back to article Not enough competition in payment processing tech, thunders regulator

A UK government regulator is calling for greater competition in banking payment infrastructure provision. The Payments Systems Regulator’s (PSR) market review into the ownership and competitiveness of infrastructure that supports the three major UK payment systems – Bacs, Faster Payments Service (FPS), and LINK – concluded …

  1. Alister Silver badge
    Facepalm

    An efficient payment infrastructure should be efficient and reliable while minimises costs to businesses and consumers.

    and not fragmented by a thousand different suppliers.

    1. Preston Munchensonton
      Facepalm

      and not fragmented by a thousand different suppliers.

      So, you don't want competition? #confused

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    A case of 'It aint broker so lets fix it'

    and break it.

    What we have works. Can they be sure that increasing competition will actually improve the service?

    Does it need improving?

    Pah!

    1. redcrab

      Re: A case of 'It aint broker so lets fix it'

      Increasing competition will most certainly protect consumers from cartelization; that's the rationale, I think.

      1. Preston Munchensonton

        Re: A case of 'It aint broker so lets fix it'

        Increasing competition will most certainly protect consumers from cartelization; that's the rationale, I think.

        There's really no way that this can be the rationale. Competition isn't fostered by more regulations. The standardization/interoperability definitions are a good start, but it's the barriers-to-entry that's preventing competition. Generally, more regulation protects the incumbents, not consumers and certainly not new market entrants. #flameaway

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: A case of 'It aint broker so lets fix it'

          Competition isn't fostered by monopoly and cartels either.

          When a market is imbalanced it absolutely is the gov's job to address and resolve the in balance.

          1. ecofeco Silver badge

            Re: A case of 'It aint broker so lets fix it'

            "..resolve the imbalance.."

            Dang phone.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
    Facepalm

    So everyone's data gets spewed round more and more places to be spammed or stolen. What a great idea.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      That ship sailed a long long time ago.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        ...and the current companies are the biggest offenders, bar none.

  4. Dabooka Silver badge
    WTF?

    I'm not sure I want a competitive market in this particular field

    Safe, reliable and secure however I do want. Not some jumbled up race-to-the-bottom clusterfuck of a setup where resellers abound and data is shared to improve their service and security.

    Is this a public consultation?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: I'm not sure I want a competitive market in this particular field

      Race to the bottom is what we have now and at premium prices.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The regulator is also recommending divestment by the four largest payment service providers of their interest in VocaLink"

    The 'schemes', as they're know in the industry (not payment service providers which are entirely different organisations) do not own VocaLink. VocaLink is owned by the banks and probably 93% Mastercard soon.

    It's better to focus on what PSD2 brings and the innovation for consumers than replacing core infrastructure which works reliably.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Could someone explain to me how near complete ownership of a monopoly payment processor (VocaLink) by a member (MasterCard) of the payment card provider duopoly is any way be better or more competitive than ownership distributed widely amongst the users of that infrastructure?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        In the UK about 97% of debit payments are made through the Visa network so for ‘instant’ payments it’s really a monopoly.

        This acquisition provides MasterCard with access to real-time payments (FPS) and peer to peer mobile instant payments in Zapp (plus Bacs & Link).

        The PSR complain that the banks own the company that runs the infrastructure so it has to be sold off. Who’s going to buy it? Can’t be another bank as there would be complaints of unfair advantage for that bank over the other users of the system. Could be FDI, but that also implies monopoly.

        This is what happens when a regulator wants the government to think they are relevant.

        Also, at a global level, UnionPay is larger than Visa and MasterCard.

  6. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    I found out last year when trying to buy a car that FPS only works on transactions less than the value of the ( £4k ) car I was trying to buy. I had to split it into two ( and apparently the girl on the phone at my bank could have been told off for agreeing that I could do that ).

    It makes no sense - do banks make that much out of CHAPS payments that it's worth hobbling FPS?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Limits

      FPS supports payments up to £250k (it was £100k until recently). It's your bank that's hobbled you, and yes, maybe they want you to pay for CHAPS.

      Time use a better bank....

    2. rd232

      What bank was that? Maybe they were only just getting started with FPS.

      http://www.fasterpayments.org.uk/about-us/transaction-limits

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Halifax in 2014

  7. Andy E
    WTF?

    Cost to business

    I have worked in the processing side and the one thing that struck me was how much they were stiffing small businesses. Upto 20% of a transaction could be the processing fee. Outragous.

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Let's fix the problem ...

    ... and make sure that the solution is not Bitcoin.

    I've been very amused at the payment and banking industries assertion that Bitcoin is dead in the water but that the block chain will solve all their problems.

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