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UK payments regulator to probe card acquiring market

The UK’s Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) is to conduct a market review into the consumer and business card acquisition following complaints from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) of increased fees and as ineffective industry competition.

Card acquiring services are the middlemen between retailers and services such as MasterCard and Visa, processing the payments we make during card purchases. The PSR will look into whether the choice of these services is competitive. They will also investigate whether they are charging unfair fees to retailers, which, in turn, could be causing higher prices for consumers.

Hannah Nixon, managing director of the UK Payment Systems Regulator, says: “With more and more of us using our payment cards to make purchases, we want to make sure that retailers that accept card payments can access card-acquiring services that are competitive, offer value for money and are innovative – working in both their interests, and consumers’ interests too. We will look to make changes if we think improvements should be made.”

Andrew Cregan, policy adviser at the BRC also welcomed the review, and said it has come at a time when retailers are facing “acute cost pressures”.