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2022’s Biggest Payment Trends: Instant Payments, Fraud, Strides in CBDCs, and XB Payments

2022 was a year of major announcements and developments in instant payments, digital currencies, and cross-border payments. The European Commission plans to mandate the adoption and regulate the price of real-time payments in Europe. As real-time payment systems are rolled out across the world, we’ve seen fraud migrate toward these systems, especially authorized fraud. Central bank digital currencies also made strides, with more countries exploring them. And cross-border payments are becoming faster, cheaper, and more transparent. 

Mandated Instant Payments in Europe

The European Commission aims to force the adoption of real-time payments across Europe. This will make payments more modern and convenient. Consumers will have quick alternative to cards in e-commerce, and businesses will be able to hold on to their liquidity longer.  The change will also provide opportunities for payment gateway providers, value-added service providers, and clearing houses.

This change will have significant consequences for banks. The Commission is regulating prices yet again by requiring that instant payments cost consumers no more than other payments, essentially setting the price of bank transfers at zero across the continent. This continues the drive to make payments more of a utility than a commercial enterprise since providers won’t be able to make money from payments. In addition, banks will have to change their operating models to process more payments on evenings, weekends and holidays.

Increased Concern about Fraud

Although long recognized as a major issue in the US and UK, other parts of the world are waking up to the challenges of increasing fraud in the payments space, especially authorized fraud. Adopting instant payments doesn’t increase fraud, but scammers tend to migrate to those systems because of their speed and finality.

To counter this, banks and corporates will need to increase the sophistication of their prevention and mitigation efforts. Consumers and businesses will have to continue learning how to recognize nefarious schemes. Policymakers are also responding. The UK plans to mandate that banks reimburse customers for authorized push payment fraud, and there are some voices calling for similar action in the USA. 

The Year of CBDCs 

At least 105 countries are exploring CBDCs and 50 are in an advanced exploration phase (development, pilot or launch). The Bahamas, the Eastern Caribbean and Nigeria have gone live with a retail CBDC, and China is in the advanced pilot stage. The Bank for International Settlements is working on two projects to see how wholesale CBDC could improve cross-border, cross-currency settlement.   

In designing these products, central banks face difficult technology and design decisions. From setting public policy aims to choosing vendors, maximizing financial inclusion, and minimizing the carbon footprint, to selecting vendors, central bankers have a lot of questions to consider. The first question they will have to answer is how CBDCs differ from conventional digital currency and whether the advantages they bring outweigh the disadvantages. I am certainly going to continue to keep a close eye on developments.

Strides in cross-border payments

 Meanwhile, cross-border payments are getting faster, cheaper, and more transparent. 2022 also saw links between domestic systems and the internationalization of instant payment systems. 

The Immediate Cross-Border Payments (IXB) pilot service will start processing its first live transactions in euros and the US dollar in the coming months and is on track for a commercial rollout in 2023. Singapore and Thailand have linked their real-time payment systems so that users from one country can also complete account-to-account transactions in the other country. And national payment systems, such as India’s UPI, have expanded to other markets. Indians traveling abroad can now pay via UPI in Nepal, Singapore, the UAE, and now Europe. I expect additional national or regional payment systems to link to each other and for the trend of regionalization of payments to carry on.

Looking forward to 2023

Next year, I’m very much looking forward to South Africa launching its Rapid Payments Programme, known as PayShap, in March 2023. Having worked on this since 2017, it will be very exciting to see this scheme go live. While it will add convenience for all South Africans, its designers expect it will most benefit those without bank accounts who currently use cash. 

I hope 2023 will be a “normal” business year, where I will have the chance to see many of you in person again. As helpful as video calls have been, 2022 reminded me how valuable (and fun) it is to work face-to-face with clients, partners, and team members.


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Leo Lipis

Leo Lipis

Chief Executive

Lipis Advisors

Member since

28 Jun 2022



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Payments strategies 2015-2020-2030

Payments systems visions, strategies, trends, pilots, forecasting, and planning for the short-, medium-, and far-term.

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