Payment Trends to Watch Out for in the Coming Years


The landscape of the payments industry is changing rapidly due to technological advancements and the digitalization of transactions. This shift is driven primarily by the quest for convenience and efficiency, now considered the norms in our progressively digital world. The evolution of payment systems is paving the way for real-time transactions, transforming how we conduct financial exchanges.

Efforts to connect payment systems across borders foster faster and more seamless international transactions. The introduction of cost-efficient technologies and increased competition are driving down the costs associated with payment processing. Simultaneously, significant investments are being made to bolster security measures, ensuring the safeguarding of transactions and the protection of customer data.

New concepts like embedded finance and alternative payment methods are gaining traction, giving consumers more choices and flexibility. The global expansion of local card payment networks promotes financial inclusion and drives economic growth. Open banking initiatives are fuelling innovation and competitive dynamics in the sector.

The role of fintech startups is evolving to provide specialized services that were once the exclusive domain of traditional banks. Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are also disruptive to traditional payment systems, offering benefits like faster international payments and increased transparency. Integrating artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science is bringing further revolution to payment processes.

These significant trends are shaping the future of the payments industry. Therefore, staying informed and adapting to this dynamic and evolving landscape is crucial.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the trends shaping the future of the payments industry. Each trend is a fleeting moment and a step towards a more efficient, inclusive, and innovative global finance system. If you’re interested in the future of finance or want to stay ahead of the curve, keep reading. This is a journey you will want to take advantage of.

Key trends

1. Digitalization of payments

The shift towards digitalizing payments signifies a transformative trend in the global financial landscape. As technology evolves and consumer preferences lean towards more convenient transaction methods, the transition from cash to digital payments is gaining momentum. This increasing preference for digital transactions is highly influenced by these methods’ convenience, efficiency, and security.

According to Statista, a prominent market research firm, the global transactional value of digital payments is anticipated to hit an astounding $8.17 trillion by 2024. The exponential growth of digital payments can be linked to the escalating acceptance of mobile wallets, internet banking, and digital currencies. These innovative payment methods offer individuals and businesses many advantages, including ease of use, enhanced security protocols, and instant access to funds.

A prime example of this burgeoning trend is the swift proliferation of mobile payment applications. With the widespread use of smartphones and the increasing acceptance of contactless payment technologies, the user base of mobile payment apps is projected to hit a staggering 1.3 billion globally by 2023, as per Statista’s reports. This surge in usage underscores the convenience and accessibility that mobile payments offer, allowing users to execute transactions with minimal effort and maximum efficiency.

In conclusion, the digitalization of payments is revolutionizing how we engage in financial transactions at a global scale. As digital payment methods grow in popularity, we are progressively moving towards a cashless society. This transition paves the way for a more convenient, secure, and efficient financial management system for individuals and businesses, marking a significant leap in finance.

2. Faster, real-time payments in every country

As we delve into the 21st century, the evolution of payment systems to accommodate faster, real-time transactions is transforming the landscape of our financial exchanges. This trend is fueled by the burgeoning demand for instant gratification and the need for streamlined, efficient operations in today’s fast-paced world. According to a report from FIS, as of 2020, 56 real-time payment systems are operating across the globe, demonstrating the widespread adoption of this technology.

One clear example of this revolutionary trend is the United Kingdom’s Faster Payments Scheme (FPS), which has been operational since 2008. As of 2020, the FPS processed approximately 2.8 billion payments, representing over £1.9 trillion, according to UK Finance. The FPS’s success has driven the proliferation of similar systems worldwide.

Singapore’s FAST (Fast and Secure Transfers) system and India’s Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) are operational in the Asia-Pacific region, facilitating instantaneous interbank transfers. As of September 2021, the total volume of FAST transactions exceeded 66.7 million, with a total value of SGD 49.5 billion, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Simultaneously, the IMPS in India witnessed more than 2.7 billion transactions in the fiscal year 2020-2021, demonstrating the heavy reliance on real-time transfers in the region.

In summary, these advancements in payment infrastructures are opening up a world of possibilities for individual consumers, businesses of all scales, and government entities alike. They streamline processes like payroll management, bill payments, and emergency disbursements, increasing efficiency and reducing transaction times. As these systems become the norm, our societies are increasingly moving towards a world where financial transactions are as instantaneous as clicking a button.

