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by Ben Jackson 0

As the British government continues its 2013 push to increase competitiveness in the payments industry, the UK Payments Council just published its ‘payments roadmap’ which sets forth recommended targets with the eventual goal of a shared payments infrastructure in the region.

The report’s publication follows comments made last week by Andrea Leadsom, a Member of Parliament and member of the UK Treasury Select Committee who suggested that many core bank functions be placed on one shared payments infrastructure. The UK Payments Council’s report outlines six possible means of creating the aforementioned shared infrastructure.

The options include:

1. Building a central clearing hub and reducing the number of payment clearing mechanisms that currently exist.
2. Create a centralized banking utility that would oversee checking accounts, collaborative clearing and data and service management.
3. Decentralize all aspects of payments, handing individual banks the responsibility for all necessary actions and minimizing collaboration.
4. Build up an agency banking platform that would focus on creating a shared platform designed for all the smaller agency banks. This would allow for smaller banks to challenge their larger counterparts by granting them access to more banking services like payment processing and data management.
5. Improve the current infrastructure step by step.
6. Hybrid model of clearing and settlement, with both near-real time and real time clearing and settlement mechanisms.

Commenting on the report, Jemma Smith, spokesperson for the Payments Council said:

“We hope that this will help focus the debate over the coming months. It’s about trying to work out the best possible solutions without being overly prescriptive, and gathering up views on the best path forward.”

Though the full version of the roadmap is not expected to be ready until early next year, it is clear that the current formation of payments infrastructure in the UK is likely to experience significant change in the coming years.

Download the report from the Payments Journal Library. Site registration is required.

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