On July 21, 2016, the PSR published a consultation on draft guidance on the exercise of some of its powers under the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013. The PSR has powers to require a payment service operator or indirect access provider to grant payment service providers access to certain regulated payment systems, and can vary the terms of existing access. The PSR may only use its powers if an application is made to it. The PSR is proposing guidelines on how it will assess those applications and the process it will follow. The purpose of the draft guidance is to assist businesses in determining what they should do if they are in dispute over the provision of access to regulated payment systems or if there is a dispute over the charges for the use of services provided by regulated payment systems.

The PSR has proposed a substantive test to determine whether access (including the terms of such access) has been impeded “more than is necessary” to safeguard against specific risks. The test would apply to both direct and indirect access applications, and in a range of different market and competitive contexts. The proposed guidelines would apply to participants in the payment systems currently designated by HM Treasury: Bacs, Cheque and Credit (C&C), CHAPS, Faster Payments Scheme (FPS), LINK, Northern Ireland Cheque Clearing (NICC), MasterCard and Visa. Responses to the consultation are due by September 16, 2016.

The consultation paper is available at: https://www.psr.org.uk/sites/default/files/media/PDF/CP164-approach-to-applicationsunder-s56-s57-FSBRA.pdf.

The draft guidance is available at: https://www.psr.org.uk/sites/default/files/media/PDF/draft-guidance-s56-s57-FSBRA.pdf