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Payment systems overhaul welcomed


30 Nov 16

The Payments Strategy Forum has launched a new strategy aimed at overhauling the UK’s payment systems by 2020.

In the first industry-wide initiative of its kind, the Forum – whose members include consumer groups, payments companies and financial services sector representatives including ABCUL – announced plans to introduce a series of initiatives that will help tackle financial crime, give people greater control over how they manage their day-to-day finances and greater assurance when they make a payment.

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette has shared his thoughts on these proposals for fundamental reform. Mark writes:

The challenges credit unions face accessing the payments system has been a source of frustration for the sector for some time.

When I joined the Payments Strategy Forum last year, it was encouraging to hear that we were by no means alone in our view that the UK’s payment systems were failing to deliver in the interests of consumers.

It has been refreshing to see a real determination to enact radical change – with buy-in from all the major players in this field – and the new strategy published this week represents a truly exciting opportunity to embrace competition and innovation to transform our payment systems in the interests of all.

Just as credit unions must be led by the needs and expectations of modern consumers when reviewing our product offering, the Payments Strategy Forum made understanding and responding to user needs a guiding principle in its work.

Consumers told the Forum that they want more control over their payments and greater confidence when they make a payment that it goes to the right place. Meanwhile, businesses and public sector bodies said that being able to send and receive more information with their payments would improve their day-to-day operations.

And of course it’s critical to credit unions and to all financial institutions that our payment systems are robust, resilient and always one step ahead of cyber criminals.

The Forum’s proposal for a new payments architecture by 2020 which makes access easier and allows challengers and innovators to compete with banks on a level playing field is good news for credit unions.

The world is changing very quickly and it’s vital that we don’t maintain artificial barriers to progress and innovation which could prove detrimental to consumers and damaging to the economy. This new strategy maps out a payments architecture fit for the challenges of the future – and where credit unions have a fair chance to make their mark.

“A Payments Strategy for the 21st Century” can be read in full here.

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