Payments made through the three retail payment systems managed by Pay.UK reached an all-time high in 2019, with businesses and individuals making 9.2 billion transactions with a combined value of £7.4 trillion.
Pay.UK is the UK’s independent payment system operator, responsible for the Bacs Payments System (which processes Direct Credits and Direct Debits), the Faster Payments System (used for online banking payments and Standing Orders), and the Image Clearing System (which processes cheques).
In 2019 Pay.UK processed 2.4 billion Faster Payments, a 19 per cent increase on 2018, with a value of £1.9 trillion. This is an annual volume and value record for Faster Payments, the near real-time payments system that was launched in May 2008.
In addition, a record 4.5 billion Direct Debits were processed in 2019 by the Bacs Payments System, whilst the value of Direct Credits (used to pay salaries, pensions and benefits) rose from £3.6 trillion in 2018 to £3.7 trillion last year, its highest total ever.
The number of cheques processed by Pay.UK increased slightly year-on-year, totalling 257 million in 2019. This is due to cheques now being cleared as images rather than as pieces of paper, with the result that more cheques are now cleared centrally rather than within banking groups.
Matthew Hunt, COO of Pay.UK, commented: “Payments are the lifeblood of the UK economy and it’s pleasing to see Pay.UK’s systems being used at levels that represent an all-time high. In supporting a vibrant UK economy, Pay.UK offers users a choice of how to pay, and as part of this it is vital that consumers and businesses alike have complete faith in the systems they use. It’s therefore extremely reassuring to see that confidence reflected in these record-breaking annual figures.”