On 5 July 2017, the Payment Services Regulator (the PSR) published its third annual report and accounts summarising its activities over the year 2016/17.

Read the PSR's latest annual report here.

The PSR is responsible for regulating the main interbank payment systems – Bacs, CHAPS, Cheque & Credit, Faster Payments Scheme, LINK and Northern Ireland Cheque Clearing – as well as Mastercard and Visa Europe, the two largest payment systems in the UK.

In summary, those activities have included:

  • Improving access to payment systems including new participants to faster payments, keeping costs down and reducing the time and complexity for new payment services providers to become direct participants of regulated payment systems. The PSR says that these changes should “improve competition in payment services and retail banking – resulting in wider choice and better quality for consumers, businesses, charities and other users of payment systems”.
  • Since 2015 the PSR has issued two general directions on direct access and completed two market reviews, one looking at indirect access services and the other examining the provision of infrastructure. The PSR intends to continue to look at the most appropriate and proportionate ways to open up access to payment systems to new providers.
  • Increasing collaboration and innovation across the industry – the Payments Strategy Forum has been set up and in 2016 published the Forum’s Final Strategy with a number of new services, consolidation plans and consumer protection plans (including a package of measures aimed at reducing authorised push payment fraud) being developed.
  • The PSR has also published its proposed approach to monitoring and enforcing the parts of the Payments Services Regulations 2017 (PSD2) for which it is responsible.

Looking forward, the PSR has identified three key areas in the payment market to focus on in the coming year:

  • Consumer protection issues in payments
  • The use of payments data.
  • Changing competitive dynamics.

The PSR’s annual plan and budget for 2017/18 published in March of this year provides an insight into the ideas to achieve these goals. The PSR has also published a key fact sheet summarising its activities.

We look forward to hearing more about The PSR's plans for consumer protection and the on-going battle against payment fraud when PSR's Carole Begent, Head of Legal, speaks at our Payment Fraud event on 12 October 2017.