CMA issues new July 2022 deadline for VRPs on OBIE’s recommendation

Ellie Duncan
17 Nov 2021

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved a revised deadline of July 2022 for the implementation of variable recurring payments (VRPs) for sweeping services by the largest UK current account providers, on the recommendation of the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE).

The deadline has been pushed back from January 2022, after the OBIE wrote to the CMA on 8 November with a proposed new timeline for the CMA9, which includes Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Danske, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, NatWest Group and Santander, to implement the requirements.

Daniel Gordon, senior director of markets at the CMA, said that in its letter, the OBIE set out that “most if not all the CMA9 do not have a realistic prospect of meeting the target of implementing VRPs for sweeping by 31 January 2022”.

Under the approved timescale for delivery of the VRP standard for sweeping, the CMA9 banks will be required to share a “detailed delivery plan for full capability” with the OBIE by January 2022 and be ready to begin TPP testing and validation in the first quarter of 2022.

They must then have completed testing of the VRP standard in a live, controlled environment by TPPs by July 2022, “so the firms are ready to progress general availability of the standard”.

In a letter to the OBIE, Gordon wrote: “The CMA has considered the recommendation and agrees that, under the circumstances, revising the implementation timetable for the VRP standard for sweeping services in the way you recommend is the most appropriate way to proceed. In particular, we agree that in order for the standard to be considered implemented, it needs to be available for general use by TPPs.

“While it is clearly disappointing that the January 2022 timeframe will not be met, it remains vitally important to ensure that work to progress the standard’s implementation continues as a priority, and at pace, across the CMA9.”

In a statement, the OBIE said it welcomed the announcement from the CMA.

“The intention of this revised timetable is to ensure that Open Banking payment providers can start to pilot new propositions early in 2022, whilst ensuring that all CMA9 banks have an appropriate amount of time to successfully implement VRPs for sweeping by mid-2022,” the OBIE stated.

The CMA gave the OBIE the green light to mandate VRPs for sweeping – the automatic transfer of money between a customer’s own accounts – in July this year.