Preparing for Brexit

A Withdrawal Agreement covering the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU was agreed by the UK and the EU in October 2019. 

On 29 January, the Withdrawal Agreement was ratified and the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, entering an implementation period. During this period, the UK will negotiate its future relationship with the EU. The implementation period is due to operate until 31 December 2020.  

The implementation period

During the implementation period, EU law will continue to apply in the UK. This means that the current protections and rights consumers have will not change until after 31 December 2020. Firms will need to consider how the end of the implementation period will affect their business and their customers, and what action they may need to take to be ready for 1 January 2021. After this date, if an agreement is struck, the application of EU laws in the UK will depend on the terms of this agreement.

Our role

As responsibility for the payments sector sits across a number of regulators, in the process of assessing the requirements of the Withdrawal Agreement, we worked with the FCA, the Bank of England and other regulators, when required, to identify and manage EU withdrawal risks relating to the payments sector. We also worked with HMT, and other regulators, to onshore relevant EU and domestic legislation in the event of a no deal scenario, e.g. the Interchange Fee Regulation. 

We have engaged with key participants in the sector such as Visa, Mastercard, UK Finance and Pay.UK to understand the risks they face and the contingency plans they have developed to mitigate these risks. We will continue to engage with industry bodies, other financial authorities and consumer groups to ensure that there are no new risks and that previously identified risks have been sufficiently mitigated. 

Next steps

We will continue to work hard to ensure that we and the UK payments sector are prepared for the end of the implementation period. This includes continuing to engage with HMT and other UK regulators, in particular the FCA and the Bank of England. 
We will also continue to work closely with the national authorities in member states and all European policymakers on shared issues and priorities. 
We remain committed to ensuring that the UK’s payment systems work well for everyone, now and in the future. 

For any enquiries related to our work on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, please email The FCA, HM Treasury and the Bank of England have also published information about preparing for Brexit.