3. Interlinking of real-time payments between countries

Efforts are being made to interlink real-time payment systems across borders, fostering faster and more seamless cross-border transactions. These initiatives are crucial in promoting global financial inclusion and enabling the smooth conduct of international business.

One prominent instance of such unification in the financial sector is the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), an initiative by the European Payments Council. The SEPA, operational since 2008, has harmonized euro-denominated transactions across Europe by establishing a standardized, high-performance platform. As per the European Central Bank, SEPA covers over 36 countries and territories, and as of 2020, it processed approximately 122 billion transactions, representing a total value of over €54.5 trillion.

Another notable example is the integration of Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay platforms. This innovative collaboration, launched in 2021, marked the world’s first bridge between national real-time payment systems. According to the Bank of Thailand and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, this linkage allows customers to send and receive funds instantly between the two countries using mobile numbers. The service began operating with a limit of SGD 1,000 (THB 24,000) per transaction, and as of 2021, it supported up to 1.5 million transfers per day.

These interconnections promote global financial integration and streamline international trade operations. They offer businesses a more efficient way to manage their finances, reducing cross-border payments’ costs and time. By fostering economic growth, these advancements in financial technology are paving the way to a more interconnected and inclusive global economy.

4. Reduction in unit cost 

Technological advancements and increased competition have led to a significant reduction in the cost of payment processing. Payment service providers are streamlining their operations and leveraging economies of scale to reduce consumer and business transaction costs. According to a study by McKinsey, the average cost of processing a cashless transaction has decreased by nearly 50% over the past decade.

Adopting cloud-based payment platforms has played a crucial role in reducing costs. These platforms eliminate extensive infrastructure investments, as businesses can leverage cloud computing resources. Cloud-based solutions provide scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency, allowing payment service providers to process transactions at a lower cost.

Furthermore, the rise of payment aggregators and fintech startups has introduced competitive pricing models. These players leverage innovative technologies and agile business models to offer cost-effective payment solutions. By partnering with payment aggregators, merchants can access multiple payment methods through a single integration, reducing operational costs and improving efficiency.

5. Increased fraud risks and advancements in security

As digital transactions become more prevalent, the risk of fraud and cyber threats has escalated, prompting the payments industry to invest heavily in information security measures. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, organizations lose an estimated 5% of their annual revenue to fraud.

To combat these risks, advancements in security technologies have been instrumental. Tokenization, a process that replaces sensitive payment data with unique tokens, enhances the security of digital payments by reducing the risk of data breaches. Encryption technologies ensure that payment data between parties remains secure and inaccessible to unauthorized individuals.

Biometrics, such as fingerprint and facial recognition, are increasingly used as payment systems’ authentication methods. These technologies provide an additional layer of security by verifying the user’s identity based on unique biological traits. Machine learning algorithms analyze vast amounts of transaction data to detect patterns and anomalies associated with fraudulent activities, enabling early detection and prevention of fraudulent transactions.

While advancements in security technologies have strengthened the overall security of payment systems, it is essential to recognize that cybercriminals also evolve their tactics. This necessitates ongoing vigilance and continuous innovation in security measures to stay one step ahead of fraudsters.

6. Contextual payments (embedded finance) 

Embedded finance, known as contextual payments, is gaining traction as financial services seamlessly integrate into various platforms and applications. E-commerce platforms, marketplace platforms, and even social media platforms are incorporating payment acceptance and payout functionalities, simplifying the user experience.

For example, platforms like Shopify and Square offer built-in payment solutions that enable businesses to accept payments directly within their online stores. This integration reduces friction in the payment process, eliminates the need for customers to navigate to external payment gateways, and enhances overall user convenience. It also improves customer retention and loyalty, as seamless payments create a positive user experience.

The growth of embedded finance has been accelerated by the increasing adoption of application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs allow different software systems to communicate and share data securely, enabling the integration of payment functionalities into third-party platforms. This enables businesses to provide a unified experience where customers can shop, transact, and make payments within a single application or platform.

Embedded finance has the potential to extend beyond e-commerce and impact industries such as healthcare, transportation, and entertainment. For example, healthcare providers can integrate payment capabilities into telemedicine platforms, allowing patients to pay for consultations and medical services seamlessly. The continued expansion of embedded finance opens up new avenues for innovation and convenience in the payments industry.

