Access to payment systems on the rise
Access to payment systems in the UK is continuing to improve as new participants are on the rise, reports Jane Connolly.
According to the fourth Access and Governance report by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), this improving access paves the way for new banks and payment companies to compete with established banks.
A record number of new direct participants was recorded in 2018, with 12 organisations joining Faster Payment Scheme (FPS), Bacs and CHAPS.
The first non-bank payment service providers (PSPs) joined these systems and there are now more indirect access providers (IAPs) in the market than ever before.
New entrants ClearBank, Starling Bank and BFC Bank are actively onboarding indirect PSPs, which has helped to counteract emerging challenges to indirect access – such as some credit institutions changing their access criteria.
Five non-bank PSPs joined payment systems directly last year, as a result of the Bank of England’s extension of access to settlement accounts in its RTGS system to non-bank PSPs.
“Our access programme continues to deliver strong and encouraging results,” says Chris Hemsley, co-managing director of the PSR. “2018 was another record year for participants joining payment systems directly. Without open access, PSPs – especially challenger banks – cannot compete fairly with established banks. Open access is a vital catalyst in driving competition and innovation in payment services – and that’s why it will remain an important part of the PSR’s work.”
The PSR has confirmed it will continue to ensure that credit institutions treat access requests in a proportionate, objective and non-discriminatory manner, in line with the Payment Services Regulations 2017, and will consider formal enforcement proceedings if required.