Press Releases



NPSO welcomes Bank of England consultation on messaging standards

6th June 2018

A common standard for the UK’s electronic payment systems is now under consultation, with the New Payment System Operator (NPSO) today (6 June 2018) encouraging stakeholders to make sure their voices are heard.

The Bank of England is leading a consultation on the implementation of the global ‘ISO 20022’ messaging standard, the adoption of which will bring many benefits for payments providers, and for the businesses and households they serve.

Paul Horlock, Chief Executive Officer of the NPSO said:

“Standards are the DNA of the data carried by our payment systems. Moving to the global ISO 20022 standard will keep the UK at the cutting edge by enriching the data carried in payments messages, improving interoperability and creating opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

“This consultation represents a vital opportunity for anyone with an interest in the future of our payment systems to have their say. I would encourage everyone with an interest – whether they are a large institution, or an end user of our payment systems – to get involved.”

The consultation contains a proposal for a Common UK Credit Message (CCM) for retail payments which has been developed jointly by the Bank of England and the NPSO in close collaboration with payment providers.

The proposal is being enabled by the planned renewal over coming years of the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) for CHAPS payments, and the New Payments Architecture (NPA) for payments processed by Bacs and Faster Payments.

The consultation will run for six weeks, from Wednesday 6 June. Interested parties can get more information, or register their organisation to take part in the consultation, by visiting the Bank of England’s website, or contacting RTGSEngagement@bankofengland.co.uk.


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ipagoo is first non-bank payment service provider to join Bacs

29th May 2018

For the first time, a non-bank payment service provider has joined Bacs Payment Schemes Limited, as Orwell Group’s ipagoo secures direct access to systemically important payment options Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit for its customers.

ipagoo is a multi-country and cross-currency current account service for individuals and corporates, designed with the end customer at its heart – it enables its clients to open and operate current accounts in other countries in Europe with ease and simplicity.

Carlos Sanchez, ipagoo’s chief executive officer, said: “We’re very excited to blaze this new trail, becoming the first ever non-bank to join Bacs in its lengthy history. It is fundamentally important for us to be able to offer the best possible service to our clients, so being a direct participant to Bacs enables that and also it places us on a level playing field with the largest UK banks.”

The brand is the latest in a raft of new participants joining Bacs over the last 18 months, providing even wider access to the nation’s most prolific payment system; last year, Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit payments totalled 6.35 billion in number, a new record, with a high of 111.7 million transactions processed in a single day.

Bacs’ general manager, Andy Hollingdale, said: “ipagoo is an exciting brand playing to a market of informed, technologically advanced customers – and we’re pleased Direct Debit, the original digital payment, is still relevant to them. Even though Bacs has been around for half a century, we’re still growing, processing more transactions and setting new records every year, a clear indication of how we’re successfully meeting the evolving 21st century needs.”


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Faster Payments Celebrates 10th Anniversary

25th May 2018

The growth of round the clock, real-time payments is set to continue, according to a new report published today (25 May 2018) by Faster Payments to mark the tenth anniversary of 24/7 real-time payments in the UK.

The UK was one of the first countries in the world to launch a 24/7 real-time payments system, when the Faster Payments service went live on Tuesday 27 May 2008. Today, more than 230,000 Faster Payments are sent every hour, on average1. By contrast, in its first five days of operation in May 2008, just 334,000 Faster Payments were processed – fewer than 3,000 per hour.

Changing consumer behaviour has driven changes such as the growth of internet and mobile banking, making the convenience of 24/7 instant payments part of everyday life in the UK. The white paper published today, A Decade of Faster Payments, sets out the impact of real-time payments over the past ten years, alongside predictions that suggest the rate of growth could increase still further in the future.

Co-authors of the report, strategic consultancy Hunch, identified four key trends they believe will drive the evolving market for payments:

  • The growth of the ‘Economy of Things’ – payments triggered by smart devices connected to the ‘Internet of Things’ - means payments are set to change as much in the next ten years as they have in the last 20.
  • New economic models such as local electricity grids and subscription services for high-value products, such as cars, will become commonplace.
  • Payments are set to rise in volume and shrink in average value as costs fall, with permission-based machine-to-machine payments representing many daily transactions - particularly in business-to-business supply chains.
  • Real-time payments and advances in access and security across payment systems will be key factors in making these changes possible.

John Jefferson, General Manager of Faster Payments, said:

“The convenience and simplicity of being able to send a near instant payment 24 hours a day, seven days a week has seen the popularity of Faster Payments soar in the ten years since it launched.

“We are proud to have kept our service available around the clock since 2008, and look forward to meeting the predicted growing demand from consumers and businesses for the next decade and beyond.”

Philip Clarke, Founding Partner of Hunch, said:

“The future of real-time payments will let your fridge order and pay for your weekly essentials when they run out, and your home sell energy back to the grid when you’re not in. This ‘economy of things’ will transform the commercial landscape with new behaviours, new expectations and new business models that change the way we buy, provision and use an emerging generation of products and services.

“Monetising these opportunities will require increasingly open access to high-volume, high-resilience real-time payment services. Having pioneered and scaled Faster Payments, the UK’s payments industry must now look forward to a brave and bold second act – building on its success to enable a new wave of disruptive businesses.”

Since 1 May 2018, Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL) has been part of the New Payment System Operator (NPSO), the company established to consolidate the UK’s retail payment schemes. One of the NPSO’s key tasks is to develop a New Payments Architecture - a completely new conceptual model for retail payment delivery in the UK.

