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Press releases 2004 -

Payment systems task force members and terms of reference announced

43/04     15 March 2004

The OFT has today published the terms of reference and details of the membership (see below) of the new banking Payment Systems Task Force.

The creation of the Task Force follows the Chancellor's Pre-Budget report last November which said that the OFT would take on an enhanced role on payment systems for a period of four years.

Download the questionnaire and terms of reference (pdf 149 kb).

The Task force, chaired by the OFT, brings together industry, retail, consumer and government representatives with an interest in payment systems.

It will:

  • identify, consider and seek to resolve competition, efficiency and incentive issues relating to payment systems, particularly looking at network effects of the existing payment mechanisms. Where appropriate, issues affecting consumers which derive from, or are associated with, features of payment systems will also be considered
  • will take account of previous work on payment systems, including the Cruickshank and OFT reports but will also take account of later developments. 

The Task Force will meet on a regular basis, not less than four times a year. It will report on its work programme and findings annually. The first meeting of the Task Force has been set for Monday 26 April with the next meeting in June.  A number of sub-groups will be established to take work forward on various issues between Task Force meetings. 

In the meantime, OFT will issue a questionnaire to canvass views from all interested parties on a broad range of issues relating to payment systems, raised by the Cruickshank and OFT reports. These issues relate to governance, access, pricing, innovation and retail and wholesale price transparency. The results of this work will inform the decision as to which initial areas should be addressed by the Task Force.

Download the questionnaire and terms of reference (pdf 149 kb).

The establishment of the Payment Systems Task Force is separate from OFT's wider law-enforcement role, including its on-going work on credit cards, and from its work with the industry to improve self-regulation. This work continues within its own established framework.

The Government will then review competition in the industry at the end of the four year period and will legislate unless there has been a significant improvement.
The Task Force will be chaired by Jonathan May, Director Markets and Policy Initiatives, OFT.


Mr Ian Mullen, Chief Executive, British Bankers' Association
Mr Adrian Coles, Director General, Building Societies Association
Mr Christopher Pearson, Chief Executive, APACS
Mr Fred Galbraith, Company Manager, C&CCC
Mr Michael Chambers, Managing Director, BACS Payment Schemes Limited
Mr David McFarlane, Company Manager, CHAPS
Mr David Bishop, Deputy Head of Parliamentary Affairs, Federation of Small Businesses
Mr David Felwick, Chairman, British Retail Consortium
National Consumer Council – name to be confirmed
Mr Howard Aiken, Card Scheme Director, LINK
British Chambers of Commerce – name to be confirmed
Mr Nick Stace, Director, Consumers' Association
Mr Colin Grannell, Managing Director, Visa UK Ltd.
Mr John Bushby, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Northern Europe, MasterCard Europe SPRL
Mr Roger Alexander, Chief Executive, S2 Card Services Ltd.

The Bank of England and HM Treasury will sit as observers to the Task Force.

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