Account-to-account (A2A) transactions are swiftly overtaking cash and bank cards and are predicted to comprise 20% of global eCommerce payments by 20231. Seizing the A2A momentum requires an understanding of the latest developments related to this payment method and its perspectives in the international market.
Get some insights into the current A2A transfers’ market position and find out the forecasts regarding their future evolution in this overview!
Even though such payments have been around for years, for a long time they didn’t offer advantages that would outweigh those provided by card network schemes, so businesses opted for the latter instead.
However, in recent years, Open Banking played a critical role in promoting A2A payments by enabling regulated third-party financial service providers to enter the market that was previously dominated by legacy banks.
Thanks to these changes, A2A transactions are becoming mainstream and offer more benefits than ever before, including:
The combination of these factors makes account-to-account transactions equally convenient for both the merchants and consumers, creating a promising future for this payment method.
One example of the fast growth pace A2A payments have achieved in the past few years is the iDEAL scheme in the Netherlands:
A similar tendency exists in the UK, where more than 50% of all B2B transactions are made through instant transfers, with consumer-to-business and consumer-to-government transactions beginning to follow in their footsteps3. What’s more, 1 in 4 credit cards in the UK can now be paid off with the help of A2A transfers.
In June 2022, the P27 Nordic Payments initiative announced its plans to become the new national clearinghouse in Denmark for traditional and smart payments catering to both businesses and consumers. It will also potentially enable bill settlement and RTPs with other Nordic countries like Sweden, Finland, and Norway.
The spread of the trend for A2A payments gives life to a variety of national and international projects across the globe. Here are some of the most recent examples:
In Europe, the EPI (European Payments Initiative) has raised a lot of discussion in the context of A2A and instant payments over the course of the past year. This coalition consists of 31 banks and two third-party acquirers based in seven EU countries, namely:
EPI’s operations currently deal with 65% of all European payment transactions. Its main goal is to develop a unified payment solution that will become the new standard for EU consumers and merchants for all types of financial transactions, with its scope covering both euro and non-euro markets. The framework of this grand initiative is based on A2A payments.
In the US, the Federal Reserve is already onboarding the first users to test the FedNow instant payment service, planning its launch in 2023.
At the end of 2021, Australian Payments Plus was formed through the merging of NPP Australia, Eftpos, and BPAY Group. This collaboration is set to provide improved investment management across the three payment schemes and promote a sustainable and innovative approach in the Australian payments landscape.
While a lot of networks and issuers are still reluctant to encourage consumers to adopt this payment method as it would mean the loss of bank card revenues, it can’t stop the rapid spread of A2A transfers. After all, such payments are catalyzed by Open Banking and widely accepted by FIs, merchants, and consumers.
Plenty of other card networks, on the other hand, have embraced the inevitable change and invested in A2A payments, aiming to diversify their product portfolio. Some examples of such strategic activity are:
As for banks, the majority of them are trying to achieve better control of the payment rails, with EPI being one instance of such an initiative.
All in all, the investments into A2A transactions are sure to keep incoming, and the global market share of such payments will continue increasing. So, if you still don’t implement them in your operations, now is the perfect time to get started.
1 - FIS - 2020 Global Payments Report
2, 3 - Forbes - Account-to-Account Payments