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United Kingdom Country Report

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  • Published Date: December 2019

A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in the United Kingdom.

What you will learn from this report:

  • The role of contactless in reshaping payments
  • What moves are being made by incumbents and challengers
  • The preferences shaping credit/debit cardholding patterns
  • How the global schemes have been pre-empting disintermediation
  • Why there remains significant potential in the payments space

UK Cards and Payments Market Key Facts

  • Thanks to progressive regulation and consumer adoption of modern technology, the United Kingdom has become one of the world's most advanced and competitive payments markets.
  • Britain is gradually moving to a cash-lite economy. The number of debit card purchase transactions surpassed the number of cash purchases for the first time in 2017.
  • This has been enabled by an ever-extending acceptance infrastructure: 4,935 POS terminals per 100,000 adults at the end of 2018, versus 3,132 the year before. In addition, more than half of card-present transactions are now contactless.
  • E-commerce has significantly contributed to more usage of payment cards: debit cards were the leading payment method for online transactions during 2019.
  • The credit cards market is highly competitive, as shown by the long interest-free periods offered for balance transfers.
  • Mastercard is gaining share in the debit cards market through winning issuer portfolios and supporting the growing challenger bank industry.
  • Lloyds, having acquired MBNA in 2017, is now the leading issuer for both credit and debit cards.
  • New regulations aim to reduce the number of consumers with problematic credit card indebtedness. Regulators are currently concluding a review of the merchant acquiring industry, with a view to optimising outcomes for both merchants and consumers.

View the UK Country Report Table of Contents

Key facts
Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
Cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other cards market information
Appendices: Data

Appendix I: Demographics and the economy

  • Demographic and economic indicators
  • Ownership of key consumer devices
  • Internet usage by population

Appendix II: Payments environment

  • Access points
  • Account penetration
  • Consumer payment trends
  • B2C e- commerce payment methods

Appendix III: Cards market

  • Total cards payment metrics
  • Contactless cards metrics
  • Credit card numbers
  • Total credit cards metrics
  • Credit cards profitability indicators
  • Debit cards numbers
  • Debit cards metrics
  • Prepaid/e-money cards metrics

Appendix IV: Mobile payments

  • Mobile proximity payment metrics
  • Mobile P2P payments

Appendix V: Profit pool

  • Profit pool

Appendix VI: The networks

  • Networks' credit card market shares
  • Networks' credit card numbers
  • Networks' credit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of credit card transactions
  • Networks' average credit card transaction value
  • Credit card interchange fees by network
  • Networks' debit card market shares
  • Networks' debit card numbers
  • Networks' debit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of debit card transactions
  • Networks' average debit card transaction value
  • Debit card interchange fees by network

Appendix VII: Key retail banks and issuers

  • Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers
  • Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings
  • Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers

Appendix VIII: Acquiring and processing

  • Merchant acquirer credit card market share
  • Credit card merchant service charges
  • Merchant acquirer debit card market share
  • Debit card merchant service charges
  • Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
  • Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
  • Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers
  • Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions

Appendix IX: Online acquiring

  • Online merchant acquirer market share

Entities referenced in this report

Abbey National Account information service providers Advent International Adyen Aer Lingus Alipay Alliance & Leicester Allied Irish Banks Amazon American Express Android Pay Apple Apple Pay Aqua Card Argos Asda Atom Bank Aviva AXA Bacs Bain Capital Bank of America Bank of England Bank of Ireland Bank of Japan Bank of Scotland Barclaycard Barclays BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK Bó Bradford & Bingley Braintree British Court of Appeal Capital One Cardnet Cardstream Cheque and Credit Clearing Company CMA Competition and Markets Authority Co-operative Bank Coutts Cult Pens CyberSource Danske Bank DataCash Diners Club Discover eBay Elevon Merchant Services European Central Bank European Union Exela Technologies Facebook Faster Payments Service FCA Fidelity National Information Financial Conduct Authority Financial Policy Committee First Data First Direct FIS Fiserv FPS Funky Pigeon GDPR General Data Protection Regulation Global Payments Google Google Pay Halifax Hays Travel HBOS Hibu HMV HSBC Ingenico Intuit iZettle John Lewis Finance JustGiving KLM Lex Autolease LINK Lloyds Bank Lloyds Banking Group Lufthansa M&S Bank Mastercard MBNA Metro Bank Mobile Payments Service Company Monzo N26 Nationwide NatWest NatWest Tyl Netflix New Payments Architecture NewDay Next O2 Oak Furnitureland Open Banking Oyster Paddy Power Pay by Bank app Pay with Bank transfer Pay.UK Paym Payment Systems Regulator Payments UK PayPal PbBa Pingit PISPs Play.com PRA Prudential Regulation Authority PSD2 PSR RBS Realex Payments Request to Pay Revised Payment Services Directive Revolut Richer Sounds Royal Lancaster London Sage Pay Sainsbury's Bank Samsung Pay Santander SCA Scottish Widows Secure Trading Shop Direct Special Resolution Unit Spotify Starling Bank Stripe Strong Customer Authentication SumUp Tesco Bank TfL Thai Airways The Card Gallery The Post Office TransferWise Transport for London TSB TSYS Twitter Uber UK Payments Administration Ulster Bank UnionPay Universal Credit Universal Trust Service Provider US Federal Reserve UTSP Vanquis Bank Vantiv Virgin Atlantic Visa Visa Europe Vocalink Vodafone WHSmith Worldpay Yorkshire Bank


Available for 72 markets, Verisk Financial Research Country Reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit. A dedicated team of analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and experts.

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