In Depth: Regulators Tussle Over Competition Versus Reliability For New UK Payments Scheme

Few are prepared to venture a guess of the size of the contract to be awarded by the UK’s top payment systems operator, Pay.UK, to supply the engine of the country’s new retail payment system — but all agree it will be massive.

The New Payments Architecture (NPA) will eventually replace the Bacs, Faster Payments and Cheque and Credit Clearing systems, among others, with one giant real-time scheme that will process the bulk of UK residents’ pay packets, invoices and interbank payments.

The tender process to supply and operate the central infrastructure of the NPA has set off a scramble to compete for the contract and dislodge Mastercard-owned Vocalink, which supplies the underlying technology for Bacs and Faster Payments.

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