Modernizing UK’s aging payments infrastructure to boost UK GDP by $3.8bn by 2026 – Report by ACI Worldwide and Cebr


LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE). ), Global Data and the Center for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

According to Cebr, the “untapped potential” of real-time payments in the UK is huge – the theoretical impact of all real-time payments could boost the UK economy by up to $98.0 billion, or 2.7% annually, in 2026.

The results come after the latest UK GDP figures from the Office for National Statistics continued to show sluggish performance by the UK economy in 2022 and follow recent IMF forecasts suggesting the UK will be the weakest growth in the G7 next year will have.

The study underscores the importance of the UK’s New Payments Architecture programme, which will bring sweeping changes to the UK payments infrastructure over the next 5 years, with the aim of enabling more innovation and fostering competition among UK financial services providers. Led by Pay.UK, NPA seeks to modernize the UK’s legacy payments infrastructure by providing real-time, account-to-account payments, offering consumers greater choice and newer, innovative payment options over more traditional forms of payment such as cards.

Although real-time account-to-account payments continue to grow in the UK – the number of payments processed by Faster Payments (FPS) rose by 23% to 3.6 billion in 2021 – the study shows that the growth rates for real-time transactions same are higher in many other countries, mainly due to the popularity of new digital overlay services, based on real-time rails, enjoying rapid adoption by consumers and businesses. As a result, many emerging and developing countries are skipping the UK to reap the full economic benefits that real-time account-to-account payments bring.

ACI’s Prime Time for Real-Time report, co-authored with Global Data, a leading global data and analytics firm, includes the most comprehensive economic impact study to date and highlights a clear correlation between the adoption of real-time payments and economic growth .

Key results include:

  • The UK recorded 3.4 billion real-time transactions in 2021, resulting in an estimated $950 million in cost savings for businesses and consumers. This, in turn, helped unlock an additional $3.2 billion in economic output, equivalent to 0.10% of UK GDP.

  • Based on real-time acceptance rates in 2026 (growth to 12.3% of all payments), real-time payments are projected to unlock a total transaction value of $40.8 billion per day, with this working capital representing an estimated business output of $861 million US dollars allowed

  • Ultimately, the projected macroeconomic benefits in 2026 are estimated at $3.8 billion in additional economic output – or the equivalent of over 38,000 jobs.

  • Globally, the UK lags behind developing countries in the growth of real-time payments and the associated economic benefits – for example, India and Brazil are expected to add an additional GDP of USD 45.9 billion (1.12%) and USD 37.6 billion respectively (2.08%) forecast – enabled by strong growth in real-time payments – through 2026

“By allowing money to be transferred between parties in seconds instead of days, real-time payments can significantly improve overall market efficiency in the UK economy and play an important role in spurring growth,” he said Owen Good, Head of Economic Advice at the Center for Economics and Business Research. “Real-time payments improve liquidity in the financial system and therefore act as a catalyst for economic growth. Our theoretical modeling suggests that the impact of all real-time payments through 2026 could increase formal GDP by 2.7%. However, this in no way means that there will not be a place for non-instant electronic payments or paper-based cash payments in the future.”

“Real-time payments are at the heart of the new global payments landscape and have the potential to play a key role in unlocking economic growth. By the looks of it, emerging markets are leading the way, outperforming developed markets in terms of real-time adoption, growth, and the economic benefits that come with it. This is largely due to the agility and flexibility of the modernized payment infrastructure in these countries and the new, innovative payment services it is bringing to consumers and businesses,” he commented Craig Ramsey, head of real-time payments at ACI Worldwide. “If the UK is to truly reap the potential economic benefits of real-time payments in the years to come, it must address the urgent need to modernize its aging payments infrastructure and embrace the new payments architecture with open arms. It is the responsibility of government and industry to work together to increase uptake, otherwise the UK risks falling even further behind the rest of the world, despite the head start provided by the Faster Payment system.”

Figure 1: Great Britain in the spotlight


UK Real Time Transactions 2021 (Actual)

UK Real Time Transactions 2026 (Forecast)

UK CAGR 2021-26


Great Britain Projected additional economic output (GDP) until 2026

United Kingdom

$3.4 billion

$5.8 billion


$3.8 billion

Figure 2: The five largest real-time payment transaction volumes in 2021


Real Time Transactions 2021 (actual)

Real-time transactions 2026 (forecast)

CAGR 2021-26 (forecast)

Projected additional economic output (GDP) by 2026


$48.6 billion

$206.2 billion


$45.9 billion


$18.5 billion

$31.3 billion


$27.5 billion


$9.7 billion

$25.7 billion


$13.4 billion


$8.7 billion

$82.4 billion


$37.6 billion

South Korea

$7.3 billion

$11.3 billion


$6.7 billion

Figure 3: The five fastest growing real-time markets


CAGR 2021-26 (forecast)











Notes for editors:

About ACI Worldwide

ACI Worldwide is a global leader in mission-critical, real-time payment software. Our proven, secure and scalable software solutions enable leading companies, fintechs and financial disruptors to process and manage digital payments, enable omni-commerce payments, present and process invoice payments, and manage fraud and risk. We combine our global footprint with a local presence to drive the real-time digital transformation of payments and commerce.

About Cebr

For more than 25 years, the Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has provided independent economic forecasts and analysis to hundreds of private companies and public organizations. Our business consultancy specializes in economic impact assessments and has advised several government bodies as well as FTSE and multinationals on a range of issues. Cebr’s forecasting team provide award-winning forecasts for the UK and global economy, helping our clients stay one step ahead in predicting future economic developments.

© Copyright ACI Worldwide, Inc. 2022

ACI, ACI Worldwide, ACI Payments, Inc., ACI Pay, Speedpay, and all ACI product/solution names are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACI Worldwide, Inc. or one of its subsidiaries in the United States, other countries, or both. Other parties’ trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners.


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