7. Alternative payment methods 

Traditional card payments are no longer the only option for consumers. Alternative payment methods, such as digital wallets, bank transfers, and buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services, have gained popularity and offer users more choices and flexibility.

Digital wallets, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal, enable users to store multiple payment methods securely on their mobile devices. These wallets provide a convenient and contactless payment experience, eliminating the need to carry physical cards and speeding up checkout. According to eMarketer, the number of global mobile wallet users is projected to surpass 1.5 billion by 2023.

Bank transfers, also known as direct bank payments or electronic funds transfers, allow users to initiate payments directly from their bank accounts. This method offers enhanced security and eliminates the need for card details, making it an attractive option for users concerned about data privacy.

Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services, such as Klarna, Afterpay, and Affirm, enable consumers to split their purchases into interest-free installments. This flexibility improves affordability and allows users to manage their finances more effectively. The BNPL market has experienced significant growth, with Statista estimating that global transaction volume in the BNPL sector will exceed $680 billion by 2025.

These alternative payment methods cater to changing consumer preferences and offer enhanced convenience and financial flexibility. Businesses that embrace these options can provide a seamless and personalized payment experience, catering to a broader customer base and driving higher conversion rates.

8. Local card payment networks going global 

Local card payment networks initially confined to specific regions or countries are expanding their reach globally, enabling wider acceptance of local cards internationally. This trend provides convenience for travelers and supports cross-border commerce, fostering financial inclusion and driving economic growth.

One notable example of local card payment networks going global is China UnionPay (CUP). CUP, originally established to facilitate domestic transactions in China, has made significant strides in expanding its acceptance network worldwide. As of 2021, CUP’s network covered over 180 countries and regions, with acceptance at millions of merchants globally. This expansion has been instrumental in facilitating transactions for Chinese tourists and businesses abroad.

The globalization of local card networks offers several benefits. It provides convenience for international travelers who can use their familiar local payment methods abroad, eliminating the need for currency conversions or reliance on international card networks. Additionally, it enables businesses in local economies to connect with the global market, fostering trade and economic growth.

Furthermore, local card networks often collaborate with international payment networks to extend their reach. For example, UnionPay has partnerships with major card networks like Visa and Mastercard, allowing cardholders to use their UnionPay cards at merchants accepting these international networks. These collaborations enhance the acceptance and interoperability of local card networks, facilitating seamless transactions for cardholders worldwide.

Expanding local card payment networks aligns with the increasing digital payments and e-commerce trend. As cross-border online shopping becomes more prevalent, accepting local cards on international e-commerce platforms provides consumers with a convenient and familiar payment option worldwide.

The globalization of local card payment networks promotes financial inclusion, drives economic growth, and enhances the convenience and accessibility of payment options for consumers and businesses globally.

9. Open banking for payments and information

Open banking initiatives, driven by implementing open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), are transforming the payments landscape. Open banking allows authorized third-party developers to securely access payment functionalities and customer data from banks and financial institutions. This fosters innovation by enabling the development of new payment experiences and driving competition in the industry.

By leveraging open APIs, fintech companies and other third-party providers can create innovative payment solutions that offer enhanced convenience, personalized services, and improved user experiences. For example, payment initiation services allow users to initiate payments directly from their bank accounts, bypassing traditional card-based payments. Account information services aggregate financial data from multiple accounts, giving users a holistic view of their financial health.

Open banking also empowers consumers by giving them control over their banking data. With their consent, customers can share their financial information with authorized third parties, who can then offer tailored financial services and products. This allows users to access personalized recommendations, budgeting tools, and comparison services, facilitating informed payment decisions.

The adoption of open banking is growing globally. Implementing the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in Europe has accelerated open banking initiatives. According to a report by Capgemini, 87% of banks in Europe have either implemented or plan to implement open banking frameworks. In the UK, the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) has facilitated the development of open banking standards, resulting in increased collaboration between traditional banks and fintech startups.

10. The proliferation of fintech and unbundling of services

Fintech startups are revolutionizing the payments industry by offering specialized services traditionally provided by banks. This unbundling of services has reshaped the industry landscape, with fintech focusing on peer-to-peer payments, international remittances, and merchant services.

