LINK - an SCF compliant scheme

LINK is fully compliant with the SEPA Cards Framework (SCF) principles and rules requirements which ensure no barriers to effective competition between issuers, ATM operators and infrastructure providers. LINK is an SCF Compliant scheme.

Assessment of LINK's compliance with the SEPA Cards Framework (SCF)

Card scheme organization and activities - LINK scheme does not have any legal or commercial barriers to SCF compliance.

Participation - LINK Scheme has the required transparent and non-discriminatory participation criteria, which demonstrably do not distinguish between home country and other EU institutions, or between banks and payment institutions.

Licensing - LINK Scheme does not separately license activity to separate countries and the Scheme is open both to cards issued outside the UK and ATMs located outside the UK (indeed both already exist on the same terms and conditions as UK-issued cards and UK ATMs). As required, LINK allows issuing-only and acquiring-only membership.

Contracting - As required, LINK's contractual arrangements are governed by the law of an EU Member State.

Pricing principles - As required, fees for network processing services (provided for many members by VocaLink) are separate from scheme fees.

Open business model - LINK does not discriminate between banks and payment institutions in terms of participation.

Operational quality - LINK has the required operational quality benchmarks, which are made available to all participants and also the overseer.

Separation of card scheme governance, processing and other functions - LINK has led the way in separating scheme management functions from infrastructure provision and meets the SCF requirements. The rules allow members to use third party processors other than VocaLink, without price discrimination. Some members do so.

Merchant (ATM) acceptance of a scheme's cards - LINK does not prevent ATM operators from accepting cards from other SCF-compliant schemes.

Principles for interchange fees - The LINK Scheme's interchange arrangements are consistent with national and European competition rules, and the same interchange rates apply to all participants regardless of whether a transaction is cross-border or domestic.

Commitment to fraud prevention - LINK is committed to fighting fraud, and to supporting other initiatives to do so. All LINK ATMs are and must be EMV-compliant. LINK has led the way in transferring some liability for successful skimming attacks from card issuers to ATM operators (providing the card is EMV).

Transaction authorization by issuer - LINK requires all transactions to be authorised by the issuer, and all transactions are authorised on-line.

Cardholder experience - The cardholder experience is consistent (regardless of where the ATM is located) and defined by the Scheme rules. As required by the SCF, English language must be offered.

Standardisation activities - The Scheme is committed to interoperability, and has demonstrated this with the overseas connections already established. LINK is committed to ensuring that it does not have certification requirements which restrict entry.