Better payment systems

The Payments Strategy Forum (the Forum) was announced by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) in its Policy Statement published in March 2015.

The Forum leads on a process to identify, prioritise and help to deliver initiatives where it is necessary for the payments industry to work together to promote collaborative innovation. The central focus of the Forum is to make payment systems work better for those that use them.

Currently, the Forum consists of a chair who is independent from industry and 22 members. The Forum's membership includes user representatives and payment service providers. They were appointed jointly by the PSR and the Forum chair following a public nomination process during the summer of 2015.

The Bank of England (BoE), the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the PSR are observers on the Forum.

The PSR also provides the secretariat to the Forum.

Why was the Forum established?

In the UK today, numerous systems make our payments possible, from cheques to direct debits to card payments. It is important that timely innovations are made to these systems where these can make a positive difference to users.

The Forum has been established to provide an opportunity for service users to engage with and influence strategic initiatives that the Forum undertakes, and to drive the pace of collaborative innovation.

The Forum will specifically focus on areas where collaboration is necessary to bring about innovation that delivers benefits to users. Innovation that can be delivered through competition will not be within the scope of the Forum.

Chip and PIN, Faster Payments, Paym and seven day Current Account Switch Service are examples of where industry has worked together to innovate for the benefit of service-users, but more could be done.

 

How does the Forum work?

The role and remit of the Forum was defined by a multi-stakeholder Working Group which helped to develop both the wider policy and its Terms of Reference.

The composition of the Forum was designed to be as inclusive and effective as possible. The Forum Members represent the broadest range of stakeholders, from banks to technology providers, consumer representatives and businesses. This is the first time in the UK that a truly multi-stakeholder body has looked at how payment systems are affecting users.

The Chair has a strong background in consumer affairs, ensuring that a strong consumer and user focus remains at the heart of the Forum’s work.

The Forum meets at least six times in its first year. More meetings may be scheduled as required. It is guided by the Payments Community and supported by a number of Working Groups.

Before the Forum was established, the PSR undertook a literature review and a series of more than 80 meetings with stakeholders to understand their experience with UK payment systems.

This engagement formed the basis of a list of topics that users prioritised at the First Payments Community event held in September 2015. As an initial activity, the Forum assessed these and from this developed a comprehensive set of user-detriments. This forms the foundation of the Forum’s work. The Forum continues to be open to receive evidence.

In December 2015 Working Groups were established to find collaborative solutions to the detriments and to ensure that the Forum’s work is based on the needs of users.

The End-User Needs Working Group was established by the Forum to ensure that the UK’s Payments Strategy will meet the needs of individual and organisational users.

Meeting Documents

All Forum documents are made available online and may be found here.

The Forum is committed to running a transparent process. Meeting documents of both the Working Groups and the Forum will be posted on the website in real time in the most accessible language and format possible.

Documents with technical content from the Working Groups are accompanied by a high-level summary in order for the Forum’s work to be understood by the widest possible audience.

If you have any questions about the content of the papers, you can contact us. The Forum secretariat is committed to facilitating contact between the Working Groups and any interested stakeholders in the most effective way.

The Working Groups

Working Groups are the "engine room" of the Forum. They have been created to inform the work of the Forum and help it achieve its goals.

The Working Groups meet regularly and are comprised of individuals with expertise from different areas within the payments industry, including service user representatives. They are dedicating their time and resources to undertake the analysis that will support the Forum's recommendations.

The Working Groups have been resourced by a range of stakeholders from the payments industry and beyond who have seconded staff, made available work space and provided funding for independent evaluation of their work.

The Working Groups have a clear remit to analyse the detriments, group and refine them, produce conceptual solutions against them and then prioritise them according to those which are expected to deliver the greatest net benefit to users.

The Payments Community

The PSR established the Payments Community to influence the work programme of the Forum.

The Payments Community is open to everyone with an interest in payment systems, whether or not they are members of the Forum.

The Community provides a flexible way for all interested individuals or organisations to engage in and shape the Forum's work. It met for the first time on 17 September 2015, ahead of the first Forum meeting.

The Forum secretariat has and will continue to engage with the consumer movement, small users and other gropus who have not traditionally been well-represented in the payments industry.

To ensure that the Community has the opportunity to engage in the work of the Forum, various channels of communication are used, such as website updates, meetings, roundtables and events.

A number of events have given Member of the Payments Community the opportunity to engage proactively and constructively with the Forum. Payments Community Members have validated that the focus of the Forum is correct and agreed with the approach taken. A list of Roundtables scheduled with the Community may be found here.