These days, there are more payment options than ever to choose from when parting with your money. This section gives an explanation of the different methods you may come across from credit cards to direct debits, from Paym to cheques. There’s information on where and how you can use each payment type as well as relevant security advice and some handy links if you need to find out more.


Cash remains by far the most commonly used payment type for everyday purchases.


When you write a cheque the recipient pays it into their account and the respective banks arrange for the money to move from one account to the other.

Debit cards

A debit card is linked to your current account and is used to pay for goods and services everywhere in the UK, online and abroad.

Credit cards

A credit card allows you to buy goods and services on credit. The credit card company lending you the money will have advised you of your credit limit.

Prepaid cards

Prepaid cards are stored-value cards which you pre-load with credit before buying goods and services.


One of the later innovations increasingly available to UK consumers is contactless card payments.

Internet/phone transfers

Online banking is accessible via a computer/tablet or a mobile phone. Also known as internet banking.


The rise of the smartphone and new technology has opened up many new ways to make payments and do your banking on the move.


You can now pay your friends and family using just their mobile number.

Direct Debit

A Direct Debit is a regular payment debited from your account that you have previously authorised.

Standing orders

A standing order is an instruction you give to your bank to authorise a payment, for a set amount, to another UK bank or building society account.

Faster Payments

The Faster Payments Service allows customers to make electronic payments almost instantaneously, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.


CHAPS is the same-day automated payment system for processing payments made within the UK.