PSR consults on card-acquiring services review

The PSR has published a consultation on remedies for its card-acquiring market review. This follows its report in November 2021 which identified the following three features of concern in relation to how the market operates:

  • acquirers and independent sales organisations do not typically publish their prices for card-acquiring services, making it difficult for merchants to compare prices;
  • acquirer and payment facilitator contracts for card-acquiring services are often of indefinite duration, with no clear trigger for merchants to consider switching; and
  • the need to switch POS terminals and terminate existing POS terminal contracts (often incurring a significant fee) discourages merchants from switching their card-acquiring service provider.

The consultation relates to the aim of increasing choice for merchants and ensuring the market works better for them. To advance this aim, the consultations sets out four potential remedies:

  • greater transparency for merchants by card-acquirers providing summary information setting out key price and non-price service elements;
  • improved access to comparison tools;
  • greater engagement between merchants and providers to enable merchants to know when their contract is due for renewal; and
  • easier methods for merchants to switch between card-acquiring service providers.

The consultation is open for comments until 6 April 2022. The responses will form part of the PSR’s consideration as to whether these remedies adequately address the concerns, or whether further intervention is needed.

Emma Bond