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  • Writer's pictureJaime González Gasque

Electronic payments will almost triple in 2030 to exceed 3 trillion operations

The pandemic has accelerated the growth of electronic payments by three to five years.Asia will lead this increase, followed by Africa and Europe. Central Bank digital currencies and cryptocurrencies are expected to be the biggest disruption in the financial sector in the next 20 years.

In 2030, electronic payments will practically triple in the world, to exceed three trillion operations.This is clear from the Payments 2025 & Beyond report, prepared by PwC, which is part of a series of studies on the future of the financial sector.The document considers that the pandemic and digitization are accentuating the transformation of the financial sector and analyzes why the means of payment are at the center of this metamorphosis.The estimates included in the report suggest that, between 2020 and 2025, electronic transactions will grow by 82%, from one trillion to 1.8 trillion operations.And between 2025 and 2030, this growth will be 61%, to exceed three trillion transactions worldwide.

By geographical areas, Asia-Pacific will be the region that will lead this growth, with increases of 109%, until 2025, and 76%, between 2025 and 2030, followed by Africa (78% / 64) and Europe (64% /39%).The United States and Canada will be the region where the increase will be more moderate (43% / 35%).This means that the number of transactions per capita will practically triple the current level on the planet as a whole.In Asia, for example, the strong growth of electronic payments is being fueled by innovation and the launch of new business models.In China, Alipay and WeChat Pay, owned by two e-commerce giants Ant Group and Tencent, have created a new paradigm with the launch of super apps that function as payment platforms.

In other countries, governments are promoting payment infrastructures as part of their policies to control money flows from their own platforms. Which is translating into the proliferation of domestic payment methods such as Troy in Turkey, Mir in Russia or Elo and Pix in Brazil. The momentum of the pandemic The report estimates that COVID-19 has advanced the use of electronic means of payment in the world by between three and five years, and concludes that the massive adoption of digital consumption habits during confinements is accelerating growth of electronic payments and making the use of cash much less relevant, except in less developed countries, where it is still essential. The document also points out the rise of six major trends that are going to impact the future of payment methods:

  • Inclusion and trust. In 2014, the World Bank set itself the goal of achieving, by 2020, universal access to the financial system for all adult citizens of the planet. This involved access to a checking account to deposit money and make and receive payments. This goal is still far from being reached - in 2017 only 69% had access - especially in developing countries, where financial inclusion will continue to be driven by access to mobile devices and simple and accessible means of payment. By 2025, smartphones are expected to have reached 80% of the planet's population.

  • Digital currencies. In the next 20 years, the digital currencies of Central Banks - known as CBDCs, for its acronym in English - are expected to be the biggest disruption in the financial sector, along with cryptocurrencies. An example of this type of initiative in the private sphere is the launch of Diem, by Facebook. Additionally, central bank skepticism about the potential of private sector-driven cryptocurrencies may be starting to change as players like MasterCard, Visa, and BNY Mellon are preparing to facilitate the use of these types of assets. A recent survey by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) assured that 60% of Central Banks are considering the use of CBDCs and 14% already have pilot programs underway.

  • Digital Wallets. Digital wallets or e-wallets allow the storage of different means of payment and access to sources of financing from mobile devices. In 2020, the use of digital wallets grew 7% in the world, according to a report by the Financial Services Technology Group company. This company estimates that, in 2024, more than half of all e-commerce operations will be carried out through digital wallets. The battle of the rails. But everything behind the world of electronic payments is also changing - in what we would call the 'pipelines' of payment processing. As we move from traditional cards and accounts to account-to-account payments, regulators force the sector to strengthen its domestic infrastructures. In fact, consumers in emerging markets are "skipping" the card era and migrating directly to mobile wallets.

  • Cross-border payments. Acceleration of cross-border B2B payments is expected in the next five years, according to a survey conducted by PwC among managers in the financial sector. Expectations that are supported by the approval of ISO 20022, as a global standard for the transmission of data for payments. A recent pilot project by Faster Payments Service, owned by the UK payments authority, recorded the fastest payment from Australia to a UK payee in history: all processes were confirmed in just 36 seconds.

  • Economic crimes. The boost that the pandemic has given to electronic commerce has also been an open door for fraud. In 2020, the value of average fraud in purchasing processes increased almost 70% compared to 2019, according to data from the Sift company. Open banking in combination with the entry of new players and the greater use of electronic payments from digital wallets also opens the range of economic crimes that can be committed.

“A world without cash is on the way. The pandemic has further strengthened the commitment to electronic payments, which will triple in the coming years, and this acceleration will open up new opportunities for the entire ecosystem of payment methods, including banks. ”Javier Baixas , Javier Baixas, Partner responsible for Customer at PwC

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