Two key Payments documents published in the UK

In the past few days, Payments UK (the re-launched Payments Trade Association for the UK) has published two key documents.

The first is an initial report on its World Class Payments Project entitled  “World Class Payments in the UK Enhancing the Payments Experience” and the second is an interim version of a Code of Conduct for Indirect Access Providers.

The update on the World Class Payments Programme sets out the latest progress on the project and highlights four key areas of future focus:

  • Open Access for those who offer payments services to customers:   This focusses on simplifying access for PSPs to Payment Systems from a technical standards and connectivity perspective.
  • Confirmation of Payee: This is possibly the most challenging piece of work and allows pre payment confirmation that the person being paid is the person for whom the payment was intended.   In the UK, the industry standard is for payments to be directed to their destination using just the beneficiary Account Number and Sort Code.   This, in turn, ties into the international IBAN and BIC routing code structures, neither of which contain beneficiary name details.  Pre-validation of payment instructions within Banks’ systems is normally limited to Anti Money Laundering (AML)/Sanction checks and routing data integrity checks.
  • Request to Pay: Will enable flexibility in the timing of what are normally pre-programmed payments.
  • Enhanced Data: This  will enable more data to be linked to Payment Messages for analysis for reference purposes and highlights the current challenges present in the UK retail payment systems in terms of the amount of data that can be transmitted in their message content.

Payments UK plan to publish a further update next year following further analysis on the above topics.

Turning to the Indirect Access Code of Conduct, this is a voluntary code and follows earlier consultation findings in this area being published by the UK Payments Systems Regulator.   The code sets out the obligations that Code Subscribers are expected to adhere to and who can benefit from these (the Code Beneficiaries).   It relates to domestic payments processed within five Payment Systems (Bacs, CHAPS, Cheque and Credit Clearing, Faster Payments and LINK).   The Code sets out four commitments:

  1. Entitlement to an Agreement for the Supply of Indirect Access
  2. Support Services & Communication of Important Information
  3. Managing the Security of Supply of Your Service
  4. Ensuring the Security of Your Information.

Accompanying the publication of the code, the Payments UK Website states “To ensure the Code is effective, it is being launched on an interim basis and Payments UK will be conducting a formal consultation on the Code across the wider payments industry in late 2015. Feedback from this consultation, 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.”