Blog Home >Blog Post
pile of credit cards

What is the New Payments Architecture? And how to stay up-to-date

The New Payments Architecture (NPA) initiative is designed to reshape the UK's payment architecture.

It plans to improve the current payment ecosystem by consolidating payment types into a single, modern ISO 20022-compliant architecture.

Doing so will facilitate the simpler implementation of changes across interbank payments and improve security across UK payment systems.

In this blog post, we explore what the New Payments Architecture will look like in the UK, why these changes are being made and how Interbacs is a leading voice in the upcoming changes.



What is the New Payments Architecture?

The New Payments Architecture, managed by, is designed to modernise the UK's payment infrastructure. 

The NPA has been created to replace the existing BACS and Faster Payments systems with a more streamlined and modern infrastructure. 

BACS and Faster Payments are currently two critical components of UK payment systems, and the NPA looks to bring them together in a cohesive framework that delivers added efficiency.

The project will be the most significant upgrade to the UK's payment system in a generation.


What does the New Payments Architecture aim to achieve?

The NPA project aims to create a future-proof, single payment platform to keep the UK at the forefront of the global payments ecosystem.

It looks to enhance the speed of payment processing to enable faster real-time transactions and implement advanced security measures to protect against fraud and unauthorised access.

When fully implemented, it will ensure that different payment systems across the UK can work seamlessly together and facilitate a simpler way to establish common standards in UK finance.

The fast pace of technological change and shifting customer needs are driving this necessity for straightforward and safer payments, and the NPA looks to do this by keeping payment systems in tandem with ongoing developments. has outlined the aims of the NPA by creating six defined strategic objectives. Let's explore them below.

1. Future-proofing

New technology will maintain a robust, resilient and scalable platform. As well as this, it'll enhance existing resilience and security in the payments system.

By doing so, the NPA will help UK finance workers manage systemic risk as the market and consumer habits evolve.

2. Faster handling

The NPA aims to offer real-time payment capability while maintaining flexibility inside a centralised system.

It'll facilitate real-time customer-to-business payments while offering alternatives to those who require flexibility from their payment offering.

3. Fighting fraud

Another goal of the NPA is to offer all users a safe and secure environment. 

It'll deliver features that significantly improve the security of financial institutions and their ability to combat fraud and financial crime.

4. Enhanced data

Payments will be made using a new global messaging standard (ISO 20022), which carries more data fields per payment.

This gives businesses the tools to create new products and services by having the data they need to drive innovation and decisions.

5. Improving innovation

By lowering the barriers to entry and opening up the flexibility for choice of access, more connectivity options will be delivered through the programme.

These options include an on-demand testing environment and an automated and single settlement account model.

6. Driving efficiency

The NPA looks to improve productivity and lower costs for those in the payments ecosystem.

It'll drive operational efficiencies and cost savings for banks, fintechs, building societies and everyone involved in the payment ecosystem.


Why has the New Payments Architecture been created?

The existing payment architecture in the UK is a complex one. Comprised of several systems, such as Bacs, Faster Payments and Cheque and Credit, there are many different rules depending on which payment service you're using.

With each infrastructure sitting separately from the next, it creates an inflexible system that can be difficult to implement changes across. With ever-changing customer needs and the vast shift from cash to card throughout the pandemic, the demand for a flexible, centralised system is greater than ever.

The NPA will make it easier for banks to comply with new requirements as they'll all sit under the same umbrella of a centralised programme. 

With the modernisation of UK payment systems, processes like the BACS three-day cycle will be left behind as they're no longer feasible, with more businesses settling payments in real-time. It'll also improve how Direct Debits are processed, adding speed and security to the long-standing payment process.


What are the next steps for the NPA?

Following a regulatory review, the scope of the NPA has been pulled back from its original ambition to combine all current payment methods, including Faster Payments, BACS, CHAPS and Cheque and Credit Clearing.

The NPA is now targeting an initial replacement of Faster Payments, with the option to include BACS at a later stage.

In terms of implementation, there were murmurs that 2030 would be the full go-live date. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been telling in terms of on-time implementation.

As of now, the exact timeline is still being determined, but Interbacs is here to help you understand NPA and stay up-to-date.


Stay one step ahead with Interbacs

Regarding the NPA, we're part of the conversation shaping the future of payment systems across the UK.

Interbacs is actively participating in the steering group for the NPA, so is reliably informed of any changes or updates to the projects' implementation. 

By actively engaging in workshops and having our finger on the pulse of the NPA's direction, we're the best place to come for any NPA updates you require.

Our customers and partners will benefit from working with a company at the forefront of NPA discussions and has the expertise to guide people and businesses through it.

So, if you'd like to chat with a team at the front of the NPA movement and one that's well prepared for any changes the next few years may bring, get in touch.

Speak to an Interbacs expert by reaching out at the link below.

Speak to an expert