call for Input is open until 5pm on 24 March 2020. Comments should be emailed to PSRNPA@psr.org.uk or sent to:

PSR Pay.UK/NPA project team
Payment Systems Regulator
12 Endeavour Square
London E20 1JN 
  
Notes:  
 
Following our Call for Input and stakeholder engagement on this paper, we plan to publish non-confidential responses (particularly more formal responses). Stakeholder feedback will help us develop our NPA regulatory policy, which we plan to set out in a draft policy statement before publishing a final statement before the end of 2020 (co-ordinating with Pay.UK’s NPA CIS procurement timetable as appropriate). Our plans include a period for consultation on a draft policy statement. We will set out a timetable in more detail once the procurement timetable is settled.