By: 19 March 2024

Despite the success of the UK’s payments sector, a clear vision and more financial inclusion are needed

Pay360: Call for unity in the UK’s payments ecosystem

The director of The Payments Association called for unity in the UK’s payments ecosystem, in the opening keynote of, Pay360, the UK’s biggest payments conference.  

As the UK’s payments industry is facing headwinds, Tony Craddock took inspiration from the Harry Potter series, saying “we are as strong as we are united, and as weak as we are divided.”  

Despite the call for unity, the UK’s payment sector is doing relatively well.  

The UK is the largest European destination for fintech innovation. Card payments represent 57% of all transactions in the UK, facilitating 6.5% (£161bn) of GDP. And 97% of the UK fintech sector has a positive societal impact when evaluated against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

The opening conversation at the Pay360 conference in London, with Craddock and Joe Garner, former chief executive officer at Nationwide Building Society and author of Future of Payments Review, also demonstrated the UK’s success.  

The UK is in a good place relative to the world in terms of contactless payments, digital wallets and online payments.  

The not-so-good news is that person-to-person payments, while not bad, are a bit clunky and not as good compared to say Pix, a payments transfer fintech.  

Despite the success of the UK’s payments sector, there is still a feeling that the country needs a vision, or a “north star”, to have a clear picture of where the sector is going.  

FinTech with a purpose 

As well as moving forward, the morning sessions also highlighted the importance of doing so with a purpose.  

Darren Deal, senior vice president of fintech, government and digital partnerships at Mastercard, the headline sponsor of the event, is trying to boost spending power by bringing people into the financial ecosystem.  

To improve financial inclusion, it’s important to support on the national and regional level, Deal said.  

Cash and cheques still play a role for many people, who may like to use physical money to help with budgeting. That’s why Mastercard is focusing on making transactions simpler, safer and more inclusive.  

In the following session, Samantha Emery, director of payments industry and development at Lloyds, said the UK can continue to provide world-leading payment solutions by focusing on four key areas. 

These four areas, customer centricity, resilience and security, boosting innovation and sustainability, will unlock opportunities and growth for UK prosperity.  

Image: Josh Poyser  

Josh Poyser
Josh Poyser is an editor at FinTech Intel. He has written about fintech for several years and appeared at FinTech Connect 2023 on the 'Unlocking Success: The Art of Fintech PR' panel.