2. What do Banks do?

Banks help you pay for things

Banks provide debit and credit cards so you can pay for things in the shops and online.Over 9 in 10 adults make payments using a debit card at least once a month.

Source: UK Payments Markets 2016

When you use a card to buy, say, food, the money is transferred from your bank account to the bank account of the shop. Exactly the same thing happens when you pay for things using your debit or credit card online.

When you add to this the payments for much bigger items, like houses, and all the financial activity between banks and other financial situations, over £500 billion moves between bank accounts every single day. That’s over £5 million every second.

The stakes are very high: if these payments stopped working, then the entire economy would grind to a halt. This is why the Bank of England oversees these payments – to make sure they operate smoothly every day.

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