Three UK payment system operators consolidate

The New Payment System Operator (NPSO) has taken over responsibility for the operation of the UK retail's Bacs and Faster Payments systems.

Three UK payment system operators consolidate

The move is part of plans to streamline retail payment systems, and is expected to take over responsibility for the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company over the coming months.

The consolidation of the three operators has been a key focus for both the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) and the Bank of England.

In bringing three payment systems together for the first time, the project aims to develop the capability and capacity of the operators, and to reduce the complexity and costs of having three separate retail payment system operators (PSOs).

The NPSO will also be responsible for delivering 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.

Both the NPSO and NPA were key proposals of the Payments Strategy Forum, a group which was set up in 2015 by the Payments Systems Regulator to identify, prioritise and develop strategic, collaborative initiatives to promote innovation in the interest of the people and organisations that use payment systems.

The Payments Strategy Forum’s published blueprint includes a number of key future benefits for consumers for example, Confirmation of Payee, which allows customers to verify that they are paying the person they intend to, and Request to Pay, which is a mechanism where a payee can send a request for payment to a payer.

Hannah Nixon, managing director of the PSR, said: “This means that people and organisations that use payment systems will benefit from new products and services later this year.

“The next step is the effective delivery of the New Payments Architecture and we have set out what we expect for this to be successful. The end result will see the NPA delivered in a timely manner, which is robust and resilient and has effective competition across all layers with low entry barriers for Payment Service Providers.”

David Bailey, director of financial market infrastructure at the Bank of England, said: “The Bank of England will supervise the NPSO, in its role as the operator of these systemically important payment systems. Through this, and working closely with the PSR, we look forward to monitoring the NPSO’s progress in realising the significant benefits to end users and financial stability that it has been created to deliver.