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Bank of England supplys ONS with UK debit and credit card transaction data

Bank of England supplys ONS with UK debit and credit card transaction data

The Bank of England will for the first time provide the UK's Office for National Statistic (ONS) with credit and debit card transaction data to better inform policy-makers about how people have been spending their money.

The ONS says the new data wil act as "experimental faster indicators" for monitoring UK purchases. They track the daily Chaps payments made by credit and debit card payment processors to around 100 major UK retailers, whether it be online, over the phone or in a store.

The Bank of England anonymises and aggregates the data before sharing with the UK's national statistical institute for publication.

ONS retail sales figures provide monthly estimates on what consumers are buying, and how much they are spending on items in stores and online, but the Chaps data brings an additional element to the mix with the capturing of the spends on social activities, such as sporting events, concerts, a meal or drinks in a pub or restaurant, haircuts, beauty treatments and train fares.

The data provided to the ONS has been broken down into four consumption categories - staples, delayable, work-related, social - as defined by the Bank of England. Each sector in the series is weighted according to its relative share of annual UK household consumption in Q4 2019.

"The categories allow us to see where money is being spent, and how this has changed over the period of the pandemic," says David Matthewson, branch head for faster indicators at the ONS. "The data will be updated weekly; and will be based on transactional data from January 2020 up until the Thursday of the week before publication so allows us to track differing trends near to real time. These transaction data represent a big step forward in our ability to see how purchasing habits have changed during all the stages of the pandemic so far and going forward, will continue to provide valuable insights."

Comments: (4)

Vernon Crabtree
Vernon Crabtree - My comments are my own - Utrecht 21 January, 2021, 09:14Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

And this happens under a conservative government, after Brexit. They say it is the liberal left that wants to control everything - but this is patently not true.
Privacy is a non(bi?)-partisian issue. Hopefully this is not the start (or continuation) of a very slipery slope

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 21 January, 2021, 11:131 like 1 like

What about GDPR - my payments data is mine. If I want my card issuer to remove all excess information - then there is nothing to aggregate and anonymize except the book keeping data. 

Jeremy Light
Jeremy Light - Fourdotzero - London 21 January, 2021, 23:06Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

a precursor to the type of use we will see with CBDCs (central bank digital currencies) the world over

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 22 January, 2021, 07:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

So the government is to have access to all electronic payment data on my spending on among other things gambling, alcohol, tobacco, fat and sugary food, co-2 emission related consumption, political, ethnic, religious, sexual preferences and it is promised to be for anonymous statistical analysis only. What is the point in analyzing if no measure  is to come out of it?