The UK upgrade to its payments infrastructure is expected to add more than £3bn to GDP by 2026, but the potential of real-time payments is much bigger.
According to a study from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), software firm ACI Worldwide, and Global Data, if theoretically all payments were real-time, UK GDP could be up by £85bn by 2026.
A five-year programme led by retail payments authority Pay.uk, known as the UK’s New Payments Architecture programme, is modernising the UK’s legacy payment infrastructure, promising more choice in terms of payments options over more traditional payment types such as cards. This includes the increasing availability of real-time payments.
According to the report, real-time payments will add £3.3bn to the UK’s GDP by 2026. These payments add more liquidity to economies and generate more economic activity. However, it added that “untapped potential” is far bigger.
Owen Good, head of economic advisory at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said: “By enabling money to transfer between parties within seconds rather than days, real-time payments can significantly improve overall market efficiencies in the UK economy and play an important role in helping facilitate growth.”
He added that real-time payments improve liquidity in the financial system which can stimulate economic growth.
“Our theoretical modelling suggests the impact of all payments being real-time could add 2.7% to formal GDP by 2026,” said Good. “However, this by no means suggests there is not a place for non-instant electronic payments or paper-based cash payments in the future.”