Who we are

About us

Payments are an integral part of everyday life in the UK. We all buy and sell goods and products online and offline, pay and receive salaries, pensions, and benefits, settle bills and invoices, give and receive gifts – and so much more.

We all want those things to be simple, straightforward, and secure. And that’s where Pay.UK comes in.

We operate the UK’s national retail payment systems; Bacs, including Direct Debit, Faster Payment, and the Image Clearing System, the digital way to process cheques.

These systems work silently in the background, enabling banks, building societies, and non-bank payment service providers to meet the needs of their customers, whether for business or personal payments.

Our role doesn’t end there. We have a vision for a better payments world for all of us, and we are determined to enable a vibrant UK economy.

We’ll do that by creating more access to safe, robust, and best-in-class infrastructure, in turn stimulating increased competition and innovation, based firmly on the needs of people and businesses across the UK.

In 2020 we processed 9.5 billion transactions, worth £7.2 trillion. This included 2.9 billion Faster Payments, 4.5 billion Direct Debits and 188 million cheques, underlining our role as the UK’s leading retail payments authority.

Our Current Account Switch Service helped over 700,000 consumers and businesses switch their current account last year and, since its roll-out in 2013, the service has moved 7 million accounts (as of December 2020).

The rules and standards we created for innovative services have already had a positive impact. Request to Pay helped merchants and consumers prepare for and manage their payments, and people were better able to safeguard mobile and internet payments through Confirmation of Payee, developed to give greater assurance to end users that they are sending their payments to the intended recipient.

But there’s more.

As the recognised operator of the UK’s critical retail payments systems, Pay.UK has a once in a generation opportunity to work alongside participants and stakeholders to shape retail payments for the future.

This crucial work includes developing the New Payments Architecture (NPA), a vision for the future development of the UK’s shared retail payment infrastructure. The NPA will enable the payments ecosystem to realise new opportunities, unlock innovation and competition, and address any persisting detriments. And, with end users firmly at the heart of our work, the NPA will meet their needs around security, peace-of-mind, choice, value, service, and flexibility.

You can find out more about how we are preparing for the future of payments in the video below:

Pay.UK: The Future of Payments