This is the text of the speech as drafted and may differ from the delivered version. This speech was delivered by our Chair, Aidene Walsh, at the Innovate Finance Global Summit on 16 April 2024. 

End of year reflections of the PSR

Good morning. I’m delighted to be with you all again, this time reflecting on the work we’ve done at the PSR over the last year to grow trust in and deliver strong outcomes in payments -and also what more we can do in the year ahead.  

10% of FinTechs globally reside in the UK - outstripping the whole of Europe combined and estimates suggest that a clearly defined ambitious FinTech agenda could increase that to 12% by 2030 given the UK’s strengths.

We want to support achieving that.

Being here has given me the chance to hear so many organisations outline their visions for the future of payments. The UK should be proud of its vibrant Fintech sector and the innovations delivered to benefit users, whether they be companies or individuals.

And I am very clear that the PSR’s relationship with the Fintech and wider community is mission critical.

This reflects our strong focus on innovation which is indeed built into our statutory objectives– for companies large and small - across the payments ecosystem.

And it is core to our role as an economic regulator – balancing natural tensions in the ecosystem to deliver sustainable and effective change.

In reflecting on our work, I want to focus on how the PSR is supporting sustainable innovations that customers trust and which lead to sustainable growth – contributing to UK competitiveness and prosperity.

What particularly prompted my thinking were statistics I recently saw which suggested that 70-90% of innovations fail.

And the story of early innovators – who did not sustainably innovate and suffered the consequences – Blockbuster, Myspace and Toys R Us - to name a few.

And without sustainable innovation, we will fall behind given the pace of change.

So how have we supported this to date and helped to deliver competition.  And of course, we recognise more can be done.

Open Banking

I’ll start with open banking. There has been major progress in recent years.  

Hundreds of businesses innovating across the ecosystem to deliver new services - for example paying charity donations by open banking or coupling open banking payments with reward schemes.

And it is making a difference – with nearly 15m Open Banking payment calls a month – seven times the amount in Sweden, our closest European peer.

UK businesses are adopting account to account payments now. As is Government – HMRC made history by becoming the first tax authority in the world to integrate open banking into its systems – and Truelayer has been appointed to the Government’s commercial payments framework.

But we need to go further and the PSR is committed to pressing forward with this exciting agenda.

Working jointly with the FCA through JROC to support change - to help develop the sustainable market for open banking retail payments – supporting the growth of innovative businesses.

Our work on supporting Variable Recurring payments is part of this.  

Where there is consensus, it is important that the industry gets on with the building blocks to support VRP. Where there isn’t, we’ve consulted on a way forward – on a commercial model and participation. We are listening to feedback and will respond in the summer. We know there are widely varying views across industry on some issues, but we do not want that to slow down progress where industry does agree and it’s important for us all to find a way forward sooner rather than later on the areas of disagreement.  

The UK is still amongst the minority of countries in the world which does not have an effective competitor to cards in retail payments. This doesn’t feel right given that 99.76% of UK adults have a bank account. And open banking can help to deliver that competitive alternative - supporting an even more diverse ecosystem – with opportunities for sustainable innovation for all. This important agenda will bring more choice for businesses and customers - which is key to growth and sustainability.


We know that you will be looking at ways to help maximise customer adoption - to support sustainable growth for yourselves and the UK economy.  

A key part of this is safe payment systems. Without that, customers will not adopt, businesses will not make the contribution they can to our economy and innovators will not gain long-lasting rewards from their amazing ideas.  

We will shortly be publishing consumer research that indicates that lack of trust is a key barrier to increased use of digital payments, creating a clear connection between customer choice and safety. That trust is also key to building financial inclusion.

Customers will use the services they trust. Safety, as a driver to switch, is more than twice as important than improved functionality such as speed or customer control. Even innovation success stories – such as Pix in Brazil – are having to address these concerns to support their continued trust.  

Our work on tackling APP scams helps ensure that users of account-to-account payment services feel protected, ensuring that businesses are built on solid foundations, where all parties in the eco-system are who they say they are. In the recent information produced by the PSR in respect of APP scams, over 18% of one company’s payments were recognised as fraudulent. Is it a coincidence that its Trustpilot score was just over one? Irrespective of what innovation it is delivering, how can a company build a strong sustainable customer base when customer trust is low?

We recognise that the requirements we’ve set out in APP scams are challenging for some companies. However, innovation should play an important role when combatting fraud - firms that are better at managing fraud should have an advantage and attract more customers.

With this work, we recognise there is more to do and we will continue to engage with you, providing support in implementing our requirements and enabling further fraud prevention tools such as enhanced fraud data.

We have set up fortnightly sessions to work through the issues, so please do connect with us. The outcome of a trusted, successful faster payments system supporting long term innovation is within our reach.

After 7 October, we will continue to support you and have also committed to ensure that our policy remains proportionate through ongoing monitoring – including the maximum level of reimbursement. And to support the next phase in the battle against fraud.

Broader developments

And we need infrastructure in the UK which sustains successful future innovation and competition.

We led the world on Faster Payments. But that infrastructure is now dated.

To support sustainable innovation, our infrastructure must support the functionality needed for new and existing methods of payments.   

This is an important agenda. We have written to Pay.UK to engage it on its plans for the further investment needed in Faster Payments – including the potential to deliver upgrades to deliver the capabilities needed to support the next developments on open banking and retail payments.

And of course, no payments speech at the moment would be complete without mention of the National Payments Vision, which many of us are working closely with HMT on.

We welcomed the announcement of the Vision and we are confident that it will set the scene for further innovation and competition.   

We are also continuing to engage with the opportunities of new and emerging systems including Fnality which went live last year.

And we are considering the role of tokenised payments, Central Bank Digital Currency and the Regulated Liability Network, so we can effectively engage with them as they develop.  

The role of global interoperability and big tech

And sustainable innovation will be critical to how we address the opportunities and challenges of the future.

We see a range of models globally for the development of new innovative products – and see other systems increasing their interoperability. For example, India is looking to increase use of UPI worldwide including by facilitating its adoption by non-resident Indians. Countries are integrating their systems – look to Thailand which is integrating with seven other countries. We risk being left behind.

Beyond that, Big Tech companies are playing an increasing role in payments. We are already one of the highest global users of ApplePay – and the role of big tech is all but certain to grow.

Collaboratively adapting to meet these opportunities and challenges will be critical for the UK payments ecosystem.


So perhaps not a fully-fledged appraisal but certainly my reflections on the what and the how for the PSR for this past year - with a continued focus of supporting sustainable innovation at the heart of what the PSR is looking to achieve.

Your long-term growth and development is critical to our country’s success, and to that end, please be assured that the PSR is here to support sustainable innovation and competition in payments. That is my commitment – and that of the PSR – as we move into this coming financial Year. This means us working more closely with you – listening to your views and your concerns and ensuring an open dialogue.

I am fully confident that the Fintech and wider community will seize the opportunities - supported by effective regulation – helping to deliver a sustainable and innovative payments system which works for everyone in the UK – now and in the future.