Matthew Hunt, Chief Operating Officer of the NPSO, said:
“At its launch ten years ago, Faster Payments was a ground breaking innovation that gained worldwide respect and admiration. Since then, the Faster Payments team has done a great job in delivering further enhancements.
“Now the time is right for the NPSO to deliver the next step forward for UK retail payments. The expertise amongst the Faster Payments team will play a key role in helping us deliver a New Payments Architecture to enable a vibrant UK economy.”


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New Payment System Operator Stakeholder Event: 9 May 2018

9th May 2018

On Wednesday 9 May 2018, NPSO leaders shared their vision and ambitions for the future of UK payments at a special event in London. Attended by over 300 representatives from across the retail payments sector, the event was led by NPSO Chair Melanie Johnson, Chief Executive Officer Paul Horlock, and Chief Operating Officer Matthew Hunt. They were joined by guest speakers, Sara Ward from the Bank of England, and Jeremy Light, a payments industry expert.

You can view a copy of the presentation slides from the event here, and watch the videos played at the event on our Youtube Channel here.


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New Payment System Operator takes on responsibility for the Bacs and Faster Payments systems

1st May 2018

Operational responsibility for the Bacs and Faster Payments systems, which process a combined £6.3 trillion worth of payments annually, has today (1 May 2018) transferred to the New Payment System Operator (NPSO).

The move ensures the continuity of operations of the UK’s main payment systems, which are relied on every day for thousands of salaries, benefits, bills, mortgage and other internet and mobile banking payments. Users of these payment systems will not have to do anything differently, all payments are being processed as usual.

The transfer of the operational responsibility and control for the Bacs and Faster Payments products and managed services occurs simultaneously with Bacs and Faster Payments schemes becoming subsidiary companies of the NPSO. Bringing the retail payment systems together is a key step in establishing a single voice for retail payments in the NPSO and will enable a vibrant economy, reduce complexity and risk and provide a platform for future competition and innovation.

Paul Horlock, Chief Executive of the New Payment System Operator, said:

“Bacs and Faster Payments have developed a huge amount of trust in payments through the certainty, integrity and security inherent in their systems. The NPSO will maintain that stability and security whilst ensuring the continued relevance and competitiveness of the services we provide.

“This is our opportunity to create the future of retail payments in the UK, driving value for people and businesses and enabling a vibrant UK economy. We will be the leading payments authority that will create a best in class payment infrastructure and standards in the UK for the benefit of people everywhere.”

The NPSO was formed following the report from the Payment System Operator Delivery Group, an independently chaired body set up by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) and the Bank of England.

The Cheque & Credit Clearing Company Limited (C&CCC), which manages the paper processing system for cheques and incorporates the recently launched Image Clearing System (ICS), is also due to join the NPSO in the coming months along with UK Payments Administration Limited (UKPA), the company which provides people, facilities and business services to the payment ecosystem.


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New Director appointed to the Board of the New Payment System Operator

12th April 2018

The New Payment System Operator (NPSO) has today (12 April 2018) announced the appointment of Richard Anderson as an Independent Non-Executive Director as it moves closer to taking responsibility for the UK’s retail payment systems.

Richard is a past Chairman of the Institute of Risk Management and was a partner at Coopers & Lybrand, subsequently PwC where he led the Strategic Risk Group in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Richard has also worked for a variety of risk practices, including setting up AndersonRisk.

Following Richard’s appointment the NPSO Board will comprise the Independent Chair, six Independent Non-Executive Directors, two Non-Executive Directors, and the Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer of the company, with one further role to fill.

Melanie Johnson, Chair of the NPSO, said:

“Richard brings over 30 years’ experience of risk management to the NPSO Board which already comprises extensive expertise across banking, technology, procurement and infrastructure management. A strong Board will enable us to deliver change successfully while maintaining a clear focus on service delivery.”

Richard Anderson said:

“Managing risk effectively is essential to the operation of the NPSO. I am looking forward to working with the organisation to help us reach the goal of enabling a vibrant UK economy, which includes managing risk, reliability and resilience in relation to payments, standards and overlay services.”

The NPSO has been established to develop the capability and capacity of the UK’s retail payment systems, which between them process over £6.4 trillion in value of payments every year. The NPSO is bringing together Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), the Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company Limited (C&CCC) and UK Payments Administration (UKPA), to take an over-arching view of operating and developing the retail payments sector for the benefit of the UK economy.

The NPSO Board will also be advised and challenged by two Advisory Councils, representing end users and payment system participants, to ensure the UK's payment systems are run for the public good. The End User Advisory Council is in place and recruitment for the Participant Advisory Council is currently ongoing.


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Code of Conduct for Indirect Access to UK Payment Systems Updated and New Code Subscriber Announced

5th April 2018

An updated, voluntary Code of Conduct for Indirect Access Providers (IAPs) has been published today (5 April 2018) following a consultation with stakeholders. The principal aim of the Code is to improve the experience of Indirect Payment Service Providers (IPSPs) by clearly setting out the responsibilities of IAPs that subscribe to the Code.

The New Payment System Operator (NPSO), in its role as Code Administrator, along with IAPs and the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), has reviewed the Code in light of the recently introduced Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) regulation. The enhanced version of the Code reflects on the PSD2 powers relating to indirect access to designated payment systems. Since the Code’s launch in 2015, subscribing IAPs continue to take positive steps to demonstrate alignment with the Code commitments and heighten awareness across IPSPs.

