Payments Tracker

In this first round up of retail payments in 2023, which covers the 12 months to December 2022, double digit growth in Faster payments and double digit decline in paper clearing continues with a steady state for the UK’s bulk clearing scheme and growth in the volume and value of the UK’s real time gross settlement system unchanged.

Note: All data is publicly sourced and is the latest available: Pay.UK December 2022.

Source: Pay.UK

Faster Payments

In the 12 months to the end of December 2022 we see that:

  • Single Immediate Payment volumes have increased by 18% (12 months to November 18%)
  • Total Faster Payment volumes have increased by 15% (12 months to November 16%)
  • Single Immediate Payment values have increased by 28% (12 months to November 27%)
  • Total Faster Payment values have increased by 25% (12 months to November 24%).

The meteoric rise in Faster Payments volumes continues bolstered by a switch from analogue to digital payments and the growing importance of Open Banking initiated Account to Account (A2A) payments.

The widespread use of faster payments is a digital payment habit that will be here to stay, reinforced throughout each lockdown and with volumes and values continuing to increase month on month.

Although the trajectory has flattened a little particularly when similar conditions have been in place, an overall significant increase year on year looks set to continue for some while to come – particularly with inflationary pressures also having an impact on the value of payments processed.

The future is certainly bright for Faster Payments – continued growth from Open Banking A2A payments, payments initiated by overlay services such as Request to Pay and Variable Recurring payments is certainly on the agenda. The growth is likely to be bolstered through the introduction of new Faster Payment types (or flavours) as part of version 1.0 of the planned New Payments Architecture and, perhaps, through a future planned migration of Bacs Direct Credit payments into the NPA.

Bacs Direct Debit and Direct Credit

In the 12 months to the end of December 2022 we see that:

  • Bacs Direct Credit volumes have increased by 3% (12 months to November increased by 2%)
  • Bacs Direct Debit volumes have increased by 2% (12 months to November increased by 3%)
  • Total Bacs volumes have increased by 3% (12 months to November increased by 2%)
  • Bacs Direct Credit values have increased by 4% (12 months to November increased by 4%)
  • Bacs Direct Debit values have increased by 8% (12 months to November increased by 8%)
  • Total Bacs values have increased by 5% (12 months to November increased by 5%).

Notwithstanding the continued double digit growth in Faster Payments we still see Bacs Direct Credit growth of 3% – just under 2Billion ‘push’ payments processed via the Bacs schemes over the last twelve months.

In the context of the first iteration of the planned New Payments Architecture platform the future of the Bacs Direct Credit scheme is uncertain although, it seems, the scheme will be processing in excess of 2Billion transactions per annum before it finally ‘bows out’ after over half a century of faithful service.

Direct Debits delivered 2% growth for the full 12 months in 2022, processing over 4.7Billion ‘pull’ payments. The value of Direct Debits processed has increased by 8% reflecting the increasing costs of the goods and services that we consume.

In addition to the uncertain future faced by Direct Debits due to the planned New Payments Architecture the UK’s pre-eminent ‘pull’ payment scheme faces future challenge from Open Banking overlay services such as Request to Pay and Variable Recurring Payments.

However, with 6.7Billion Bacs payments processed over the past 12 months it remains a major player processing 62% of all payments.


In the 12 months to the end of December 2022 we see that:

  • Cheque volumes have decreased by 14% (12 months to November 13%).
  • Cheque values have decreased by 8% (12 months to November 7%).

Whilst Faster Payments is experiencing double digit value growth the paper cheque continues to suffer double digit decline – over the last twelve months the volumes of cheques processed has decreased by 14%.

Cheque volumes total just over 1% of the total volumes processed by Pay.UK’s schemes (Bacs and Faster Payments) and continued decline in this share is expected as actual volumes decrease and growth continues elsewhere, particularly with Faster Payments.


In the 12 months to the end of December 2022 we see that:

  • CHAPS volumes have increased by 7% (12 months to November increased by 7%) 

This was made up of an 6% increase in retail / commercial based payments and an 7% increase in financial institution payments, compared to 6% increase and 8% increase respectively for the 12 months to November.

  • CHAPS values have increased by 14% (12 months to November increased by 14%).

As the Faster Payments (FPS) participants raise their payment limits to or towards the FPS scheme limit of £1Million we will probably see a gradual reduction in CHAPS volumes although, given the value of payments initiated by financial institutions, any migration of retail / commercial payments from CHAPS to Faster Payments will not make a great difference in values processed.


After over 50 years of faithful service and processing almost 6.7Billion transactions per annum (and growing) it’s clear that Bacs, the UK’s bulk ‘push’ / ‘pull’ payments scheme, continues to meet a clear end user need. The next few years are, however, crucial for the future of Bacs and its schemes as the opportunity (and threat) the planned New Payments Architecture begins to loom on the horizon.

After 14 years, the Faster Payments scheme is no longer the new kid on the block but, despite this, the scheme continues to experience double digit annual growth. The New Payments Architecture will bring new types (or ‘flavours’) of the current single form instant payment which will undoubtably lead to continued volume increases – this, coupled with the increase in Open Banking initiated payments, overlay services such as Request to Pay and Variable Recurring Payments suggests a very healthy future for the ‘granddaddy’ of real time payment schemes.

From the volume and value data it is clear that CHAPS quietly gets on with its function in the background keeping the markets functioning and making house moves happen – but, quite rightly, remains a mystery to most of the UK population.

With annual volumes of cheques processed being close to the single largest Bacs processing day surely the time has come for a serious discussion on sending the humble cheque to the museum of curiosity? The agreed measure for the eventual end of the cheque was ‘for as long as they are required’ – at just 131Million cheques per annum the inevitable decision must be on the horizon!

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