The UK's Faster Payments is seeking 'Expressions of Interest' from tech vendors for the renewal and management of its back-end infrastructure.
Developed by Vocalink, Faster Payments has been an unvarnished success in the UK following a slow start, but as an early outrider in the move to real-time payments, its technology backbone has begun to appear a little behind the times in the face of evolving cyber-threats and a global push for the implementation of the ISO 20022 protocol as a standard for messaging interoperability across the industry.
The UK's payments infrastructure has also been the subject of intense regulatory scrutiny over hurdles to access for new market participants, culminating in a full-scale review by the Payment Systems Regulator which set out new guidelines on the ownership and competitiveness of central payment systems infrastructure provision.
In July, the Competition and Markets Authority approved consolidation of the operators of Bacs, the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company and Faster Payments Scheme into a New Payments Systems Operator.
Bidders for the ten-year contract will be "required to demonstrate the commitment to excellence in payments processing necessary in order to maintain over a billion secure, immediate payments a year". This number is currently growing by 10-15% year on year.
Those qualifying following the Expression of Interest will be invited to participate in a Request for Information phase, and subsequently invited to submit a full proposal. The winning bidder is expected to be selected in Q3 2018.
Faster Payments chief Craig Tillotson: “This competitive tender process will help ensure the integrity of the Faster Payments Service in the vital role it plays in the UK economy for years to come, supporting our objective to meet the long term needs and aspirations of our customers. It’s also an important milestone on the road towards the New Payments Architecture set to be delivered by the New Payment Systems Operator”.