UK Wants More Competition In Payments Infrastructure


VocaLink isn’t facing enough competition in its role of providing the underlying infrastructure of key payment systems like Bacs, according to the U.K. Payment Systems Regulator (PSR).

Earlier in the year, the authority published proposed remedies for pumping competition into the market. The PSR has now released a consultation paper in response to feedback received after those proposals were issued, according to Shearman & Sterling LLP.

According to the law firm, the PSR will no longer seek divestments from VocaLink because Mastercard is pursuing its own acquisition of the company, a move the regulator said would remedy issues of competition. If the takeover doesn’t move forward, however, the PSR will address the issue of VocaLink divestures separately, reports said.

Reports first emerged earlier this year that Mastercard would seek to acquire VocaLink in a deal worth $920 million.

The PSR is also pursuing the adoption of common payments messaging standards, like ISO 20022, for the payment service operators of Bacs and the Faster Payments Service (FPS). The authority is also now looking at how to impose requirements that would promote competition in the area of procurement by Bacs, FPS and LINK when they’re buying infrastructure services from companies like VocaLink.

The consultation will close Feb. 1 of next year, reports said, and the PSR will release its findings some time in the second quarter of 2017.

Both Bacs and the Faster Payments Service are critical in enhancing B2B payments across the U.K.