UK Consumer Payment Habits

Digital Payments Are Soaring—But Usage Varies by Demographics

Executive Summary

UK consumers have pivoted quickly from cash to become the digital payment leaders of the Western world, with outsized usage among certain demographic groups driving the change. Identifying usage patterns among these groups will help marketers effectively tap each audience.

Scroll on to learn:

  • The size of the UK’s consumer payments opportunity
  • The major established and emerging brands fighting for share
  • Key payment methods—from crypto to credit cards—and their growth trajectory
  • Demographic trends that are driving business upheaval

Key Question: How are payment method preferences among different demographic groups influencing the shift to digital payments in the UK?

KEY STAT: Younger consumers are driving explosive buy now, pay later (BNPL) growth—part of a broader digital wave that is reshaping how UK consumers pay.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. UK consumers set the digital payments pace for the Western world.
  3. UK consumer demographics inform digital payment growth trends.
  4. The UK payments opportunity is rich—and the battlefield is crowded.
  5. Among emerging UK payment methods, contactless is the most mature.
  1. But mobile wallets are catching on with younger consumers.
  2. BNPL payment value share will double as older consumers play a larger role.
  3. Crypto payments are hamstrung by market deterioration.
  4. In the realm of traditional UK retail payment methods, debit cards dominate.
  5. Credit card growth is driven by rising adoption and higher-income users.
  1. Cash remains critical to financial inclusion.
  2. What should marketers in the UK payments industry do next?
  3. Sources
  4. Media Gallery

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David Morris, and Grace Broadbent


Melissa Rosenberg
Senior Researcher
Jaime Toplin
Senior Analyst
Daniel Van Dyke
VP, Content

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