We are proposing to vary our Specific Direction 4, to extend the deadline for LINK’s central infrastructure services (CIS) to be provided by the winner of a competitive tender process. We propose to change the deadline from 2 April 2021 to 2 October 2021, to allow LINK’s operator to resolve outstanding issues before awarding the CIS contract.

Here we set out a draft of the specific direction. It is open for consultation until 15 February 2019.

Read the draft specific direction here.

Who should read this document?

We expect this consultation to be of particular interest to:

  • Link Scheme Holdings Ltd (LSHL, the current operator of LINK)
  • Bidders for LINK’s CIS contract
  • LINK’s members


We conducted a market review into the ownership and competitiveness of infrastructure that supports LINK and other payments systems. We issued the final report in July 2016, and our remedies decision  in June 2017. We concluded that LINK’s CIS should be supplied in accordance with a contract selected following a competitive tender, at the earliest practicable opportunity.

We required LSHL to ensure that competitively procured CIS is in place from 2 April 2021 by issuing Specific Direction 4 in June 2017, using our powers under section 54(3)(c) of the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 (FSBRA).

LSHL has informed the PSR that it now cannot award a new CIS contract under its competitive tender process to that timeframe. It has told us that this is the result of a variety of factors. LSHL now expects to award a new CIS contract during August 2019.

LSHL has asked us for an additional six months to comply with Specific Direction 4. We have considered LSHL’s request, including the period of time requested. We have concluded, subject to consultation, that it is appropriate to extend the deadline by six months.

We set out the basis for this proposed response in our Consultation Paper.

What happens now?

We are interested to receive any feedback on our draft specific direction. We also welcome any evidence in support of your views.

What happens next?

Once the consultation has closed, we will review the comments we receive and, if appropriate, issue a specific direction to LINK Scheme Holdings Ltd.

Please send your comments to infrastructurereview@psr.org.uk or write to us at:
LINK Specific Direction 4 monitoring team
Payment Systems Regulator
12 Endeavour Square
E20 1JN

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