Number of direct debits sets new record | Current account
More than 100 million direct debit payments were processed in a single day at the end of July, which UK bankers are hailing as another step on the road to a cashless society.
On July 31, as salary payments landed in UK bank accounts, there was a record 103 million direct debit transactions. The previous peak was 99.3 m in February 2015.
Behind the latest record is the decision of 8 million drivers to use direct debit to pay their vehicle tax after the introduction of a monthly payment option in October.
Bacs, the non-profit organization that processes direct debit payments, said the huge volumes seen on July 31 meant it was processing 111,000 payments for every minute the processing window was open.
The rise in payment volumes is also an indicator of economic recovery. In 2014, direct debit growth was the highest since 2007, just as the credit crunch hit.
Since the first direct debit was processed in 1968, UK bank customers have completed 110 billion direct debit transactions. These are separate from the daily card payments that account customers use to purchase groceries or gasoline.
Bacs, formerly known as Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services, said eight in 10 adults in the UK have at least one direct debit from their account and around 71% of household bills are paid this way.
However, these figures suggest that two in 10 people – 20% of the adult population – do not have a single direct debit. According to the Resolution Foundation, one in 10 adults does not have a bank account and 7.8 million people do not have access to regular credit.