Retail payments authority Pay.UK has initiated a competitive process seeking a strategic partner to define, create and operate a new payments infrastructure for the future.

The authority has published a Strategic Partner Procurement Prospectus to guide interested parties.

According to Pay.UK, the New Payments Architecture (NPA) will be designed for safe and secure processing of huge volumes of payments each year.

The new infrastructure is set to take over the processing of Bacs, Faster Payments and potentially check payments.

It is expected that integration of the processing will enable better payment services by simplifying the rules, standards and processes that are required to be followed to use the systems.

The authority already assumed operational responsibility of the Bacs and Faster Payments in May this year. The payment systems became subsidiaries of Pay.UK.

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Pay.UK is inviting applications from single suppliers or a prime-led consortium and expects to choose a strategic partner in the second quarter of 2020.

The selected partner has to design and build the clearing and settlement layer of the NPA. This includes hardware, software, secure communications and security standards, and operating settings.

Furthermore, the authority noted that the infrastructure should be designed to flex and accommodate any future volume changes.

Pay.UK chief executive Paul Horlock said: “Pay.UK has been tasked by the Payments Strategy Forum to deliver the future of payments in the UK via the New Payments Architecture.

“Publication of this prospectus is the launch pad for the delivery of this unique undertaking, representing a massive opportunity for potential partners to be involved in delivering the core of a next-generation retail payments ecosystem.”