Variable Recurring Payments required for sweeping

27 July 2021

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) is delighted to learn that the CMA has decided, in line with the Trustee’s recommendations to mandate Variable Recurring Payments (VRPs) as the mechanism for implementing sweeping.

The CMA today published a letter to the Implementation Trustee that stated: “Making effective provision for sweeping is an important element of the open banking remedy and it is important that sweeping provisions include the ability to move funds out of current accounts into accounts earning a higher rate of interest, and conversely enables customers to access alternative and cheaper sources of short-term credit.”

Simply put, sweeping is the automatic transfer of money between a customer’s own accounts, such as moving excess funds into a separate savings account or using them to repay a loan or overdraft account.

VRPs allow customers to safely connect authorised payments providers to their bank account so that they can make payments on the customer’s behalf within agreed parameters that offer more control and transparency than existing alternatives.

This decision means that the largest UK current account providers will have to implement VRPs within the next six months and allow free access to third party providers who are using VRPs to enable their customers to move money from their current accounts to other accounts.

Commenting on the CMA’s decision, OBIE’s Implementation Trustee Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE said:

“The CMA’s decision in line with OBIE’s advice, is a win for competition and innovation, which will deliver significant benefits to consumers and small businesses. We’ve been anticipating a decision from the CMA on this for some time now and have been on standby to implement this by the end of this year. The OBIE will now mandate Variable Recurring Payments for the purpose of sweeping, which is the automatic movement of money between an account holder’s different accounts. We like to think of it as the smarter version of direct debit payments.

This is a major step forward in payments, giving consumers more control over their money whilst also protecting them from incurring unwanted fees. It will, for example, allow surplus money to be automatically transferred from a current account to a savings account to help build a savings pot or to an overdraft or loan account to help the customer keep their borrowing costs to a minimum.

We are especially delighted as this is the last major piece of functionality to be delivered under the CMA’s open banking remedies. Over the past five years, we have built a thriving open banking ecosystem that already benefits nearly 4 million people and is growing rapidly. We look forward to the outcome of the CMA’s consultation on the future governance of open banking, which we hope will allow us to continue delivering world-leading innovation to the benefit of consumers, SMEs and the industry.”

– – – ENDS – – –

For further information, please contact:

About Us

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) is the entity set up by the CMA in 2016 to deliver open banking. Its trading name is Open Banking Limited.

The OBIE is governed by the CMA and funded by the CMA9 (Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Danske, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, Natwest Group and Santander). Its works with the CMA 9, as well as challenger banks, financial technology companies, third party providers and consumer groups. The OBIE’s role is to:

  • Enforce the obligations on the CMA9 under the CMA Order
  • Design the specifications for the Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) that banks and building societies use to securely provide open banking
  • Support regulated third party providers and banks and building societies to use the OBIE’s open banking standards
  • Create security and messaging standards
  • Manage the OBIE’s open banking Directory which allows regulated participants like banks, building societies and third-party providers to enrol in open banking
  • Produce guidelines for participants in the open banking ecosystem
  • Set out the process for managing disputes and complaints