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New rules for a New Payments Architecture (NPA)

Man studying document

As the New Payments Architecture rulebook takes shape, we look at how it’s being put together and why it will be a valuable, easy-to-use resource for customers and stakeholders.

Over the next 12 to 14 months we will be writing a completely new ‘rulebook’ for the NPA, also referred to as the NPA Contractual Framework.

This rulebook is a critical document that covers every aspect of how our customers interact with the NPA. It will help to ensure that the NPA operates successfully, with minimal risk, and that customers get what they need and expect from the new system.

The NPA rulebook is a collection of documents that will include:

  • Legal Agreements
  • Rules
  • Requirements
  • Operational Procedures
  • Standards
  • Specifications

Our approach

Some legal agreements in the rulebook will be similar to those detailed in previous payment systems as the related law is largely unchanged. The remainder is being written from the ‘ground-up’, based on the following delivery approach

  1. Analysis. Review existing schemes (FPS, Bacs, ICS) to understand what works well, what aspects can be improved and what lessons can be learnt.
  2. Requirements and risk. Conduct a top down risk analysis to Identify the risks and define rules to mitigate them. Analyse use cases and architecture models to identify what rules need to be in place to make sure everything works as intended. Review global FMI rule structure and best practices to capture any lessons learned that can be incorporated into the NPA rulebook.
  3. Document delivery. Agree the document structure, draft initial documents and process through NPA governance. Procure a Digital Rulebook Hosting solution to allow access to the rulebook in a digital manner, making it easier to search and access content.
  4. Consultations and sign-off. Finalise the core contractual documents and conduct a public consultation with a view to obtaining formal agreements from customers and the Bank of England

How the NPA rulebook will be different

Our focus for the NPA rulebook is to make it easy to use and search. We want it to be a ‘lightweight’ document, ideally not as content heavy as the current Faster Payment System rulebook, which (like the Bacs documentation) has become large and unwieldy over time. One of the detriments of existing payment systems is rulebook usability: a problem finding the right information can become a major issue if there’s an incident. We plan to make the NPA rulebook available digitally, with enhanced searching, with access via any device. In addition, we will include plain English descriptions of legal text for easier understanding.

The NPA rulebook will also be specific to customers, not a one size fits all, so each customer will only get documentation that is relevant to the services they choose to use on the NPA.

The new, more lightweight rulebook will also reduce the burden of attestation and make it more proportionate to the size of a customer. We will be able to change a customer’s attestation cycles to reflect their status, extending their response window if they are maintaining a good position or introducing a more frequent assessment if not.

Find out more

We will be communicating about the project through the usual NPA channels, however if you have questions about the NPA rulebook please contact us