This morning the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) published their annual plan and budget for 2020/21.

Given that the plan was finalised before the impact of COVID19 had affected our daily lives, Chris Hemsley’s (PSR, Managing Director) ‘launch’ video explains that the PSR will need to adjust the plan to reflect the significance of the pandemic, whilst ensuring that payment systems continue to operate well. Chris notes that some elements of the plan will need to be adjusted and some retimed.

Over the next twelve months, the PSR will be placing particular focus on Pay.UK’s New Payment Architecture (NPA) programme to ensure that the initiative overhauls digital payments, drives competition and innovation and that ‘delivery is done right’.

We can also expect to see the PSR at the forefront of the debate on cash. Encouragingly, whilst the PSR will pay attention to ‘free to use’ ATM’s, we will see the PSR going beyond the ATM network and looking at the role of cash back, the Post Office network and digital payments.

Despite the current environment we can expect the PSR to continue work collaboratively and engage effectively but, they note, they may need to use their formal powers. Above all the PSR state that they want to make a positive difference to the way payments are made in the UK today and in the future.

Launch video

PSR’s 2020/21 Focus

The PSR have announced that, over the next twelve months, their key projects aim to make sure that:

  • Pay.UK’s development of the New Payments Architecture (NPA) delivers a resilient way of making digital payments that supports more competition and innovation, to the benefit of the people and organisations using the system
     
  • people can continue to access and use cash from the ATM networks where they want or need to in an increasingly digital world
     
  • the market for card-acquiring services works well, supported by effective competition
     
  • more is done to prevent authorised push payment (APP) scams and protect victims
     
  • payment systems and markets are more competitive and/or deliver better outcomes for users; this includes tackling anti-competitive conduct, so that there is a credible deterrence against such behaviour

Expect deadline extensions

Given the adjustments required due to the impacts of COVID-19 we might see extensions to regulatory deadlines. We have seen that this is already the case for the implementation of Confirmation of Payee which has now been extended to June 2020.

We recognise that it is essential to allow organisations to focus all their efforts on supporting their customers as best as they can at this difficult time. We will therefore carefully assess the requirements we place on the organisations we regulate and where it is appropriate, will act to extend certain deadlines – especially where our regulatory requirements may distract firms from the immediate priority of dealing with the impacts of COVID-19. 

Payments System Regulator, March 2020

Find out more

The PSR have published a handy overview factsheet and this can be found at: https://www.psr.org.uk/factsheet-payment-systems-regulator-annual-plan-and-budget-202021

The PSR’s 2020/21 Annual Plan can be found at: https://www.psr.org.uk/payment-systems-regulator-annual-plan-and-budget-202021

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