Digesting the Digits – BoE keeps November interest rates at 5.25%

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Number crunching is a key component of the payment industry, with digits scattered across the sector’s key stories. 

Each week, Payment Expert digests these digits and brings an overview of the past payments week in numbers. This edition looks at significant announcements from the BoE and the FCA. 

Bank of England’s 5.25% decision key for SMEs

The Bank of England (BoE) has kept its interest rates fixed at 5.25%, with the news receiving mixed reactions from SMEs. 

While the decision certainly offers a moment of peace for businesses, the BoE hurried to explain that it is still too early to think about any cuts affecting interest rates.  

This has brought cause for concern for some businesses like Bibby Financial, whose Managing Director Michael McGowan said: “A rate of 5.25 per cent is no walk in the park for businesses – and SMEs, who rely most on external finance, will be feeling the pinch hardest.”

FCA sees 10% increase in BNPL users 

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is looking to clamp down on predatory BNPL contract terms as it registers an increase in customers interacting with the sector. 

According to the regulator, a total of 27% of UK adults have used BNPL at least once in the six months prior to January 2023, which constitutes a 10% increase from the year prior. 

This has led to the FCA calling for more consumer-friendly terms and conditions being offered to prevent people from going into unnecessary debt. 

KSA issues €900,000 fine over unlicensed gambling offering

MKC Limited and its betworld247.com platform have been handed a €900,000 fine by the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) over unlicensed gambling operations. 

The regulator has alleged that the operator offered games of chance without having the necessary compliance standards required by the Dutch KOA Act, posing significant threat to vulnerable customers.   

René Jansen, Chairman of the KSA, said: “At MKC Limited, players could enter an age themselves without clear identification. This means that their website is also accessible to very vulnerable, underage players.”

William Hill turns to Open Banking as 64% of players trust instant payments  

William Hill has upgraded its offering for UK players to satisfy a clear rise in customer demand for instant payments. 

Thanks to a new partnership with Open Banking provider TrueLayer, the operator can now use the Instant Bank Transfer option for more efficient transactions. 

This comes amid changing player preferences, with 55% of igaming customers in Europe stating that they prefer to transact with providers of instant payments, while 64% has said that they trust more operators with an instant withdrawal and deposits offering. 

New report highlights that 40% of Norwegians never use cash 

Countries in the Nordic region have maintained a steady growth rate of cashless payments adoption, according to a new report by Nets. 

The paper reveals that 40% of customers in one of the surveyed nations, Norway, always use a cashless payment method, with services like Apple Pay, Google Pay and digital wallets overtaking cash as the second most preferred payment method behind contactless cards. 

Lars Erik Tellmann, Chief Regional Officer for Nexi in the Nordics, commented: “Contactless provides a seamless and secure payment experience for consumers, while facilitating newer payment methods like SoftPOS, which are set to transform physical commerce experiences in the coming years.”