Oct 31, 2018

NPSO rebrands as Pay.UK

The leading retail payments authority in the UK – formerly known as the New Payment System Operator (NPSO) – recently announced its new name and brand: Pay.UK.

The new identity promotes Pay.UK’s core purpose – transforming the UK’s payment infrastructure to enable a vibrant economy – as well as being a logical progression, following the recent consolidation of the UK’s three retail payment schemes (Bacs, Faster Payments and the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company) into the NPSO.



At a recent Pay.UK Stakeholder Event held at the Southbank Centre on 18th October 2018, Pay.UK CEO, Paul Horlock, outlined a vision that Pay.UK would be the single entity to lead the UK payments industry and will create a single view of development and onboarding, and a common market entry point. Paul remarked that Pay.UK’s New Payments Architecture (NPA) should become the ‘model payment system’ observed and adopted by other nations as a world-leading service.

What could Pay.UK’s New Payments Architecture (NPA) mean for Direct Debit end users?

Pay.UK COO, Matthew Hunt, indicated that there would be positive outcomes for Direct Debit end users, suggesting that they may benefit from better timelines and more data attached to the process. Paul Horlock added that real-time clearing could have a huge impact and the opportunity for the market to provide innovation.

In addition to this, Pay.UK proposed that Direct Debit should become easier to access, acknowledging that using the payment method was challenging for lots of organisations and payment service providers (PSPs) due to the data required in order to obtain a Service User Number (SUN).

Challenges ahead?

The event offered time for Q and A sessions with the Board including a range of topics, particularly focussing on Direct Debit from the audience which included delegates from Experian, IBM and Vocalink. The NPA and emerging mechanisms such as Open Banking, whilst providing an exciting backdrop to the future of Fintech and Payments in the UK, also provide significant challenges to providers. When questioned whether Pay.UK could potentially be in charge of issuing Service User Numbers (SUN), Paul Horlock quickly reiterated that Pay.UK would not be looking to change the banks’ responsibilities.

One attendee asked, in the event that  we were to adopt ISO 20022 – a global language for all payment systems – would Pay.UK consider moving Direct Debit to SEPA instead? Matthew Hunt, COO,  advised the UK would look to global trends to create a world-class payments system, but there were no plans to replace the Direct Debit mechanism, rather to look for enhancements to make it even stronger.

The discussion ended with a far-reaching consensus from stakeholders attending the briefing, that significant IT and development work would be required to implement forthcoming changes. With no additional funding planned to support these changes, could challenging times lie ahead for Payment Service Providers?


An infographic to show the evolution of Pay.UK

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