Mastercard nabs UK market share with NatWest debit deal
NatWest is converting all of its debit cards to Mastercard, following a new agreement with the issuing giant.
The deal includes all NatWest Group brands: NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank and Coutts, totalling 16 million cards.
Described as a “significant broadening” of the partnership between NatWest and Mastercard, it signals a further expansion for the latter in the UK’s debit market.
In August last year it confirmed a deal with First Direct, adding 1.5 million debit users to its portfolio.
“For the last year we have been extensively considering how we develop more tailored payment options,” says Salim Secretary, head of payment schemes and partnerships at NatWest.
“We will be extending our existing relationship with Mastercard beyond credit cards and into debit payments.”
While Mastercard provides a majority of the UK’s credit cards, it is dwarfed by rival Visa in the debit card space.
The New York-based processor has been trying to increase its debit market share in the country for some years.
After the NatWest card conversion completes, it will account for one in three consumer debit cards in the UK.
The debit card market in the UK is an important one to get a foothold in. UK Finance data shows that UK consumers are 57% more likely to own a debit card than a credit card.
In 2019 credit cards were used in 342 million transactions per month, while debit cards were used in 1.2 billion.
“Today people have real choice in how they wish to pay,” says Kelly Devine, UK and Ireland president at Mastercard.
“We know that for an ever-increasing number of people their debit cards are their first preference for everyday spending.”