The Association of Convenience Stores is calling for the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) to prioritise reducing the cost of anti-competitive and opaque card scheme fees.
The PSR is currently holding a consultation on its draft five-year strategy, which identifies four key priorities:
- Ensure users have continued access to the payment services they rely upon and support effective choice of alternative payment options.
- Ensure users are sufficiently protected when using the UK’s payment systems, now and in the future.
- Promote competition in markets and protect users where that competition is not sufficient, including between payment systems within the UK and in the markets supported by them.
- Ensure the renewal and future governance of the UK’s interbank payment systems supports innovation and competition in payments.
In its submission to the consultation, ACS has urged the PSR to work with the HM Treasury to ensure access to cash legislation does not undermine the sustainability of the Link ATM network and encouraged them to proceed with implementing remedies from its market review into card acquiring services to help retailers effectively compare and switch providers. The submission also highlights rising fees to process card payments, which are unavoidable for retailers and ultimately partly passed onto consumers.
ACS chief executive, James Lowman, said: “Convenience retailers play a crucial role in offering customers a breadth of payment options and providing access to cash for consumers in communities right across the country. The Payment Systems Regulator is right to prioritise securing long-term access to cash through its work with the Link ATM network and encouraging innovation to reduce processing costs for retailers, which are ultimately shared with customers too.
“The PSR is now an established regulator and must act to prevent excessive increases in card scheme fees for debit and credit cards. The card acquirer review is a positive step but needs implementing so that retailers can shop around and switch card payments providers, securing the best deals for them and their customers.”