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ClearBank signs updated UK Code on payment system access


ClearBank, a challenger financial institution (FI), has signed up to the UK voluntary Code of Conduct for Indirect Access Providers (IAPs), which has been updated by UK authorities to align with new regulations such as the EU’s second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) that seek to assure fair and open access to payment systems for new financial technology (FinTech) enabled FIs.

The updated Code, which covers the UK Faster Payment Service (FPS) and the other retail payment schemes that now come under the auspices of the New Payment System Operator (NPSO) in the UK, aims to improve the experience of Indirect Payment Service Providers (IPSPs). It clearly sets out the responsibilities of IAPs that subscribe to the Code.

The UK NPSO, in its role as the Code administrator, reviewed the voluntary stipulations alongside the UK Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) and the other four IAPs that already subscribed to the Code: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS.

These FIs have come to dominate the UK retail banking and clearing element of the payment sector. Indeed, ClearBank was set up last year as the country’s first new clearing bank for 250 years to challenge the status quo and offer an alternative to FinTechs, challenger banks like Starling, Atom and so on, that want to disrupt the marketplace. Conveniently, ClearBank’s aim to increase market competition aligns with the Code’s own mission to open up indirect access to payment systems in the UK.

As Nick Ogden, Founder and Chair of ClearBank, said in a statement, “the Code standards support and complement our own core business objectives”, adding that his FI is, “focussed on delivering market neutrality, transparency and improved access to the UK payment schemes.”

The enhanced version of the Code accommodates wider regulatory shifts such as the EU’s PSD2 powers and the move towards open banking and data personified by the use of open application programming interfaces (APIs), a key topic in the UK.

Tim Yudin, Director of Design and Delivery at the UK NPSO, welcomed ClearBank and said: “The Code is important in supporting the increasing number of PSPs that rely on indirect access to the UK’s main payment systems. We are confident that subscribers will continue to deliver services to the standards of best practice stated. The NPSO, as Code Administrator, will continue to monitor its effectiveness.”

A Code Consultative Group has been set up. More information on this Group is available on the Access to Payment Systems website. A full version of the Code can be seen by clicking on the highlighted text.


Author: Neil Ainger