The relevance of real-time payments (RTP) nowadays cannot be overstated, as they help to minimize financial anxiety by ensuring near-instant, simple, and secure transactions. This leads to RTPs becoming table stakes worldwide, driven by significant demand from both consumers and businesses.
2022 was marked by important contributions to the development of the RTP sphere. Read ahead to find out the key takeaways from the past year and get to know what to expect from 2023.
The global success of real-time payments is largely attributed to local progress. Some of the most prominent RTP markets that we saw in 2022 were:
1. Asia - Indonesia & Pakistan
Indonesia has made a huge step in the RTP sphere by launching the BI-Fast real-time payments scheme in December 2022. This project is a part of the government’s Indonesia Payment System Blueprint 2025 vision that aims to enhance digital payments availability and adoption across the country.
While Indonesia is a rather late entrant to the RTP game in Asia, it demonstrates a lot of potential similar to its neighbors, such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. These mature markets offer a glimpse of the RTP achievements Indonesia might display in the near future.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has also put a lot of effort to boost financial inclusion and mitigate illicit financial transactions with the phased launch of the Raast RTP system in 2022. The first stage of this project backed by the State Bank of Pakistan covers government payments, salaries, pensions, and more, making it clear as day that nationwide improvements are to follow.
2. Middle East - KSA & UAE
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continued taking advantage of its region-leading levels of mobile and internet connectivity to work on real-time payments as part of the execution of the government’s Vision 2030 strategy to modernize and digitize its payments infrastructure.
Besides, the Central Bank of UAE was preparing for its IPP real-time payments scheme to go live in October 2022. While the system’s launch date was postponed to Q1 2023, critical preparatory steps were taken throughout the past year.
3. Africa - South Africa
In South Africa, the launch of the Rapid Payment Program (RPP) was also scheduled for the end of 2022, yet its implementation was delayed until 2023.
While the country already boasts a long-established RTP landscape, this system will be bringing the next generation of capabilities and use cases to it. With mobile use experiencing rapid growth throughout the past years, the new program will have no issues with adding more advanced capabilities to the existing rails.
4. Pacific - New Zealand
New Zealand’s Covid-driven adoption of FinTech solutions exposed gaps in its payment ecosystem that the central bank is keen on closing with the help of a real-time scheme, the preparations for which have been going on throughout 2022.
Many experts agree that a point-to-point system based on APIs may be chosen as the underlying architecture, as it would be a cost-effective solution given the small scale of New Zealand’s market. While there are not many details available to the public as of now, we are sure to see more opinions and developments regarding it in 2023.
5. North America - USA
It probably comes as no surprise that the main focus in the United States’ real-time payments agenda was the FedNow scheme. The project’s pilot phase went live in 2021 and involved over 200 FIs. The findings derived from it have left plenty of analytical work and decision-making pressure for 2022, given that this real-time, A2A payments service is scheduled for full launch in 2023.
6. Latin America - Brazil & Peru
Brazil’s PIX system emerged in 2020 and has surpassed one billion transactions within months of its existence. In 2022, the scheme managed to consolidate its position as the most used means of payment across the country.
PIX is diametrically opposed to the experience of some countries in the region. For instance, in Mexico, the domestic scheme’s reliance on legacy technology has made the country stagnate in terms of payment innovation.
However, industry experts predict the next wave of RTP success to come to Peru, where the advancements in its Deferred Transfers and Immediate Interbank Transfers system have been catering to the needs of the 70% of unbanked citizens and demonstrating gradual transaction growth.
As you can see, while for many countries the past year has been marked by launches of new RTP projects, others had to push back the launch dates for their schemes. Regardless of these factors, we saw incredible progress in the real-time payments infrastructure in 2022 that will act as a strong basis for future developments.
All in all, the most prominent RTP trends of 2022 were as follows:
Speaking of new real-time payments implementations, one of the most exciting advancements that exploded in volume in 2022 and continues to be the fastest-growing RTP use case, was earned-wage access, which enabled workers to receive their earnings instantly.
2023 might very well be even more eventful than the previous year in the context of real-time payments. With long-awaited system launches, such as that of FedNow in the US and IPP in the UAE, big changes are surely on the way.
Experts also predict that more and more companies will start tapping into RTP’s potential in lending. Advanced risk-scoring functionalities enabled by Big Data combined with the power of instant payments are expected to take lending services to a whole new level in 2023 and beyond.
What’s more, many governments and payment businesses are investing in instant cross-border payments. For instance, the EU has hopped on this trend by publishing a proposal in October 2022. The document suggests amending existing regulations on cross-border instant payments in euro and forecasts these changes to have a significant impact.
Besides, in its annual report for 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) emphasizes the importance of multilateral cross-border payment platforms, claiming that they have the potential to transform the RTP sphere. It also states that payment connections between countries must be tailor-made, which takes “time and significant efforts” to accomplish.
However, despite all the connectivity and tech challenges, we are expected to see the first fruits of this work already in 2023, which will mark a new era in real-time payments.
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