Ever wondered how busy the UK’s banks really are when it comes to processing the number of transactions you make on your current and other bank accounts?

There are over 60 million people in the UK, of which approximately 90% are estimated to have a bank account, according to the Office of Fair Trading. That translates to 54 million active current accounts and using that as the starting point it is easy to see how reporting the number of transactions handled would soon prove unwieldy.

So, in an attempt to portray just how many transactions are handled by UK banks the British Bankers Association (BBA) regularly release ‘ten-minute snapshots’. By totalling up all the transactions made throughout the year and averaging them out to a manageable average ten minute snapshot, the BBA can deliver workable amounts of data as well as providing a useful benchmark for the following year, and interesting comparison to the previous year.

The annual Abstract of Banking Statistics figures produced at the end of July 2008 – the 25th time they have been calculated – showed that during the previous year on average, every ten minutes of every day that:

  • UK credit card holders made 33,000 transactions in retail premises,
  • ATMs were used 46,000 times with each customer withdrawing an average of just under £70, making a total of around £3.2million,
  • The internet was used 40,000 times by UK bank customers just to check their balances and statements,
  • 3,700 bills were paid online via internet banking,
  • 23,000 cheques, 105,000 automated payments and 132,000 plastic card payments were processed through the UK clearing system,
  • Banks paid £170,000 directly to the Exchequer via taxation,
  • The UK’s balance of payments benefited by banks earning £266,000

Most UK current accounts now offer many different ways to do your banking, so whether you wish to do it primarily in branches or via the internet, it is your choice. Indeed, the figures produced by the BBA show that many people are certainly not averse to using the internet to check their balances or pay bills and that cheque processing is still alive and well, despite the inexorable rise in popularity of debit cards.

The summarised figures above show that as long as British banks continue to offer a wide variety of ways to do business with them, then customers will continue to take advantage of all those differing methods.


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