U.K. payments industry regulators have announced plans to consolidate three separate faster payments initiatives into one entity, with the goal of bringing them together by the end of this year.

The U.K. has moved forward with faster payments more quickly than other countries such as the U.S., but there are varied schemes. Bacs Payments Schemes Ltd., the Cheque and Credit Clearing Co. and the Faster Payments Scheme Ltd will unify into one operator under a plan the U.K.’s Payment Systems Regulator and the Bank of England announced May 4.

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The regulators are calling for the boards of the three separate faster-payments initiatives to review and endorse the consolidation plan and determine actions and requirements needed for the merger to be substantially completed before the end of 2017, according to the announcement.

The newly unified entity would become responsible for the next stage of development of faster payments under the New Payments Architecture, an industry-led effort to increase competition and innovation in the payments sector, the regulators said.

“We have made significant headway towards redefining the way in which the three payment system operators will operate in the future,” said Robert Stansbury, independent chair of the Payment System Operator Delivery Group, which drew up the plan.

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