ClearBank has recently subscribed to the Code, making it the fifth subscriber alongside Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS. The addition of ClearBank further increases the market competition for indirect access to payment systems in the UK.

The Code Administrator will continue to monitor the Code’s effectiveness through regular compliance monitoring and engagement with stakeholders and the PSR. This monitoring will include seeking feedback from interested stakeholders via the Code Consultative Group. More information on this Group is available on the Access to Payment Systems website.

Tim Yudin, Director of Design and Delivery at the NPSO, said:

“We are pleased to welcome ClearBank as a new subscriber to the Code of Conduct. The Code is important in supporting the increasing number of payment service providers that rely on indirect access to the UK’s main payment systems. We are confident that Code subscribers will continue to deliver services to the standards of best practice stated in the Code and the NPSO, as Code Administrator, will continue to monitor its effectiveness.”

Nick Ogden, Founder and Chairman of ClearBank® said:

“As the UK’s fifth clearing bank we are focussed on delivering market neutrality, transparency and improved access to the UK payment schemes. As a signatory to the Code we will maintain and deliver the Code standards and best practices which support and complement our own core business objectives.”


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New Payment System Operator responds to Payment Systems Regulator’s open letter

28th March 2018

The New Payment System Operator (NPSO) has today (28 March 2018) published its response to the open letter sent to it by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) in January 2018. The response identifies the NPSO’s plan to enact a generational shift in UK payments, which will support a vibrant UK economy.

The PSR letter set out its view of the initial priorities the NPSO should consider as it develops its target operating model and plans for the design and delivery of the New Payments Architecture (NPA). The response sets out the NPSO’s approach in six priority areas: stakeholder engagement; strategy setting and decision making; competitive procurement of the NPA’s central infrastructure; development and management of rules and standards; the NPSO’s market catalyst role; and risk management.

Paul Horlock, Chief Executive Officer of the NPSO, said:

“Although the NPSO has only been in existence for a few short months, I am extremely encouraged by the progress we have made. Our advisory councils mark a new, outward looking approach, whilst our progress on defining the way ahead for the New Payments Architecture will put our payment systems in a position to grow into the future, benefitting everyone and enabling a vibrant UK economy.

“I welcome the engagement we have had with Hannah and her team at the PSR so far. I believe it is vital that we continue to develop this constructive and collaborative way of working as it will help drive the best outcomes for users and the wider payments ecosystem.”

Hannah Nixon, Managing Director of the PSR, said:

“We welcome the NPSO’s response to our open letter, which shows a credible plan is in place for taking forward the wide range of issues we identified, including the development of a New Payments Architecture. We also recognise the NPSO has done a great deal of work in recent months in preparing to become the operator of Bacs, Faster Payments, the paper-based cheque and credit clearing system and the Image Clearing System from May.

“We are pleased that the NPSO is putting the people and organisations that use payment systems at the heart of its decision-making process. We continue to believe that effective engagement and consideration of their interests will be crucial to the NPSO’s success. We will keep working to ensure that the NPSO delivers on the commitments it has made.”

Please click here to view the response published by the NPSO.


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The New Payment System Operator appoints Chief Risk Officer

23rd March 2018

The New Payment System Operator (NPSO) has today announced the appointment of Geoff Close as Chief Risk Officer (CRO), as it moves closer to taking responsibility for the UK’s retail payment systems. Geoff, who is currently interim Chief Operating Officer (COO) and CRO at the NPSO, will take up the new permanent position on 3rd April 2018.

Paul Horlock, CEO of the NPSO, said:

“Geoff has been invaluable to the NPSO in his interim role and will be an excellent Chief Risk Officer. I’m delighted that he is able to join us in our challenge to manage risks while enabling a vibrant UK economy for the benefit of everyone.”

Geoff has over 20 years of experience as a business and technology leader at major UK institutions. His experience has been gained in retail, commercial and institutional banking sectors with a particular focus on financial technology. He has previously held CRO roles at GE Capital and FIS, where he was also Chief Operating Officer. He is a well-known business and thought leader in financial technology innovation and solutions, with a proven history of driving industry and business growth using his cross-functional expertise across sales, operations, technology, finance and risk management.

Commenting on his appointment, Geoff Close said:

“The NPSO aspires to be the industry leader for managing risk, reliability and resilience in relation to payments, standards and overlay services. We will satisfy the requirements of our regulators, delivering a robust payments infrastructure, creating a foundation of market standards and carefully managing an end-to-end governance model which can be easily adopted by the market.”

Geoff’s appointment is the third C-Suite position confirmed by the NPSO in recent weeks. In February it was announced that Matthew Hunt, currently COO for the Monetary Policy area at the Bank of England, will take on the role of the NPSO’s COO, while Jenny Crawford, currently Deputy CEO of UK Payments Administration Ltd (UKPA), has been appointed as Chief People Officer (CPO).

The NPSO will consolidate Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company Limited (C&CCC) which incorporates the Image Clearing System (ICS) that will replace the paper processing system for cheques currently managed by C&CCC. These retail payment systems will be joined by UK Payments Administration Ltd (UKPA) which provides business services support to the payment system operators.

In addition, the NPSO will lead the delivery of the New Payments Architecture (NPA) having received the blueprint for the NPA in December 2017 from the Payments Strategy Forum (PSF), the body set up by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) to bring the payments industry and users together.


