What is happening with Bacs and the New Payments Architecture (NPA)?
A high-level summary for those not directly involved.
By Gavin Lawrence, Director.
Many people in my network, either use Bacs services or are directly involved in supplying Bacs services to customers. They will all have a keen interest therefore, in what happens to Bacs in the future. In the last few years there has been very little information made public about the future of Bacs. Pay.UK have updated the key stakeholders in New Payments Architecture but not publicly.
In a vacuum of information there is typically a mix of assumption and hearsay. Much of this gets repeated by word of mouth and goes unchecked. I have read many a post that attempts to be helpful but is somewhat wide of the mark.
So here, for what it is worth is the latest update I can give on Bacs and the NPA. This is based on my own experience of working at Pay.UK and from trusted official sources.
First of all, the NPA stands for (New Payments Architecture). It is a live project at Pay.UK. and it has been running for a few years now. Rather than me providing a second-hand explanation here is the official summary from Pay.UK.
A key phrase in this text is “This core will process Faster Payments volumes in the first instance, with Bacs payments subject to further industry consultation”.
When the NPA was first announced the aim was to deliver a new platform to replace Bacs as well as Faster Payments. This path was investigated originally, and the first high level designs were on that basis. Due to a variety of factors around the scale and complexity of the project the PSR (Payment Systems Regulator) narrowed the scope of the project to a replacement for Faster Payments only. This has allowed to project to progress, and it is moving towards choosing a vendor to build the NPA platform. I expect further announcements to come on that in the next few months and I am not close to the detail. To understand why the PSR took this approach, again I would suggest reading up on their updates and announcements of the project.
So, in summary. The NPA project is moving forwards to provide a replacement for Faster Payments. The platform could move into a build phase in the coming year or so. It would then be a few more years before going live and looking to migrate existing Faster Payments transactions. As it stands today, Bacs is not part of that project. There will be a further consultation announced at some stage but realistically we are still many years away from seeing Bacs move to a new platform.
I hope we will be provided with more public updates soon, and I will share any updates that are made publicly available. Another useful article is provided here by UK Finance.
If you still have questions, please contact me – I am here to help!