Bacs' IT to put it at heart of Europe

UK clearing house Bacs has outlined plans to place itself at the heart of the European payment market following a shake-up of its...

UK clearing house Bacs has outlined plans to place itself at the heart of the European payment market following a shake-up of its IT infrastructure.

Bacs, which processes the UK's salary payments and direct credits, has called for a consolidation of national clearing systems in Europe into fewer regional hubs.

The clearing house is also keen to use its new IP-based clearing network to host clearing and other services for countries outside the European Union.

"It makes sense to think of regional payment hubs within the euro zone because of economies of scale," said David Sear, chief marketing officer at Bacs, who added that the organisation was in discussions with European clearing houses about a possible consolidation of IT systems.

Bacs, which is nearing the end of a £75m technology overhaul, now has some of the most advanced IT in the European clearing market and is capable of handling multiple currencies, said Sear.

A move to consolidate clearing systems could help reduce the cost of cross-border payments. But to succeed it will require governments and clearing companies to put aside national differences and agree common technology standards.

A fledgling payment clearing system for Europe, Step Two has already been launched.

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