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New Payment System Operator moves ahead to appoint key advisory councils

20th March 2018

Experts from across the consumer, business, government, and not-for-profit sectors have been appointed to the new advisory council that will put the voice of users at the heart of the UK’s payment systems, the New Payment System Operator confirmed today (20 March 2018).

The 12 members of the End User Advisory Council (EUAC) have been appointed based on their ability to independently represent the interests of end-users, rather than any organisation. Representatives cover a wide spectrum of end users, ranging from consumers (including vulnerable people and groups with specific needs) through to users of payment systems including SMEs, large corporates and Government Banking Services.

The EUAC met for the first time on Thursday 15 March, with discussions focusing on how the development of the New Payments Architecture could impact end users. The EUAC will inform the strategy of the NPSO by giving an expert view on what end users need now and in the future, ensuring these needs are correctly understood and addressed in the NPSO's work.

Anna Bradley, NPSO Independent Director and Chair of the new EUAC, said:

“The high calibre of applicants for our End User Advisory Council underlines the critical importance payment systems in the lives of people and organisations right across the country. As a result we have been able to appoint a very expert Council from a very wide range of backgrounds. I look forward to working with them to put the voice of end users at the centre of NPSO decision making.”

The EUAC is one of two advisory councils with a formal role to advise and challenge the Board of the NPSO, to ensure the UK's payment systems are run for the public good and support a vibrant UK economy. The NPSO is now seeking expressions of interest to join its other independent advisory council - the Participant Advisory Council (PAC).

The PAC will advise, comment and make recommendations on issues that are likely to be of current and future significance to participants in our payment systems (Bacs, Cheque & Credit and Faster Payments). The participant community is made up of all organisations that provide payment services to service users, including payment service providers (large, small and challengers), vendors, fintechs, software companies, third party providers, and aggregators.

Jean-Yves Rotté-Geoffroy, NPSO Independent Director and Chair of the new PAC, said:

"The NPSO is being formed to build the future of the UK’s payments infrastructure by developing trusted solutions that are also open and inclusive. To succeed in a rapidly changing industry we must be externally focused. This advisory council will be the conduit for the NPSO to understand the needs of the industry, listen to its challenges, identify new opportunities and continue to be an asset for a vibrant financial sector.”

Expressions of interest in applying to become a representative on the PAC should be addressed to enquiries@newpso.uk. The NPSO will host a workshop for candidates interested in applying on Thursday 12 April, which will offer more detail on the work of the PAC. The closing date for applications is 30 April and the selection process will take place in May, with the NPSO planning to launch the PAC in the summer.

The members of the End User Advisory Council are as follows:

  • Anna Bradley, Chair of End User Advisory Council (NPSO Independent Director; Chair, Rail Safety Standards Board)
  • Louise Beaumont (Co-Chair Open Banking & Payments Working Group, techUK)
  • Michelle Highman (Chief Executive, The Money Charity)
  • Scott Johnson (SME representative, Better Regulation Strategy Group, BEIS)
  • Terry Jones (Director General, NFU)
  • Gary McEwan (Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Dundee and CEO of Elevator UK)
  • Rajay Naik (Chief Executive Officer [Europe] of Keypath Education)
  • Jo Oxley (Head of Government Banking Service and Assistant Paymaster General)
  • Jane Vass (Director of Policy & Research, Age UK)
  • Claire Whyley (Panel Member, Competition and Markets Authority)
  • Sian Williams (Director of Financial Health Exchange, Toynbee Hall)
  • Joanna Wooten (Disability Advisory Group Chair, Transport for London)
  • Ian Wright (Director General, Food and Drink Federation)

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Three new Directors appointed to the Board of the New Payment System Operator

8th March 2018

The New Payment System Operator (NPSO) has today (8 March 2018) announced the appointment of three new Board members, as it moves closer to taking responsibility for the UK’s retail payment systems.

Christine Ashton, Chief Digital Officer in residence at SAP, who has also worked as SVP Technology for Thomson Reuters and has held global technology leadership roles at BG Group, TfL and BP, and Jean-Yves Rotté-Geoffroy, former Chief Procurement Officer at GSK and Executive Vice President IT & Shared Services at AmBev in São Paulo, who has also led Procurement organisations at Kraft, AB InBev and P&G, have been appointed to join the Board as Independent Non-Executive Directors. In addition, Matthew Hunt, who was last week appointed as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the NPSO, has also been invited to join the Board as an Executive Director.

Following these appointments the NPSO Board will comprise of ten directors (the Independent Chair, five Independent Non-Executive Directors, two Non-Executive Directors and the Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer of the company) with a further two Independent Non-Executive Director roles to fill.

Melanie Johnson, Chair of the NPSO, said:

“Christine, Jean-Yves and Matthew bring world-class excellence in technology, procurement and payments respectively to our Board, which already comprises of extensive expertise across banking and infrastructure management. A strong Board will enable us to deliver change successfully while maintaining a clear focus on service delivery.”

The NPSO Board will also be advised and challenged by two Advisory Councils, representing end users and payment system participants, to ensure the UK's payment systems are run for the public good. The open recruitment and appointment processes for these advisory councils are on course.

The NPSO has been established to develop the capability and capacity of the UK’s retail payment systems, which between them process over £6.4 trillion in value of payments every year. The NPSO is bringing together Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), the Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company Limited (C&CCC) and UK Payments Administration (UKPA), to take an over-arching view of operating and developing the retail payments sector for the benefit of the UK economy.


