Many of us will remember Wednesday 13th July 2016 as a date the UK got a new prime minister, Theresa May. On the other hand, us payments geeks will remember Wednesday 13th July 2016 because it was the date the Payments Strategy Forum had published a Strategy for the UK to unlock competition and innovation in payments. Set up by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) it represents the first time that all the relevant stakeholders have been involved in planning the future of the UK’s payments systems.

  • 500 members of the payments community
  • over 90 detriments (problems!) identified by the end users of payments
  • over 27 international payment initiatives reviewed
  • 4 working groups
  • almost 200 experts working on the strategy
  • 9 months in writing the strategy
  • 9 weeks of consultation – starting 13th July through to 14th September
  • and only 1 reference to ‘Brexit’ – which was – “the impact of ‘Brexit’ on the UK payments system is as yet unclear but the Forum will take into account any developments during the course of the consultation period”.

The work has been conducted through four working groups, 1) End User Needs, 2) Simplifying Access to Markets, 3) Financial Crime, Data and Security, and 4) Horizon Scanning Working Group (i.e. the future architecture for payments). Known as the Forum’s engine room, these four working groups were open to anyone with an interest in payments, and involved nearly two hundred individuals from the Payments Community. Mark Beresford, Director at EDC, London office, participated on the Horizon Scanning Working Group with a particular focus on assessing the payments initiatives outside the UK. Consumers, businesses, government, regulators, banks, challenger banks and FinTechs have all come to the table with their particular knowledge, experience, resources and creativity to make this draft Strategy which is now available for downloading and open for a public consultation. After all the consultation answers and comments are gathered and assessed the final Strategy will be published in the autumn.