The rise of fintech has been fueled by advancements in technology, increased customer expectations, and regulatory changes that promote innovation and competition. Fintech companies leverage digital platforms, data analytics, and mobile technology to deliver faster, more accessible, and user-friendly payment solutions.

Collaboration and partnerships between traditional banks and fintech startups have become more prevalent. Banks recognize the value of fintech innovation and partner with these agile startups to enhance their services and customer experiences. This collaboration drives innovation and accelerates the pace of digital transformation within the industry.

The global fintech market has experienced rapid growth in recent years. According to a report by KPMG, global fintech investment reached $168 billion in 2020, a significant increase compared to previous years. The report also highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the adoption of fintech solutions as consumers increasingly embraced digital payments and financial management tools.

Fintech innovations have profoundly impacted financial inclusion, particularly in underserved populations and emerging markets. Mobile payment solutions and digital wallets have provided access to financial services for the unbanked and underbanked populations, enabling them to participate in the digital economy.

11. Impact of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have the potential to disrupt traditional payment systems. Blockchain, a decentralized and transparent ledger system, offers advantages such as faster cross-border payments, increased transparency, and potential cost savings.

Blockchain-based payment systems can streamline cross-border transactions by eliminating intermediaries, reducing settlement times, and lowering transaction costs. For instance, RippleNet, a blockchain-based payment network, enables real-time, low-cost international remittances.

The use of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, as a form of payment is gaining acceptance. Major companies like Tesla and PayPal have started accepting cryptocurrencies, further driving their adoption. Cryptocurrencies offer benefits such as faster transaction settlement, lower fees, and increased security through cryptographic protocols.

However, widespread adoption and mainstream integration of blockchain and cryptocurrencies face challenges. Regulatory frameworks are evolving, and scalability issues must be addressed to support high transaction volumes. Volatility, security, and consumer protection concerns require robust measures and industry collaboration.

Nevertheless, financial institutions recognize the potential of blockchain technology. According to a report by PwC, 77% of financial institutions are expected to adopt blockchain technology by 2022. Exploring central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) by various countries further demonstrates the growing interest in blockchain-based payment systems.

12. Impact of AI/ML and Data Science 

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data science transform payment processes by enabling better fraud detection, personalized customer experiences, risk assessment, and efficient transaction monitoring.

AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants provide instant customer support, enhancing the overall payment experience. These intelligent systems can handle inquiries, provide personalized recommendations, and resolve issues promptly.

ML algorithms analyze vast amounts of data to detect patterns and anomalies associated with fraudulent activities, improving fraud prevention capabilities. These algorithms learn from historical data to identify suspicious transactions in real time, reducing false positives and minimizing disruption to legitimate transactions.

Data science techniques enhance payment analytics, enabling businesses to gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and spending patterns. These insights help optimize payment strategies, improve customer segmentation, and enhance personalized offerings.

The adoption of AI, ML, and data science in payments is accelerating. According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global AI in the payment market is expected to reach $26.98 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45.2% from 2019 to 2026.

The use of AI and ML in payment fraud prevention has proven highly effective. A Javelin Strategy & Research study found that organizations using AI for fraud detection experienced 50% lower fraud losses than those relying on traditional methods.

Overall, AI, ML, and data science are driving advancements in payment processes, improving efficiency, security, and customer experiences. The ongoing development of these technologies will continue to shape the future of payments.

13. Innovations in credit 

Innovative credit solutions, such as buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services, have recently gained popularity. These services offer consumers and businesses flexible financing options, allowing for staggered payments without traditional credit card debt.

BNPL providers like Affirm, Klarna, and Afterpay enable users to split their purchases into interest-free installments, often with transparent pricing and no hidden fees. This payment method appeals to consumers seeking affordability, allowing them to spread payments over time without incurring high-interest charges.

The growth of BNPL services has been remarkable. According to a report by Accenture, BNPL transaction volume is expected to reach $680 billion globally by 2025, representing a significant increase from $245 billion in 2020. The report also highlights that BNPL services are particularly popular among millennials and Gen Z consumers.

These credit innovations benefit both consumers and businesses. Consumers can make purchases without the immediate financial burden of full payment, increasing affordability and driving higher spending. For businesses, offering BNPL options can boost sales, increase customer conversion rates, and enhance customer loyalty.

