UK’s Payment Systems Operator, NPSO, Details RFP Must-Haves

The New Payment System Operator (NPSO) announced on Monday (Sept. 24) the initial details for a new procurement process for the clearing and settlement layer of the New Payments Architecture (NPA).

In a press release, New Payment System Operator said the NPA, which is a conceptual model for payments in the U.K., will take over processing of more than £6.7 trillion of Bacs, Faster Payments and potentially check payments every year starting in 2021.

The NPSO said in the press release that it is seeking to appoint a strategic partner that is capable of implementing a scalable infrastructure for the NPA. The partner could be a single supplier or consortium. NPSO said the capability for clearing Faster Payments will first be migrated onto the NPA platform. It also said it will conduct a further consultation in 2019 on plans for the migration of payment volumes currently cleared through Bacs – and potentially, subject to a suitable business case being identified, the future migration of payments being processed using the Image Clearing System (ICS) for checks.

“The New Payments Architecture project represents a massive opportunity for suppliers to be involved in delivering the future of payments in the U.K.,” said Paul Horlock, chief executive of NPSO, in the press release. “We need a long-term strategic partner that is capable of working with us to safely deliver a scalable infrastructure [that] can process trillions of pounds worth of payments every year. We look forward to engaging widely to find the right one.”

The company said the new procurement exercise comes on the heels of the consolidation of Faster Payments and Bacs into NPSO. That has enabled the procurement for the successors of each payment scheme to be integrated inside the NPA program.

The company noted that specific details pertaining to the approach and timelines for the new procurement process will be published in a prospectus on Oct. 18.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.