The UK's Payment Systems Regulator and the Bank of England have agreed a framework for the consolidation of Bacs, the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company and the Faster Payments Scheme.
The delivery plan, put forward by the independent Payment System Operator Delivery Group, aims to reduces the complexity and costs of having three separate retail payment system operators (PSOs). The unified entity would also become responsible for the next stage of the development of the New Payments Architecture (NPA), an industry-led initiative that aims to increase competition and resilience as well as enhance innovation across the payments and banking industry.
Robert Stansbury, independent chair of the Payment System Operator Delivery Group, says: “We have made significant headway towards redefining the way in which the three PSOs will operate in the future. 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 merger of the three PSOs was mandated by the PSR following an investigation into ways in which to inject more competition into the running of the nation's payments plumbing and to pave the way for new entrants coming into the market.
The Delivery Group is now asking the boards of the three PSOs that are to be consolidated to review and endorse the plan and what needs to be delivered, before it can be implemented. The target remains for the consolidation to be substantially completed by the end of 2017.