14. Improving B2B Payments

Business-to-business (B2B) payments have historically faced challenges in terms of complexity and inefficiency. However, innovations such as electronic invoicing, streamlined payment platforms, and integrated supply chain financing solutions simplify B2B transactions.

Electronic invoicing automates the invoicing process, reducing errors and accelerating payment cycles. It enables businesses to generate, send, and receive invoices digitally, eliminating the need for paper-based processes and manual data entry.

Streamlined payment platforms enable businesses to manage and execute B2B payments more efficiently. These platforms offer features like batch payments, customizable workflows, and integration with accounting systems, streamlining the payment process and reducing manual intervention.

Integrated supply chain financing solutions provide working capital to suppliers, improving business cash flow management. These solutions enable businesses to secure financing based on their receivables and payables, optimizing liquidity and reducing dependence on traditional lending sources.

The adoption of electronic invoicing and streamlined payment platforms has been gaining traction globally. According to a report by Ardent Partners, 56% of businesses surveyed have implemented electronic invoicing systems, with another 20% planning to implement them soon. The report highlights that electronic invoicing businesses experience faster payment cycles and reduced processing costs.

The digitization of B2B payments offers several benefits, including increased efficiency, reduced errors, and improved transparency. Businesses can automate reconciliation processes, track real-time payment statuses, and access comprehensive payment data for analysis and reporting.

Moreover, digital B2B payment solutions facilitate cross-border transactions by offering multi-currency capabilities and compliance with international regulations. This enables businesses to expand their global reach and engage in seamless international trade.

The digital transformation of B2B payments drives operational efficiencies, cost savings, and improved cash flow management for businesses across various industries. As technology advances, the B2B payments landscape will continue to evolve, offering more innovative solutions to address the specific needs of businesses.

15. Growing Regulatory Complexity: A Key Trend Impacting the Payments Industry

The regulatory landscape in the payments industry continually evolves, adding complexity and cost to businesses. Regulatory changes aim to enhance consumer protection, prevent financial crimes, and ensure data privacy and security.

Data privacy laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, impose stringent requirements on the handling and protection customer data. Businesses operating in jurisdictions with data privacy regulations must invest in compliance measures to safeguard customer information, ensure consent-based data usage, and implement robust security measures.

Anti-money laundering (AML) regulations are becoming more robust, requiring businesses to implement comprehensive due diligence processes and transaction monitoring systems to mitigate financial crime risks. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization combating money laundering and terrorist financing, sets global standards and guidelines for AML compliance.

Complying with these regulations can increase operational costs for businesses in the payments industry. Implementing the necessary infrastructure, security measures, and compliance frameworks requires substantial technology, resources, and training investments.

To navigate the growing regulatory complexity, businesses must stay updated on evolving regulations, engage in proactive compliance measures, and leverage technology solutions that facilitate regulatory adherence. Collaboration with regulatory bodies and industry associations can also provide valuable insights and guidance on compliance best practices.

Integrating technology, such as AI and data analytics, can assist businesses in meeting regulatory requirements more efficiently. These tools can automate compliance processes, perform risk assessments, and monitor transactions for suspicious activities, enhancing compliance effectiveness and reducing manual efforts.

As the payments industry evolves, regulatory compliance will remain a key consideration. Businesses that proactively address regulatory requirements can build customer trust, mitigate risks, and ensure long-term sustainability in the dynamic regulatory environment.


The digitalization of payments forces the payments industry to adapt and evolve to meet consumer demands rapidly. The industry’s prospects remain positive, from real-time payment systems utilizing technological advancements and increasing competition to embedded finance, alternative payment methods, open banking initiatives, fintech, and cryptocurrencies. Despite a seemingly never-ending cycle of innovation and flux within the payments industry, there are many certainties – such as reducing transaction times, increased security measures for fraud protection, and improved customer experience with local card networks going global, paving the way for wider acceptance internationally. By learning more about these areas and watching developments, you can rise above challenges while remaining at the forefront of financial prowess. It’s fair to say that we’re living in exciting times – so don’t limit yourself or your business in what you can accomplish – seize this opportunity to lead the charge in modernizing payment solutions no matter where you are on our ever-connected planet.