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The New Payment System Operator appoints Chief Operating Officer and Chief People Officer

28th February 2018

The New Payment System Operator (NPSO) has today announced the appointment of two C-Suite Executives as it moves closer to taking responsibility for the UK’s retail payment systems. Matthew Hunt, currently COO for the Monetary Policy area at the Bank of England, will take on the role of the NPSO’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), while Jenny Crawford, currently Deputy CEO of UK Payments Administration Ltd (UKPA), has been appointed as Chief People Officer (CPO).

Paul Horlock, CEO of the NPSO, said:

“Jenny has been instrumental preparing the transition of UKPA into the NPSO as well as leading our People workstream, making her a strong competitor for the role of Chief People Officer. Matthew has a wealth of knowledge and expertise and we are delighted that he is joining us as our COO at this key stage in our organisation’s development.

“Matthew and Jenny will be invaluable as we work to ensure that this country’s payments infrastructure remains world-class whilst also having the capability to develop and advance the NPSO for the benefit of the UK as a whole”.

Matthew Hunt has worked at the Bank of England since 2006, covering a variety of operational and payments leadership roles. Matthew is currently COO for the Monetary Policy area and until recently was Head of Customer Banking Division, with responsibility for banking, securities and gold custody services provided to the UK Government and other central banks. Matthew has also performed senior management roles running the RTGS payment system and banknote distribution. Prior to working at the Bank, Matthew was a business manager for UBS Investment Bank and a consultant with Accenture.

“The payment schemes perform a vital function for everyone in the UK and, from my roles within the Bank, I have followed closely the changes happening in the industry. I am looking forward to working with colleagues, participants, users and regulators to maximise improvements, whilst staying focussed on the strong operational performance that the schemes have demonstrated to date.”

Jenny Crawford joined UKPA eight years ago as the Head of HR and has more recently worked as Director of Operations and Deputy CEO. Since August of last year she has been leading UKPA in its transition into the NPSO. Jenny has over 20 years’ HR experience and holds both a professional HR qualification and a Masters in Human Resource Management. She is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Her previous HR experience has been gained both in organisations going through periods of significant change and those in their relative infancy, helping them to develop and implement new systems and to deliver cultural change.

Jenny Crawford said:

“The UK’s payment schemes lead the world because of the talented people that work within them who continually demonstrate an unparalleled dedication to delivering the services that enable a vibrant UK economy. Colleagues from the payment schemes and UKPA will be vital for the NPSO to deliver collaborative and globally competitive retail payments services that benefit all users, now and in the future.”

The NPSO will consolidate Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company Limited (C&CCC) which incorporates the Image Clearing System (ICS) that will replace the paper processing system for cheques currently managed by C&CCC. These retail payment systems will be joined by UK Payments Administration Ltd (UKPA) which provides business services support to the payment system operators.

In addition, the NPSO will lead the delivery of the New Payments Architecture (NPA) having received the blueprint for the NPA in December 2017 from the Payments Strategy Forum (PSF), the body set up by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) to bring the payments industry and users together.


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​Recruitment starts for End User Council for New Payment System Operator

23rd January 2018

Recruitment for the advisory council that will put the voice of users at the heart of the UK's single integrated retail payment system operator is underway, following an announcement today (23 January 2018) by the New Payment System Operator (NPSO).​

The new End User Advisory Council (EUAC) will have a formal role to advise and challenge the board of the NPSO, to ensure the UK's payment systems are run for the public good. It will ensure the needs of consumers, businesses and the not for profit sector inform the strategy of the NPSO by giving an expert view on what end users need now and in the future, ensuring these needs are correctly understood and addressed in the NPSO's work.

The NPSO wishes to appoint a number of independent consumer interest members, including some with expertise relating to consumers in vulnerable circumstances or experiencing financial disadvantage. Alongside these will be some members from public, private and not-for-profit user organisations, such as small businesses, charities, corporations, non-governmental organisations and Government departments. Applications are also being sought from candidates who work at the interface of payments systems and their users, such as app designers.

Each member of the End User Advisory Council will bring specialist knowledge and understanding of one or more end user groups, and together they will advise the NPSO Board on end user needs, now and in future. They will support strategy development, help identify risks in relation to NPSO activities that might impact end users, and make recommendations to the NPSO on its rules, standards, policies and practices.

The open recruitment for the End User Advisory Council is being supported by global executive search consultancy Saxton Bampfylde, with applications welcomed until the closing date on Monday 5 February 2018. The paid roles will require 10-12 days work per year, with appointments made for a maximum tenure of three years.

Melanie Johnson, Chair of the New Payment System Operator, said:​

"Every consumer, business and charity in the country relies on the UK's payment systems in some way – our new End User Advisory Council will ensure their voice is heard as part of the decision making process for how they are run.

"Becoming a member of an advisory council is a fantastic opportunity for anyone with an interest in making sure payment systems work for the public good. I would encourage anyone that recognises the vital role payments play in our society to apply, or get in touch with Saxton Bampfylde to find out more."​

In addition to the EUAC, the NPSO is also setting up a separate independent Participant Advisory Council to enable participants of payment systems to advise, comment and make recommendations to the board on non-competitive, collaborative matters of significance to them. An NPSO event for stakeholders interested in finding out more about the PAC was held on Wednesday 17 January, with further details about recruitment to this group due to be published in the next few weeks.

Full details of the advertisement for the End User Advisory Council recruitment are available to view at http://www.saxbam.co​m/appointment-details/1094-members-end-user-council​.


