Two U.K. payment systems have been merged into one by the Bank of England in an effort to boost competition in the financial services space, according to City A.M. reports on Tuesday (May 1).
Bacs and Faster Payments are now consolidated under the New Payment System Operator (NPSO), the publication reported, as Britain aims to make payments processing easier and more affordable for companies. Officials also hope the consolidation will lead to the introduction of new features for the payments system, including payee confirmation and payment requests.
Regulators were reportedly concerned that smaller companies faced barriers to access the Bacs and Faster Payments schemes. The Bank of England said the NPSO will begin to oversee the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company payment system over the next few months as industry consolidation continues.
The Bank of England’s Director for Financial Market Infrastructure David Bailey described the initiative as an “important milestone in the evolution of payments within the U.K.”
Payment Systems Regulator Managing Director Hannah Nixon, meanwhile, said it is the “start of a general change” for the nation’s payments industry overall.
Both Bacs and Faster Payments are popular systems businesses use for B2B supplier payments. Research from Optal released earlier this month found that 91 percent of U.K. financial professionals surveyed use Bacs, while 52 percent use Faster Payments.
The U.K.’s New Payment System Operator took over the operation of the nation’s payment systems from the Payment System Operator Delivery Group, with plans to streamline the industry and link it to the U.K. Payments Administration.
Earlier this year, the NPSO announced a new COO, Matthew Hunt, who said in a statement at the time that officials will aim to “maximize improvements whilst staying staying focused on the strong operational performance that the schemes have demonstrated to date.”