The Bank of England (BoE) has published a revised settlement accounts policy designed to ensure that the UK’s payments infrastructure keeps pace with the changing structure of the financial system. In the document, the BoE is announcing that a new generation of non-bank payment service providers are now eligible to apply for a settlement account in the BoE’s real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system. The BoE enables non-bank payment services providers (PSPs) to apply, for the first time, for direct access to the UK’s sterling payment systems that settle in sterling central bank money, including Faster Payments, Bacs, CHAPS, LINK, Visa, and the new digital cheque imaging system. The document marks the first step in a much broader renewal programme designed to deliver a materially stronger, more resilient, flexible and innovative sterling settlement system for the UK in the years ahead.
The Governor of the BoE noted:
“I am delighted that the Bank of England, the FCA and HM Treasury are working together to stimulate competition and innovation in payment services by widening access to the UK’s payment systems to non-bank payment service providers. In parallel this should support financial stability through greater diversity and risk-reducing payment technologies.”