Unlocking competition and innovation in payments - PSF publishes final Strategy

The Payments Strategy Forum (PSF) has published the results of the consultation on development of its strategy to facilitate innovation and encourage competition through collaboration in UK payments. The Strategy will be guided by a "Vision" of the future of retail interbank payment systems that will provide simpler access, ensure stability and resilience, encourage innovation and competition and enhance adaptability and security to overcome key challenges that have been identified.

The Strategy aims to address the challenges facing payments and meet end user needs by:

  • simplifying the current environment
  • leveraging industry knowledge and experience
  • modernising through the deployment of the latest developments

The proposed solutions are broadly unchanged from the draft Strategy that was published in July, with the exception of account number portability which has been dropped.  The solutions remain within four main areas – Responding to end user needs – Improving trust in payments – Simplifying access to promote competition – New payments architecture (NPA) in the form of a simplified payments platform (SPP) and open access APIs.

The PSF is continuing with its design of the SPP and has set out a roadmap and timetable for delivery of its solutions which should provide much needed guidance for industry players on the timing of implementation and consequently on their investment and participation in the current payments architecture.

Roadmap – Starting 2017

  1.   0-3 months – delivery model, governance and funding in place
  2.   6-18 months – building confidence in enabling technology and opening up access to information
  3.   1-2 years – simplified access and engagement within the industry
  4.   2-3 yeas – building on current state
  5.   5 + years – future platform in place

By the end of 2017, the intention is to have a new consolidated payment systems operator in place to continue the work of the PSF and drive the Strategy forward towards adoption of NPA / the SPP.  For now, collaboration with other industry initiatives such as PSD2 and Open Banking should enable solutions like Request to Pay and Assurance Data to be provided using the current systems.

The emphasis of the Strategy remains on industry collaboration and the swift adoption of innovation to stimulate competition in UK payments and ensure that end-user needs continue to be met in the future.

The final Strategy document is available here.

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