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5 things to take away from the PSA industry forum

10 November 2016, Jo Prowse, Chief Executive
PSA Nov forum

It was great to see so many of you at our first industry forum as the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) last week. As ever, our biannual forum was a great opportunity to catch up and discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the phone-paid services market. 

I wanted to highlight five key takeaways from the day:

1.     Rebrand
The forum was our first event as the PSA. Our new name and strapline is designed to make it clear who we are and what we do. I’d really appreciate it if you would spread the word.
You’ll also notice that we have avoided using the term premium rate. Many feel that the term is outdated. From charity donations, games and app store downloads through to directory enquiries and live chat, we feel that phone-paid services better encapsulates the many services that make up the market.

2.     Strategic Priorities
We also took the opportunity to promote our revised strategic priorities, which are available here.

Our strategic priorities reflect our values and make clear what we do and better show our approach to regulation.

Our primary role is to protect consumers from harm. This includes, where necessary, robust enforcement through our Code of Practice but also through furthering consumers’ interests through encouraging competition, innovation and growth in the market.

3.     Consumer strategy
It was great to have Ruth Sawtell, our Senior Independent Director, outline our consumer strategy.
In an ideal world, consumers do not suffer harm in the first place. That’s why we have invested a lot of time and effort over the last two years in updating our Code of Practice. It is intended to help industry offer services that fully consider the needs of consumers so that they can use them with confidence.

Nevertheless, in recent months we have been receiving high volumes of complaints.  It is clear that we collectively need to deal with these small pockets of non-compliance for the good of consumers and for the good of the market.

4.     The next six months
Alongside our ongoing Project 30 work and our ‘business as usual’ handling of contacts, complaints and cases, I outlined our focus for the next six months.

This will include:

  • publishing a final statement on our proposals on our regulatory framework and special conditions for online competition and adult services (following consultation);
  • consulting on our Business Plan and Budget for 2017/18, including information about our funding model;
  • reviewing our consent to charge Guidance and expectations with regard to effective consumer refund mechanisms;
  • commissioning research into consumer journeys;
  • developing an approach to horizon scanning for new risks and opportunities, and
  • engaging on legislative changes, including the Payment Systems Directive 2 (PSD2).

Throughout all of this work we will continue to engage with stakeholders for feedback. Specifically we will be issuing a stakeholder survey in the new year to hear your views on PSA in a range of areas.

5.     Operator billing: challenges and opportunities
Our final session of the forum brought together representatives from across the value-chain to discuss mobile payments and opportunities for operator billing. Figures show there are now more mobile subscriptions than bank accounts representing scale and scope and a growing opportunity for services charged to a phone bill. One challenge discussed was how to enable well-known brands to take up charging to a phone-bill for their content, goods and services. The implementation by January 2018 of the revised Payment Services Directive  (PSD2) and the opportunities this will provide, for example in the area of e-ticketing, was a key discussion area.

Thank you for all those who attended. If you would like to view the slides from the day and my speech, click on the links below.

Forum slides

My speech

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