UK SnapshotBI Intelligence

With a mature and growing noncash payments ecosystem, the UK’s importance in the global payments landscape far exceeds its population of only 66 million. Nearly the entire population has a debit card, and debit card transactions surpassed cash payments for the first time in the last quarter of 2017. That milestone was largely fueled by the rising popularity of contactless cards, which are used by two-thirds of the population and grew 97% annually last year to hit 5.6 billion transactions, or 34% of total noncash transactions. As more merchants accept contactless, and as mainstream adoption of the payment method continues to rise, the UK will remain a fertile market for digital payment providers to gain traction among users who are receptive to new and emerging types of payments.

UK in numbersBI Intelligence

Noteworthy UK Payment Providers

Business Insider Intelligence looked in key areas of the space, including banking, payments and transfer technology, processing and acquiring, and point-of-sale (POS) hardware and software, for firms making meaningful and newsworthy innovations in the UK payments space. Some players are larger and more established (identified as incumbents), while others are upstarts challenging for a larger share of the space. All of the firms are leveraging technology to streamline payment innovation for consumer-facing, business, or global payments.

Incumbents

Mastercard. US-based giant Mastercard has been working to carve out a place for itself at the forefront of the UK payments space through its £700 million ($917 million) acquisition of UK payments tech company Vocalink in 2016. Among other opportunities, Vocalink has given Mastercard access to direct debit payments, which are rising in popularity — Mastercard is partnering with leading processor Worldpay to promote Worldpay’s Pay by Bank app and grow merchant acceptance as a way of increasing volume in the region, for example. Mastercard is also launching Mastercard Send, its peer-to-peer (P2P) and business-to-business (B2B) payments platform, in [...]