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NPSO Participant Event

22nd January 2018

On 17 January 2018 the NPSO held a stakeholder event and working session with around 200 members of our participant community at 200 Aldersgate, EC1.

Melanie Johnson, Chair of the NPSO, discussed the NPSO's purpose and approach, highlighting the organisation's core purpose and the opportunities it will create for stakeholders.

Paul Horlock, CEO of the NPSO, provided an update on the NPSO programme, highlighting key milestones and explaining the communications strategy and key themes for 2018.

Anna Bradley and Becky Clements, Board Members of the NPSO, discussed the NPSO's advisory councils and participant community. Anna explained the aims and set up of the councils as well as their independent nature. Becky focused on the participant community, which the NPSO is enabling in in advance of selecting a Particpant Council. The participant community will be invited to consider and validate several fundamental questions and themes to ensure representation and parity on the Advisory Council while helping the NPSO Board identify the best membership.

Rob Stansbury, who acted as the Independent Chair of the Payment System Operators Delivery Group, hosted the event and ran both the Q&A and working session, which generated feedback relating to the size and scope of membership as well as identifying obstacles to recruiting council members.

This session was well received and created plenty of rich conversation. Further details and outputs from the discussions will be shared on the NPSO website in the next few days.

If you have any questions about the event or would like to take part in future NPSO stakeholder events please email enquiries@newpso.uk.


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Another Record Breaking Year for Bacs

22nd January 2018

This month's Bacs Focus reported a record breaking year for our colleagues. Figures released last week (10 January) revealed that 2017 was a record year for Bacs, with over 6.34 billion payments, worth a total in excess of £4.9 trillion.

Across the year, Direct Debit volumes grew by 3.8 per cent to over 4.2 billion, totalling over £1.3 trillion, with 155 million more payments made this way than in 2016, while Bacs Direct Credit saw values increase to £3.6 trillion, up 3 per cent on the previous 12 months.

At the end of June 2017, a huge 111.7 million Direct Debits and Bacs Direct Credits passed through the system in a single day – that's the equivalent of more than 7.2 million payments each hour the processing window was open (15.5 hours), or in excess of 120,000 per minute. That figure surpasses the previous daily high of 109.3 million transactions recorded in September 2016.

Michael Chambers, chief executive officer of Bacs, said: "At a time of unprecedented change across the sector, this continued and impressive growth once again underlines just how important our payment products are to consumers and businesses alike throughout the UK."

To read more about Bacs' record-breaking year click here​​.


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NPSO selects Baringa Partners

13th December 2017

The New Payment System Operator (NPSO) has appointed Baringa Partners to support the development of NPSO’s target operating model. In consultation with teams across the current Payments Systems Operators and other stakeholders, Baringa Partners will also define the core principles and intrinsic organisational capabilities required to ensure the NPSO is set up for success from the outset.

The NPSO has been established to develop the capability and capacity of the UK’s retail payment systems, which between them process over £6.4 trillion in value of payments every year. As a single entity, the NPSO will build on the achievements and successes of the existing payment schemes and progress their well-defined strategies for the benefit of the UK economy. In addition, taking an over-arching view of the retail payments sector will enable the NPSO to deliver greater efficiency, more innovation and fair and equal access to payments with an infrastructure that facilitates them.

Paul Horlock, CEO of the NPSO, said: “This is a key step in NPSO’s journey to fulfil its mandate to enable a vibrant UK economy and to support a globally competitive payments industry.

“We chose Baringa from a competitive field, for their depth of experience with payments transformation and Operating Models. They bring the expertise and pragmatism that we need for this work.”

Colin Preston, the lead partner for Banking at Baringa Partners, commented “We are excited and privileged to be working with NPSO at this stage in their journey. We are passionate about the opportunity to help NPSO lead changes in the payments industry that will benefit consumers, as well as fostering innovation and investment across this sector.”


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Responsibility to take forward New Payments Architecture Blueprint moves to NPSO

11th December 2017

The blueprint for the future development of the UK’s shared payment infrastructure was today (11 December 2017) passed to the New Payment System Operator (NPSO), the company that will become the new, single, integrated retail payment system operator for the UK.

The New Payments Architecture (NPA) is a completely new conceptual model for the end to end retail payment delivery carried out by the UK’s payment schemes and market participants. It will be the biggest change to the way payments are processed in the UK since the 1960s, ensuring payments are safe whilst also encouraging competitive innovation and unlocking new business opportunities in everything from smarter uses of banking and payment data, through to new transactional services.

The NPSO has taken on responsibility for the NPA Blueprint in line with its objectives to simplify access and drive competition for payments in the UK. The NPA Blueprint was set out today as the culmination of two years’ work and consultation by the Payments Strategy Forum, the body set up by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) to bring the payments industry and users together.

Paul Horlock, CEO of the New Payment System Operator, said:

"We are grateful for the excellent work that has been undertaken so far and all of the people who took the time to respond to the PSF’s consultation on the strategy for payments in the 21st Century. We are excited to have the opportunity to now evaluate and enhance the work done as we transition from consultation to implementation.

"The NPA Blueprint will drive accessibility, competition and innovation through developments such as a common message standard to support interoperability. We will also be looking to capitalise on the opportunities and challenges presented through PSD2, RTGS, GDPR and Open Banking, to help shape the building blocks for the New Payments Architecture."

The NPSO is now in the process of assessing the Blueprint to define the technical requirements for the NPA, determine whether further investigatory work is needed for specific elements and validate the best approach to move forwards with delivery.

