If the UK clearing house decides to allow non-banks to become shareholders, technology suppliers would be in a prime position to develop innovative online payment services, propelling the UK payment industry to the forefront of e-business.
In many ways it would be a win-win situation for all involved. Bacs' members, the high street banks, have come under fire from analysts and the Government for not investing in the latest technology. Bacs could also bolster its funds by offering a greater variety of services to public and private sector clients.
Bacs could also use it as an opportunity to shrug off its reputation as technology dianosaur, an image cemented earlier this year after Computer Weekly revealed that the Bacs network was vulnerable to hacking since it had failed to implement a public key infrastructure (PKI) security system, despite seven years of discussions and plans. There would be a golden opportunity or ambitious IT staff to put e-business theory into action.
It is time for Bacs to show some vision and think long-term. The UK payment industry is ripe for change.