Thursday 30 July 2020 11:44 am

BoE hires Accenture in £150m deal to overhaul payments system

The Bank of England has hired IT consulting firm Accenture to refresh a key part of the UK’s crucial payments system in a deal worth up to £150m.

The firm will overhaul the real-time gross settlement (RTGS) service, the backbone of the country’s huge payments system.

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RTGS settles an average £685bn of payments each working day. It is where banks hold their sterling reserves. And it also provides settlement to the Chaps and Visa payments systems among numerous others.

The Bank of England has been using the system since 1996. It launched a procurement process to update it in February last year.

Today, it said Dublin-based multinational Accenture had won the contract.

The firm will help “to increase resilience and access, offer wider interoperability, improve user functionality and strengthen the end-to-end risk management,” the Bank said.

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Sulabh Agarwal, a managing director at Accenture who leads its global payments practice, said: “The rise of digital and instant payments in recent years has dramatically changed the way we pay.” He said this reflected “changes in the needs of households and companies”.

“The renewed system will enable financial institutions to access a more modern and secure payments platform.”

Victoria Cleland, the BoE’s director for payments, said: “I look forward to working with Accenture.”

She said the Bank would “develop and deliver a system that is fit for the future, supporting continued innovation in UK and global payments”.

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“The renewal programme is a key priority not just for the Bank but also the wider UK payments industry. It will support a resilient financial system that protects the UK’s financial and monetary stability in the years to come.

“The renewed RTGS service will be designed not only to benefit everyone in the country who makes payments, but to keep the UK at the leading edge of payments innovation.”