Paul Horlock continues:

"The New Payments Architecture will build on the recent launch of the Image Clearing System for cheques, the re-procurement of new central infrastructure for Faster Payments and the work happening in Bacs to gather the requirements needed for their products as part of the new architecture.

"The NPA Blueprint will play a crucial part in the development of NPSO and we look forward to engaging with our new independent end-user and payment service participant Advisory Councils, as the work develops in 2018. These new councils will ensure the needs of consumers, business and other payment users are formally placed alongside those of industry at the heart of developments in the UK’s payment services."

The NPSO will lead the delivery of the integrated programme alongside the thought leadership and communications needed to make the blueprint a reality.

The NPA blueprint, consultation and supporting papers are available to view on the Payments Strategy Forum website: https://implementation.paymentsforum.uk/news


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The New Payment System Operator begins Advisory Council recruitment

7th December 2017

The New Payment System Operator (NPSO) today outlined the recruitment process for its independent End User Advisory Council (EUAC), which is designed to advise and challenge the board of the NPSO on behalf of everyone who uses payment systems for business or in their everyday lives.

Melanie Johnson, Chair of the NPSO, and Anna Bradley, NPSO Independent Director and Chair of the new EUAC hosted a breakfast briefing with a cross section of end user representatives to discuss the creation of the Council.

This briefing was an opportunity for potential members to understand how the NPSO Board will engage with the EUAC, the Council’s planned role and responsibilities and the timeline for formation, including publicly inviting applicants in January 2018.


End User Advisory Council

The purpose of the EUAC will be to advise the NPSO Board on end user matters and the public good in payments. It will build on the good work achieved by the Payments Forum’s wide engagement with the users of payments to help it identify and advise on future needs and how NPSO addresses them as well as helping to find answers to end user challenges.

Anna Bradley, NPSO Independent Director and Chair of the new EUAC, said:

"UK payment systems are among the most advanced in the world, recognised for the resilience and reliability and the value they provide to everyone. By setting up this Council we are ensuring that the work of NPSO is conducted with End Users in mind at all times.

"I was encouraged by the enthusiasm and dialogue with potential members this morning as we begin the recruitment process."


Participant Council

In addition to the EUAC, the NPSO will also set up a second independent Council to represent all groups of participants of payment systems by advising, commenting and making recommendations to the board on matters which are non-competitive, collaborative, and of current and future significance to participants in relation to NPSO activities.

The NPSO is planning to host an event for stakeholders at the end of January 2018 to launch recruitment to the Participant Council. Invitations for this event will be sent out in the coming weeks.

The open recruitment for the End User Advisory Council is starting in January 2018 and is being supported by Saxton Bampfylde. Recruitment information is available from jonathan.morgan@saxbam.com.

For further information on NPSO and the Independent Councils please contact: enquiries@newpso.uk.


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Procurement of New Payments Architecture

23rd October 2017

Press releases were recently distributed by the Faster Payments Scheme Ltd (FPSL) to generate expressions of interest and to explain the competitive process for procuring a new central payment system.

The procurement being led by FPSL is for the real-time 24/7 push payment clearing and settlement risk management system, an element of the New Payments Architecture (NPA). The NPA will replace the Faster Payments System. Once Faster Payments becomes part of the New Payment System Operator (NPSO), which is consolidating the UK’s retail payment schemes, the NPSO will be responsible for further stages of the procurement process as well as the development of the rules and standards for the other components of the NPA.

For further information please refer to the Faster Payments Service website.

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New payment system operator appoints Board

4th October 2017

The UK’s new payment system operator, which has been established to develop the capability and capacity of the UK’s retail payment systems, has today appointed its first five Board members:

  • Anna Bradley – Chair, Rail Safety and Standards Board
  • Becky Clements – Head of Industry Engagement and Payment Change at Metro Bank
  • Russell Saunders – Managing Director Global Payments at Lloyds Banking Group
  • Robert Stansbury – previously, Independent Chair of the Payment System Operator Delivery Group
  • Peter Wyman – Chairman, Care Quality Commission

The Board will be chaired by Melanie Johnson, who took up the position of independent Chair of the new payment system operator on 1 September, with Paul Horlock taking up the post of Chief Executive on 16 October.

The appointment of these Board members follows the successful creation of the corporate entity for the new payment system operator. NPSO Limited was incorporated on 18 July 2017 as a company limited by guarantee. The first meeting of the new Board will take place on 11 October, with four further members to be appointed in the coming months.

The intention behind the creation of the new payment system operator is to achieve the consolidation of Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Image Clearing System (ICS), which will replace the paper processing system for cheques currently managed by the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC). These retail payment systems, which process over £6.4 trillion of payments every year between them, will be joined by UK Payments Administration, which provides the people, facilities and expertise to support the systems behind the payment system operators.

As a single entity, the new payment system operator will build on the achievements and successes of the existing payment schemes and progress their well-defined strategies for the benefit of the UK economy. In addition, taking an over-arching view of the retail payments sector will enable the new payment system operator to deliver greater efficiency, more innovation and fair and equal access to payments and the infrastructure that facilitates them.

Melanie Johnson, independent Chair of the new payment system operator, said:

“The new board reflects the experience needed for the establishment of the new payment system operator, providing a strong foundation for the future. The new members of the board bring a wide range of expertise to guide and deliver change successfully while maintaining a focus on service delivery.”

