As of the 1st July 2018, the New Payment Systems Operator (NPSO) replaced the managing and running of the cheque paper and cheque Image Clearing Systems.
The NPSO has completed the consolidation of the UK’s retail interbank payment systems have taken responsibility of the systems run by Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs) and Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL) on 1 May 2018.
The consolidation was a recommendation of the Payments Strategy Forum. It enhances the capability and capacity of streamline governance arrangements, the operators and reduces the complexity and costs of having three separate operators. Furthermore, the consolidation will simplify the development and delivery of the New Payments Architecture (NPA), a generational step-change in the industry structure which will drive innovation and competition in the interests of users.
All payments will continue to be processed as usual through paper clearing systems for cheques and the recently launched ICS. The ICS enables digital images of cheques to the exchanged between building societies and banks for clearing and settlement which significantly speeds up the process.
From this point, powers will apply to NPSO Ltd in relation to the cheque paper and cheque image clearing systems as well as in relation to Bacs and FPS.
The NPSO’s progress in the competitive procurement process of the central infrastructure on the NPA in line with our Infrastructure Market Remedy will be monitored, as well as the next phase of the NPA’s development and delivery.
Hannah Nixon, Managing Director of the PSR, said:
For the first time the three operators of FPS, Bacs and the cheque paper and cheque image clearing systems, which are jointly responsible for the processing of £6.4 trillion payments each year, are under one roof. This is a key milestone along the journey to introduce game-changing innovation at the heart of the UK’s interbank payment systems.
This consolidated entity will enhance the capability and capacity of the operators and will further open access by creating a single point of entry for Payment Service Providers and promoting more harmonisation of rules across the three systems. In addition, it will deliver strategic leadership for the industry and a state-of-art New Payments Architecture.
We will ensure that the NPSO successfully manages the integration to deliver the benefits of the consolidation – the combination of which will enable greater competition and innovation to serve the evolving needs of users in our ever-changing technological landscape.