We have published our third report on access to payment systems and the governance of payment system operators in the UK.

Why are we publishing this report?

Improving access to payment systems and making the governance of payment system operators more inclusive and transparent are key priorities for the PSR. Our open access programme has been a cornerstone of our work and it is now delivering meaningful results for service-users.

We are publishing this report to update stakeholders on the developments in access and governance over the last 12 months since our last report in March 2017, It has been a record year for new participants gaining access to the interbank payment systems: Bacs, Faster Payments and CHAPS.

We have produced a factsheet that summarises this report which you may find useful.

Who should read this paper?

This report is relevant to the operators of the payment systems, payment service providers accessing the systems and anybody with an interest in the way the operators run them.

What does the report say?

The report covers the following developments: 

  • Increased Choice – There are an increasing number of options for PSPs to access the interbank payment systems, alongside increasing competition in the provision of indirect access.
  • Record-breaking year for new participants – seven new participants have joined one or more of Bacs, Faster Payments and CHAPS compared with 4 in 2016.
  • Early projections for 2018 – We predict 2018 will be another record year –further eleven PSPs could become direct participants in CHAPS, Faster Payments and Bacs this year
  • New indirect access providers (IAPs) - ClearBank launched a service providing indirect access to all the UK payment systems, and Starling bank is an IAP for Faster Payments and Bacs.
  • The Bank of England and settlement accounts - In July 2017, the Bank changed its policy to allow non-bank PSPs, such as authorised E-Money Institutions, to apply for settlement accounts.
  • Improvements on time to connect, the cost of connecting and the quality of service and engagement

Next steps

There are some exciting developments in payments in the year ahead. In 2018 we expect operators to continue to progress work that will result in the first non-bank PSP becoming a direct participant in at least one of the payment systems. We expect operators, and in the future the NPSO, to continue to evolve models that lower complexity and cost for direct access.

Further information

We are currently reviewing our Directions that we put in place in 2015. We have published a separate consultation on proposed changes at the same time as this report. Our consultation addresses the areas where the directions could be made more appropriate and effective.

Compliance reports:

The annual compliance reports from the following operators can be viewed below:

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