On 1 April 2015 the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) came into force as the new economic regulator for payment systems, and published a series of documents setting out its strategy and priorities for the coming year. The Policy Work Programme sets out the areas of focus and includes a new strategy setting process (the Payments Strategy Forum), market reviews into the supply of indirect access to payment systems and the ownership of the payments infrastructure, and other pipeline projects (such as ATM interchange fees and consumer redress).

Draft terms of reference for the PSR’s market reviews have also been published, with details as follows:

  • The review of supply of indirect access to payment systems (PSR MR15/1) will explore the structure of the market and what may be limiting others with direct access from becoming a sponsor bank and consider options for a more competitive indirect access model; and
  • The review into the ownership and competitiveness of infrastructure provision (PSR MR15/2) will consider whether the current infrastructure ownership serves the interests of consumers and whether it inhibits competition.

The PSR’s Annual Plan and Budget 2015/16 is available here.

What this means for you?

The PSR is the first independent regulator to oversee the sector. It has a broad remit to help improve competition and innovation as well as to ensure payment systems are operated and developed in the interests of service-users.

The market reviews will take approximately 12 months with a further six months to assess any proposed remedies. Following a consultation, the PSR confirmed on 29 May 2015 the final terms of reference for its indirect access market review. Read our recent briefing on indirect access.