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The launch of ClearBank

Published 28 02 2017

Hannah Nixon’s remarks at the launch of ClearBank on 28 February 2017 in London.

This is the text of the speech as drafted and may differ from the delivered version.


Good morning. I'm delighted to be here today at the launch of ClearBank.

What ClearBank has achieved is a first. For the first time ever, a new organisation will have gained access to all the main UK payment systems from scratch.

Not only that, but they will also be the only one, outside the big four high street banks, to provide indirect access to all schemes for other financial institutions.

Since the PSR was first conceived, access has been at the top of our list of priorities – specifically: opening up access to as many business models as possible, and getting that access cheaper, easier and quicker.

Without access to a payment system, banks, building societies and other payment companies simply can’t move money from A to B. So access is a cornerstone of retail banking and payment service provision more widely.

And opening it up is imperative if we’re to see more competition in payments.

I'm pleased to say the work the PSR has done on access, working closely with the payments industry, has taken us to a place where companies like ClearBank can now launch - from scratch - with a full team sheet of payment system connections.

ClearBank’s achievement sends a signal that work to open up access to payments systems and boost competition is starting to pay off.

It’s moments like these, today, that we had envisioned when we first started on the PSR journey. 

So it’s great to be here and I’m really encouraged by the strides that the payments industry is taking forward. 

These strides will help pave the way for a much more competitive and innovative payments landscape, which – in turn - will help boost competition in retail banking services.

In summer last year we saw Raphaels Bank become the first new fully operational participating financial provider of Faster Payments since it launched in 2008. Metro Bank added itself to that list just before Christmas.

In just two years we're expecting the number of participants in Faster Payments to have doubled from its original ten.

All told, looking further afield, this year we expect to see about 15 new PSPs gain access this year.

Add to that the fact that connection times are dropping, prices are coming down, and on-boarding is getting easier and - all in all - it paints a positive picture.

That picture will become clearer in March when we publish our next annual update on access and governance of payment systems. We hope you’ll read and engage with its findings, so that in years to come it’s not just ClearBank and a few others who can really say they made a difference.

They may be the first, but we do not expect them to be the last.

But today is not about the PSR, so I will stop here. Thank you very much for listening and my congratulations once again to the ClearBank team.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of day.