Plans confirmed for UK payments consolidation

Image credit: iStockphoto/Weekend Images Inc.

Speed and convenience are arguably the two biggest priorities for consumers when it comes to making payments.

There are various efforts and initiatives underway around the world to drive progress on these fronts, partly through enhanced competition and choice for customers.

EU member states are currently preparing for PSD2, which is set to have a big impact on payments when it comes into force in January 2018, opening up the market to new competitors and business models.

In the UK, efforts are underway to consolidate the country’s three payment system operators (PSOs): Bacs Payment Schemes, the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company and the Faster Payments Scheme.

A report put together by the Payment System Operator Delivery Group (PSODG) outlined a recommended plan for the consolidation of these separate bodies into a single organization.

The intention behind the initiative is to enhance the capacity and capability of the UK’s PSOs and reduce the cost and complexity that comes with having three separate systems running alongside one another.

Furthermore, the new, consolidated group would have the responsibility of leading the development of the New Payments Architecture, an industry-led project designed to fuel competition, increase resilience and drive innovation across the payments and banking sectors.

Robert Stansbury, independent chair of the PSODG, said the launch of the consolidation plan is a significant step towards redefining how the country’s payment operators will function in the future.

“A single consolidated PSO would simplify access to, and the governance of, payment systems, helping to drive innovation and competition across the UK industry,” he added.

“But while good progress has been made, support from across the industry is vital and significant collaborative work still needs to be done if the plan is to be delivered successfully and the benefits of the consolidation unlocked.”

The boards of the three existing operators now have to review and agree to the plan before it can move forward.

It is hoped that the consolidation will be largely completed by the end of this year.

 

Image: iStockphoto/Weekend Images Inc.

Written by Jack Dougal

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