We’ve published our latest access and governance report, showing trends and developments in payment systems over 2019 and 2020.

Over this period:

  • the systems continued to sign up new payment service providers (PSPs)
  • new providers started providing indirect access to PSPs
  • payment system operators expanded their engagement programmes, meaning they are getting more input from the people and businesses that use the system

Access: New participants continue to join payment systems

When the PSR began operating in 2015, one of our initial objectives was to open-up access to payment systems for payment service providers (PSPs). This was aimed at increasing competition and innovation, which can bring benefits to everybody using the systems.

We issued a set of General and Specific Directions to ensure that payment system operators had fair and open criteria for PSPs that wanted to connect to their systems. The subsequent years saw a gradual expansion of new PSPs joining the systems.

Since 2015, the number of direct participants has grown across all the interbank payment systems. Eighteen PSPs joined payment systems directly across 2019 and 2020. Although this marks a slowing of the growth rate from 2018 (which saw eighteen new joiners in a single year), all the available slots for new PSPs in 2022 are already booked.

The new report reveals that new entrant indirect access providers (IAPs) have a growing customer base – providing PSPs the capability to connect to the interbank payment systems through the IAP’s own connection A group of four new recent entrant IAPs (Modulr, LHV Pank, ClearBank, and Starling) now provides access to over 150 PSPs (combined) – more than two out of the four established IAPs (Barclays, HSBC, LLoyds, and NatWest) do individually.

Governance: Pay.UK expanded its engagement programme

Pay.UK continued to engage with users on aspects of its existing services and plans for new offerings, including through new stakeholder engagement advisory groups. Pay.UK also engaged with stakeholders on the design and delivery of the UK’s New Payments Architecture. This is important because it allows users’ views to be part of the operator’s decision making, meaning Pay.UK can run and develop the system with their needs in mind.

As we explained in our proposed PSR Strategy (June 2021), in the future we want to see Pay.UK deliver against a broader role, actively improving the rules governing interbank payments.

Why we are publishing this document 

We’ve published our access and governance report annually since 2016, to share data we’ve gathered and give the payments industry an overview of current trends. In 2020 we postponed the publication, due to resource constraints during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new report therefore covers 2019 and 2020, and also includes data on 2021 where available.

What this document contains

This two-year report follows a different format to previous editions. We’ve reported on:

  • data and trends on access to interbank payment systems
  • developments in and the operators’ governance arrangements

However, we have not included any analysis or expectations. This work is now absorbed into our new Strategy, Analysis and Monitoring division, and our approach to monitoring impacts and developments in the sector will continue to evolve.

Who should read this report?

This report is aimed at anyone with an interest in access trends for interbank systems, and in their governance arrangements. This includes payment system operators, PSPs, existing and prospective indirect access providers and others involved in interbank payments.

Supplementary Files

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