PSR calls for further improvements in access to UK payment systems

PSR calls for further improvements in access to UK payment systems

The UK's £75 trillion payments industry is showing signs of becoming more competitive, but further improvements are still needed, says the Payment Systems regulator.

Improving access to payment systems and making the governance of payment system operators more inclusive and transparent are key priorities for the PSR. This follows concerns that access requirements were not clear or fair and that payment systems were being operated for the benefit of the major banks.

In an update on progress, the PSR is encouraged by sings that operators are moving to introduce clearer and fairer requirements for direct access, faster times for securing access, greater transparency, and better representation of the payment systems users’ views during decision making.

Nonetheless, the PSR highlights room for improvement to make the onboarding process faster and easier, and the easing of restrictions on access for smaller banks and payment service providers that are not banks.

Hannah Nixon, the PSR’s managing director, says: “I’m encouraged by progress so far, but these are early days and there must be no let-up. Operators need to keep access and governance at the top of their agendas and continue to make improvements.”

She points to the example of the Paster Payments scheme, which has halved the time it takes for new applicants to come onboard from 18 months to nine months, and calls on other payment systems to follow suit.

Nixon says the watchdog will continue to monitor developments closely during 2016 and will publish an annual report showing progress made on access and governance.

"If we do not see continued good progress being made then we will consider taking further action," she says.

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