21 December 2015

From haggling over apples to Apple Pay


The Stone Age: Barter

The earliest form of payment didn't require money, just good haggling skills.

500 BC to 27 BC: hands off!

Some early currencies had the advantage or disadvantage of being edible. The word 'salary' comes from the Latin word for salt because the Roman Legions were sometimes paid in it.  


c775 AD: first talk of a 'pound'

The pound's origins go back to the 8th century when silver pennies were the main currency in the Anglo Saxon kingdoms. If you had 240 of them, you had one 'pound' in weight. Back then, that was a lot.  

1124: Ouch!

Early coins were made of precious metals like silver or gold. But not always to the right standard. In 1124, Henry I had 94 mint workers castrated for producing dodgy ones. Today the UK's coinage is made from copper, nickel and zinc.


1694: How's your handwriting?

Banknotes began to circulate in England soon after Bank of England was set up in 1694. But initially they were handwritten! It was only in 1855, that the Bank gave its workers a break and began to print things properly. 

1717: Cheque it out

The Bank of England started producing 'cheques' in 1717. The slips had scrollwork at the left-hand edge which could be cut through, leaving part of the cheque and part of the counterfoil - the real 'check'.


1718-1966: Nothing much really happened

1966: They think it's all over

Never mind Bobby Moore and that trophy: for the first time you could now pay for stuff with something other than cash or cheque. 1966 saw the credit card make its UK debut.

credit cards with ball

1968: Bacs to the future

Bacs is the company responsible for automated payments like Direct Debits. They launched their system in 1968 and hey presto UK consumers had another way to pay.

1984: Hey CHAPS

In 1984 the UK's real time high value electronic payment scheme called CHAPS was established offering same day sterling transfers. Good for making deposits on houses.


1987: That's more like it

The UK's first debit card arrived. 1987 also saw the UK's first interest-paying current account by the way. (Just thought we'd mention it, seeing as that was our FlexAccount.) 

1997: Online Banking

Oh those pesky people at Nationwide, beating the banks at their own game again. In 1997 we became the first UK provider to offer internet banking. 


2007: Show and go

Contactless payments were rolled out in central London and in 2012 you could even buy your bus ticket contactlessly. From July 2014 London buses actually stopped taking cash! London's Underground, Overground and DLR started accepting contactless cards from September 2014.  

2008: That's quick

Faster payments, Britain's first payments service for more than 20 years made it possible for internet, phone and standing order payments of as much as £10K to go through...(here we go, nearly there, almost)...instantly. 2008 also saw Usain Bolt set a new Olympic Record in the 100m in Beijing.


2014: Pay by mobile

Paym was launched in 2014, enabling you to register your mobile phone with your current account provider. The other person had to be signed up too, but if they were, you could send and receive money with just their mobile number. 

Today: Apple Pay

You can now use your latest Apple device to pay at any shops (or other establishments) with contactless technology. You can also make in-app purchases wherever the Apple-Pay logo is displayed.

apple pay logo

Available on selected Apple devices only. Apple, iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Apple Pay, Apple Watch and Touch ID are trademarks of Apple Inc.

Most popular

The Budget 2017


Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his first – and last – Spring Budget to Parliament yesterday. Here’s your easy guide to the changes.

You may also be interested in...

Our helpful guides

We've created a range of helpful guides to help you make better financial decisions regardless of your circumstances. Find out more about owning property, growing wealth and planning for life events.

Our products

Whether you are after a current account, a savings account or even looking for a mortgage, Nationwide has a range of great products that could help you, no matter the situation.