The NPS includes different layers of participants starting with a highly regulated inner core followed by participants who are regulated to an ever decreasing extent. The various layers are demonstrated in the form of an Onion ring diagram as can be seen below.
The inner core comprises layers 1 and 2
The first layer consists of settlement participants, which all have settlement accounts with the SARB. Settlement of payment obligations between these participants is achieved through the SAMOS system which is owned and operated by the SARB. At this stage only South African registered banks can hold settlement accounts. Banks or designated participants who do not have settlement accounts may be sponsored by settlement participants.
Clearing participant may be banks or designated clearing system participants (who may be non-banks) which are members of PASA and at least one PCH. Clearing of payment instructions between these participants is achieved through authorised PCH System Operators (PSO's). At present there are four authorised PSO's: Strate Limited, BankservAfrica, Visa and MasterCard. Settlement of these clearing obligations is achieved either directly, if the participant is also a settlement participant, or else through sponsorship.
Outer Core – Providers of Payment Services
The outer core comprises layers 3, 4 and 5.
The third layer consists of providers of payment services either directly by a clearing participant or by means of a System Operator (SO). A System Operator (SO) is a non-bank and, in terms of SARB Directive 2 of 2007 provides services in relation to payment instructions, i.e. it provides electronic means (including the delivery to and/or receipt of payment instructions) to two or more persons to allow such persons to make payments and/or to receive the proceeds of payment instructions.
SOs should not be confused with PSOs. The latter facilitates clearing. SOs assist participants and/or payment providers with the sending and receiving of transactions, mainly through technical infrastructure.
SOs are authorised in terms of the SARB Directive 2 of 2007 by PASA, on behalf of the SARB. A list of authorised SOs as well as the SO entry and participation criteria, is available on the PASA authorisations website.
The fourth layer consists of clearing participants and registered non-bank Third Party Payment Providers (TPPP). There are two types of TPPP viz. Beneficiary Service Provider (BSP) and Payer Service Provider (PSP). A PSP or BSP, in terms of SARB Directive 1 of 2007, accepts money or the proceeds of payment instructions from two or more payers for on-payment to third persons to whom the money is due (Section 7 of the NPS Act refers).
A TPPP is typically enabled by a SO, and may hold funds for payment due in its own bank account for a limited period of time. A SO only provides the technology but does not accept the funds into its own bank account for on-payment to another party.
All TPPP’s have to be registered by a clearing participant. A list of registered TPPPs is publically available on the PASA authorisations website.
Business Customers and Payment Providers
The fifth layer consists of consumers and business customers of Banks, TPPPs and other providers of payment services. Their entry and participation criteria are set by Banks/TPPPs/SOs, which are aligned with the PCH rules and agreements.