Iain High, MD of payment services provider Anderson Zaks and Board member of European Payments body EPSM suggests some points to consider.Just as we are all trying to come to terms with the new iteration of the Payment Service Directive (PSD2) due to take effect in January 2018, and other initiatives from the European Commission such as Interchange Fee Regulation, update to Money Laundering rules and the Directive on Transparency and Comparability of Payment Account fees, the possibility of Britain’s exit from the EU is a very real possibility.
The payments industry is a complicated one, that has been built up over many years. In the UK as well as all our own home grown regulations we also have the European Commission, the Payments Service Directive (PSD), the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Payments Council (EPC) with which we must comply.
What will happen to UK payments if we leave the EU in June? Will the Single European Payments Area (SEPA) be a thing of the past? Do we ignore PSD2, refusing to make our bank accounts accessible by EU Third Party Providers (TPP)?
Will the common Interchange Fee (MIF) become a thing of the past?
If the great British public vote for Out, who will set the standards and regulate the payments industry as we move to ever more diverse forms of payments? Can the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street (The Bank of England) step up to the mark? What about the Financial Conduct Authority and the Payment Services Regulator – funded by the very organisations that they are meant to be policing? The FCA has stated that as a member state it will implement PSD2 by 2018, but will this still happen if the UK leaves the EU. Leaving Europe would create a huge amount of work and renegotiations for the payment industry, on the other hand, we would no longer be obliged to implement PSD2, or any other EU legislation.
So how will our new payment regulator help drive innovation and control our industry without the support of European partners? Perhaps this could be a benefit to the UK as Europe’s payment landscape is quite different from ours.