United Kingdom Statistical Report 21-22

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PAYMENTS IN THE UK

The United Kingdom is a unitary state under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. The UK joined the European Union (known as the European Economic Community) in 1973, but did not join the euro zone. Following the Brexit referendum of June 2016, the UK formally left the EU on 31 January 2020, with the transition period ending on 31 December 2020, resulting in the UK leaving the EU single market and customs union. 

The UK’s payment landscape is very different to just a few years ago. While the Covid-19 pandemic contributed to a fall in overall payment volumes, 2020 saw an accelerated shift towards contactless, online and mobile wallet channels, largely at the expense of cash payments. In 2020 over half of all payments in the UK were made using cards, and while overall card payments in 2020 declined, their share of payments increased with over half (52%) of all payments being made by cards in 2020. 

The introduction of Faster Payments will likely drive much greater levels of digital account-to-account payments, in tandem services like Open Banking being welcomed by consumers. 

The adoption of the revised Payment Services Directive, PSD2, and disruptive technologies have set the stage for digital payments for the digital economy in the UK. They have accelerated digital payment transformation and mobile payment services, as well as cardless IBAN-based payments directly from bank accounts. 

In the last decade, UK consumers have embraced mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones and Internet of Things (IoT). This change significantly impacts their shopping experience. Consumers have become increasingly connected and they have started to purchase anywhere, at any time, from any device. 

In addition, new consumer demands are a game changer. UK consumers like digital banking apps with access to all their accounts at different banks in one single app, with the option to make payments directly from their bank account of choice. Additionally, they appreciate more banking services and payment services added to their mobile banking app. Consumer adoption of digital payments in the UK is driven by minimal cost, secure payments and a high level of user convenience. 

Driven by the development of social media and mobile devices, the emergence of permanently connected consumers has impacted their interactions with brands but also their expectations of how to shop using the increasing number of touch points between consumers and merchants, e.g.: 

  • Using mobile devices in-store to look up products or additional information on the internet 
  • Using mobile devices in-store to shop at the same merchant or online at another merchant 
  • Using mobile devices to purchase at home in online shops or scan outdoor for advertised products 
  • Using mobile apps to shop online, or using QR-codes to bridge from merchant posters to their online shops 

The ongoing rollout of a mature online and mobile communication infrastructure is an enabler for digital card payment transformation and for Open Banking payments in the UK. 

In a few years from now, mobile banking apps and mobile payment apps are expected to combine account management, digital payment services, personal finance management and value-added digital services from location finders to digital vouchers. 

Cash payments, card payments and cardless payments directly from bank accounts (A2A payments) remain all relevant for UK merchants and are heavily used by UK consumers. 

This country profile provides an introduction into two competing payment ecosystems in UK: 

  • Card payment ecosystem 
  • Cardless Open Banking payment ecosystem 

STATISTICAL KEY FIGURES FOR 2020 PROVIDED IN THIS PROFILE:

 UPDATED: tables with card business data 2016-2020; growth rates: Y-o-Y, CAGR
 Population, Cards per Capita, Card Value per Capita
 Debit Cards, Credit/Delayed Debit Cards, Total Cards
 Card payments by number and by value, ATV per card, payments per card/year
 ATMs, POS terminals, ATMs/POS terminals per 1 million capita
 ATM withdrawals by number/by value, ATV per withdrawal, TXs per ATM/month
 POS payments by number/by value, ATV per POS payment, TXs per POS/month
 Internet Use, e-payment mix, B2C e-Commerce by value and growth rate
 Issued Card brands by individual major issuer bank
 Accepted card brands by individual major acquirer
 Drill down into the debit card use and credit cards use details

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VERSION

Version 1.0 - last updated Wednesday 26th January 2022