Pay.UK, the independent payment operator for Bacs, Faster Payments and Cheque & Credit Clearing, has announced it processed a record £7.4 trillion worth of transactions in 2019.
Whilst 9.2 billion transactions were made – up from 8.7 billion in 2018, the use of cheques plummeted another 20% from 346 million last year to 276 million this year.
The 9.2 billion in transactions for 2019 is roughly a 500 million increase on transactions made in 2018. This is growing from the 300 million increase in 2018, after the payment operator processed 8.4 billion transactions in 2017.
“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,” says chief executive officer (COO) Matthew Hunt.
“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.”
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In other recent news, Pay.UK has published an industry consultation calling for feedback to help it “shape and define the adoption and rules” for its New Payments Architecture (NPA).
Described as the biggest change in UK transaction processing for 60 years, the consultation is looking for how a global standard of ISO 20022 – a system for defining, standardizing and grouping financial data – can be adopted within the clearing and settlement capability of the NPA.
ISO 20022 is designed to improve the quality of data, and hence improve the payment process. “Unfortunately, payments today are adversely affected by poor data – often reducing the efficacy of our control capabilities,” SWIFT’s global head of its ISO 20022 programme Saqib Sheikh tells The Banker.
“Not having critical data may result in underestimating or overestimating risk, driving the wrong responses,” Sheikh adds. “The new standard provides a common vocabulary to payments across corporate-to-bank payment systems and interbank payments and reporting messages.”