Remedies: Card-acquiring market review

It may have taken some time but the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) have today (29 June 2022) published a Provisional Decision in relation to remedies following their card-acquiring market review (CAMR).

Why Does This Matter?

Every time somebody makes a card payment – for example, when buying their weekly groceries – the merchant uses card-acquiring services to accept the payment. These services are critical to the UK economy because they enable consumers and businesses to use their cards to pay for goods and services.  The PSR wants to make sure that the features of concern that they identified in the CAMR, such as a lack of transparency, over pricing and lengthy contracts for the leasing of POS terminal card readers, are tackled allowing merchants to shop around and make informed choices.  

What does the Provisional Decision cover?

The Provisional Decision explains the PSRs conclusions from all the evidence they gathered following consultation on a range of initial proposed remedies earlier this year.

The PSR had set out proposals for remedies which the PSR developed from their conclusions, specifically:

  • Summary boxes containing bespoke key price and non-price information to be sent individually to each merchant and shown prominently in their online account which can be used alongside new online quotation tools to help merchants compare prices and other service features more efficiently.
  • Trigger messages to prompt merchants to shop around and/or switch to be sent by providers of card-acquiring services to their merchant customers and shown prominently in their online account.
  • A maximum duration of 18 months for Point of Sale (POS) terminal lease and rental contracts, and maximum 30 days’ notice after any renewal.

The PSRs publication includes:

  • A draft Cost Benefit Analysis of the remedies proposed
  • Directions to give effect to the proposed remedies
  • Options for content for the summary information box and trigger messages

Together, the PSR state that the package of proposed remedies will be effective in addressing the features of concern identified in their CAMR market review final report published last November. 

Next steps

The PSR are seeking feedback on the proposals, draft CBA and the draft Directions and plan to issue a final remedies notice, following completion of this consultation on the provisional decision in the Autumn 2022.The deadline for responses to this document is 5pm on 3 August 2022.

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