Power to the PSR

Power to the PSR

What are the most important aspects of the guidance recently published by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR)? Noel Beale, director of Burges Salmon’s competition and regulation department, explores the guidance and explains that the PSR is now in a position to use its competition powers.

Original news

PSR publishes final competition and market guidance LNB News 13/08/2015 142

The PSR has published guidance for consumers and businesses who use, or are likely to use, the services provided by payment systems explaining how it will use its competition powers effectively and efficiently. The PSR has also published responses to an earlier consultation on its concurrent competition powers in parallel with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

What is the background to the PSR’s policy paper?

The immediate background to the PSR’s policy paper is that since 1 April 2014, the PSR has had the power to make market investigation references to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and since 1 April 2015, it has been a concurrent regulator under the Competition Act 1998 (CA 1998) as regards competition investigations.

These, and the setting up of the PSR itself, can be seen against the background context of the issues that EU and UK competition authorities have had with payment systems over the last 15 years or so—where there have been significant investigations in to the operations of Visa and MasterCard, in particular, around the levels of multilateral interchange fees. This is now subject to EU legislation under the Regulation on interchange fees for card-based payment transactions (EU) 2015/751.

These powers were therefore given to the PSR to e

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