Payments UK publishes Indirect Access Conduct Code

Payments UK has published a Code of Conduct covering ‘indirect access’ to UK payment systems for payment service providers (PSPs).

The payments industry body says that the Code’s principal aim is to improve the experience of indirect payment service providers (indirect PSPs) by clearly setting out the responsibilities of indirect access providers that have subscribed to the Code.

The Code of Conduct for Indirect Access Providers is a voluntary Code developed by Payments UK on behalf of the industry, and in association with the industry’s primary indirect access providers – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS – and in discussion with the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR). Payments UK has also undertaken initial consultation with potential subscribers and beneficiaries of the Code.

To ensure the Code is effective, it is being launched on an interim basis and Payments UK will conduct a formal consultation on the Code across the wider payments industry later this year. The resulting feedback, along with any relevant information from the PSR’s market review into indirect access, will be considered in the further development of the Code for publication next year.

“Payments UK has acted as a facilitator to develop the first cross industry Code of Conduct for indirect access,” said Maurice Cleaves, chief executive of Payments UK. “The payments world has changed massively over the past few decades and this is an important development to support the growing number of payment service providers which access payment systems indirectly.

“In the coming months we will be consulting with payment service providers to get their feedback and working with the industry and the PSR to develop the Code further.”

PSPs can access payment systems directly, by contracting with the operator of the payment system or indirectly by contracting with another PSP that has direct or indirect access to the system. The ability to have access is crucial for a growing number of PSPs; particularly those that are not direct participants of the UK’s payments systems – Bacs, Faster Payments Service, CHAPS, Cheque and Credit Clearing and LINK.

The Code is expected to apply to all indirect access providers. Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS intend to subscribe to the Code by 30 September; other Indirect Access Providers can also apply to subscribe. Compliance will be assessed via a self-certification approach.

The new Code of Conduct for Indirect Access Providers follows the publication on 27 August of Payment UK’s World Class Payments report, which identifies four key areas for change in order to maintain world class payments in the UK, including improving access to the payments infrastructure for PSPs. It also states that open access to the payments infrastructure is a crucial enabler to continue to allow healthy competition and innovation in the industry.


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