The U.K. Treasury announces this week the creation of a new regulatory agency charged with increasing competition in the payments sector. The new agency will sit under the Financial Conduct Authority and begin its work in 2014.
According to the Treasury, the purpose of this new regulatory body will be to "empower smaller firms to challenge the big banks to deliver real benefits for each and every user of financial services." In the U.K., 17.5 billion non-cash transactions took place last year, according to the government.
Under it's directive to promote competition in the banking sector, the new regulator will specifically tasked with ordering changes to how payment systems operate, make it cheaper for smaller banks to access payments systems and investigate and impose fines or other sanctions when rules are broken
In a statement, Financial Secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid said, "An open and transparent payments system is crucial to give new players freedom to challenge the big banks without unfair barriers. The reforms we are announcing today will encourage innovation, ensuring that real benefits are passed onto each and every user of financial services."