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Direct Debit celebrates 50 year milestone

Direct Debit celebrates 50 year milestone

This year marks 50 years since Direct Debit was first introduced. In that time, the popular payment method has been responsible for more than 78.5 billion transactions.

Since its first transaction in 1970, Direct Debit has continued to grow in popularity and is now responsible for moving £1.3 trillion each year. The amount of payments processed by Direct Debit has increased from 2 billion in 2000 to 4.49 billion in 2019.

Pay.UK, the UK retail payments authority that owns Direct Direct, suggests that this growth is in part due to “the many more bills we pay today.” A spokesperson from Pay.UK commented:

“In the 1970s, regular payments were limited to mortgage or rent, and electricity or gas. Nowadays, we have mobile phone bills, broadband bundles, gaming subscriptions, in-app payments, and half a dozen different types of insurance; we spread the cost of major purchases from holidays to cars, and more mundane ones such as our TV licence or Vehicle Excise Duty, and settle dual fuel, water, and council bills without ever having to leave the house.”

Pay.UK says it is committed to ensuring the continued success of the payment method. Maha El Dimachki, Pay.UK’s Chief Payments Officer, said:

“We need payments to work without fuss so we can get on with the important things in our lives. During this unusual, difficult year, Direct Debit has continued to run quietly, securely, and reliably in the background, as it has in the past 50 years, collecting payments for billers and giving customers peace of mind that the services they need and want are being paid for with the minimum of effort on their part.

“And we are determined that will remain the case for as long as end users need and value it. Our team continues to work hard to ensure the service operates smoothly and efficiently, this year and in the years to come.”


Helen Packer has a background in communications, digital marketing and branding, specialising in the not-for-profit sector. She is particularly interested in international development, human rights and foreign policy. Helen is currently completing an MA in International Journalism at City, University of London. Contact:

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