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The new payment system operator appoints Paul Horlock as its first chief executive

27th September 2017

Paul Horlock has been appointed as the Chief Executive of the UK’s new payment system operator, which has been established to develop the capability and capacity of the UK’s retail payment systems, which between them process over £6.4 trillion of payments every year.

Paul, who has worked in the banking sector for over 15 years, will take up the position on 16 October 2017.

Creation of the new payment system operator involves the consolidation of Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Image Clearing System (ICS), which will replace the paper processing system for cheques currently managed by the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC). As a single entity, the new payment system operator will build on the achievements and successes of the existing payment schemes and progress their welldefined strategies for the benefit of the UK economy. In addition, taking an over-arching view of the retail payments sector will enable the new payment system operator to deliver greater efficiency, more innovation and fair and equal access to payments and the infrastructure that facilitates them.

Paul Horlock, the new Chief Executive of the new payment system operator, said:

"I am thrilled to be asked to take up the role of CEO for the new payments system operator. Taking up the role of Chief Executive of a company that is a vital part of this country’s financial infrastructure is a huge privilege and I look forward to helping to shape its future, whilst ensuring that all parts of society benefit from having a robust and dynamic payments platform in place. This is one of those 'once in a lifetime' opportunities; the combination of acceleration in consumer expectation, with the chance to pull together experts in their field and the mandate to project from a resilient, world-leading capability to deliver the future of the UK’s payments industry.

“I am particularly looking forward to working hand-in-hand with the gamut of payment system users, big and small, in order to deliver a payment system for the UK that enables competition to thrive whilst providing the foundation for innovation to flourish. I can't wait to work with the team and collaborate with the wider stakeholders in the market to pursue the mission of a globally-competitive payments industry."

Melanie Johnson, who was appointed as independent Chair of the new payment system operator on 7 August, led the selection process, which was run on an open basis by independent executive recruitment consultants. Of the appointment, Melanie Johnson said:

“We are delighted to have been able to secure the appointment of Paul Horlock as the Chief Executive of the new payment system operator. Paul is a highly-respected figure amongst the payments industry and his strong track record and leadership expertise will help ensure that we are well-placed to deliver the necessary outcomes that can make the UK’s payments industry the envy of the world.

“Paul is going to play a crucial role in leading the new payment system operator through this important period, especially given his breadth of experience in successfully delivering change whilst remaining focused on maintaining excellent service delivery.”

The appointment of the new Chief Executive follows the successful creation of the corporate entity for the new payment system operator (NPSO). NPSO Limited was incorporated on 18 July 2017 as a company limited by guarantee.

The next steps and progress made by the new payment system operator will be announced in due course.

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Melanie Johnson Appointed as chair of New Payment System Operator

7th August 2017

Melanie Johnson has been appointed as the Independent Non-executive Chair of the company that will become the new single, integrated retail payment system operator for the UK, processing over £6.4 trillion of payments every year.

NPSO Limited is the holding name for the company that has been set up to consolidate Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Image Clearing System (ICS) which will replace the paper processing system for cheques currently managed by the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC).

Melanie Johnson has had a long and distinguished career with extensive experience at a senior level in both public and private sectors, including as City Minister in the Treasury, taking forward financial services regulation, and later, as Competition and Consumers Minister, holding responsibility for legislation to enhance competition and protect consumers interests and rights to redress.

Melanie has worked in the private sector since 2005 and has been chairing the industry association representing the issuers and merchant acquirers of debit and credit cards for the last eight years. She has led the industry’s focus on openness and better information for customers so that customers can be in the driving seat, and she has championed the wider use of contactless cards for travel payments. Recently she provided Board leadership throughout the merger of six industry associations to form UK Finance.

Melanie Johnson will take up her position on 1st September 2017, with the appointment made for a three year term.

Melanie Johnson, Independent Non-executive Chair of the new payment system operator, said:

“I’m delighted to take up this role as the Independent Chair of this vitally important new organisation in payments. The new company I will oversee will aim to deliver easier access to payment systems for existing and new payment providers, promoting greater competition. This will deliver improvements for all types of end users including consumers, businesses and payment service providers, whilst enhancing the systemic robustness and resilience which are essential for financial stability.

“My initial focus will be to lead the process to hire a CEO, establish a Board and build on the excellent work of the Payment System Operator Delivery Group. We will be engaging with our stakeholders through two councils - one reflecting the interests of end-users and a second for businesses participating in the payments industry.

“There is much to be done and I’m really looking forward to working with the leadership and staff of Bacs, Faster Payments and the Image Clearing System to build a new integrated business that can lead the delivery of the Payment Strategy Forum’s blueprint for an innovative New Payments Architecture, for the benefit of the UK’s economy.”

Robert Stansbury, the chair of the Payment System Operator Delivery Group led the selection process, which was run on an open basis by independent executive recruitment consultants.

Robert Stansbury said:

“I am delighted to welcome Melanie Johnson as Chair. This is a vital milestone to have reached in the process of delivering the new payment system operator.

“Melanie will be an inspired, enthused and energised Chair, playing a key role in leading the payments industry through this fundamental transition, balancing the needs of diverse and complex stakeholder groups in the payments ecosystem and delivering benefits for all parts of society.”

The appointment of the new Chair follows the successful creation of the corporate entity for the new payment system operator. NPSO Limited was incorporated on 18 July 2017 as a company limited by guarantee. Melanie Johnson will now lead the final stages of the recruitment process for the company’s CEO.

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