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PSR publishes five-year strategy for improved payments market

The Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) has published a proposed five-year strategy to ensure there is fair competition and full access to payments.

The strategy looks to “protect and embrace” what already works well while making changes to what does not. It will also lay the foundations for new products, ways to pay and payment systems as the needs of people and businesses develop.


In the document, the PSR has highlighted four strategic outcomes that it wants to bring about within the next five years. These feed into four priorities that provide a framework for this to be met. These are:

  • Priority 1: Ensure users have continued access to the payment services they rely upon and support effective choice of alternative payment options.
  • Priority 2: Ensure users are sufficiently protected when using the UK’s payment systems, now and in the future.
  • Priority 3: Promote competition in markets and protect users where that competition is not sufficient, including a) between payment systems within the UK and b) in the markets supported by them.
  • Priority 4: Ensure the renewal and future governance of the UK’s interbank payment systems supports innovation and competition in payments.

The PSR has also set out some actions that it will take as part of the proposed strategy, including promoting competition between payment systems, protect access to cash, the development of consumer protections around interbank payments, and assisting vulnerable consumer groups.


“Because payments are an essential part of daily life and a vital element in the UK economy, everybody should have a fair choice about how they make and receive them - and be protected when doing so. Our new strategy sets out how we are aiming to make this happen,” said Chris Hemsley, the PSR’s managing director.


“We will continue our focus on promoting effective competition between the companies that offer payment services to people and businesses – including banks and building societies. But we will increasingly focus on how to make sure that the different payment systems themselves compete with each other: the current card systems; the existing and new ‘interbank’ systems; and any new payment systems that launch in the future.”


He added: “With healthy competition at each level comes new and exciting innovations, more choice for consumers and merchants, and possible savings for all of us in the products and services we buy.


“Our goal is to make sure payment systems are fit and sustainable for the future so that we can all use them with ease and confidence.”

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