Although the calendar has officially flipped to 2022, the primary mandate within the payments sector remains the same: innovate.
That’s hardly a novel concept in the digital age, but the ongoing public health crisis underscored the need for constant innovation and has expedited a broader shift toward next-gen payment methods for B2C and B2B businesses. Expect that to continue in the next 12 months and beyond.
Many of last year’s initiatives will remain a priority this year, including contactless payment solutions and fraud protection. Other budding trends — like Buy Now, Pay Later (“BNPL”) and decentralized finance (“DeFi”) — are also likely to expand. Here are the top five payment trends to keep an eye on in 2022.
1. COVID Concerns Keep Fueling the Digitization of Payments
As of 2021, the number of Americans using digital payment methods has jumped to 82%. (1) Even with the widespread distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, boosters and treatments, there has been and will continue to be pressure to accommodate an increasingly contactless society.
Contactless payment solutions present a clear opportunity for businesses. Many retailers have already responded with touch-free payment options via mobile apps and even biometric card readers. Look for other innovative solutions to follow suit, especially as this feature grows in popularity.
One report estimated that global contactless payments would eclipse $2.5 trillion in 2021 — an almost 40% increase relative to 2020. (2) This will continue to fuel digitization efforts across all industries — those who fall behind risk alienating existing and potential customers.
2. BNPL Spreads to New Markets
Many merchants incorporated Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) functionality into their payment infrastructure in 2021 — a trend that should accelerate this year.
BNPL enables consumers to split the cost of a product or service into periodic installments, which has helped consumers afford things they may not have purchased otherwise. In fact, 29% of consumers who used BNPL expressed that, without this payment option, they would have made a smaller purchase or no purchase at all. Moreover, 31% of consumers also appreciated BNPL as an interest-free alternative to more expensive options like credit cards. (3)
But BNPL isn’t just for retail shopping anymore. Now, it’s proliferating throughout industries like healthcare, automotive, gaming and hospitality. Health care providers have added BNPL to give patients additional payment options for their medical services. Automotive dealerships have used BNPL to not only reduce financing friction but also empower car shoppers with increased purchasing power so they can browse higher-end models. Parts and services for vehicle repairs are less burdensome with spaced out payments, too.
BNPL is a popular solution within Certegy’s product portfolio. Learn more about it here.
3. Fraud Protection Remains a Point of Emphasis
As one would imagine, an uptick in digital transactions led to an uptick in fraud last year. Card fraud was a primary catalyst. A Nilson report determined that issuers, merchants and related entities lost $28.6 billion to card fraud in 2020 — a figure that’s expected to rise to $49.3 billion by 2030. (4)
Global non-cash transaction volume is projected to surpass $1.8 trillion this year, accentuating the need for reinforced fraud protection. (5) While businesses have indicated they plan to raise their fraud detection budgets in 2022, payment providers are still pressed to augment their product offerings with enhanced cybersecurity functionality. (6)
Many institutions already leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions to safeguard against malicious activity. The application of these budding technologies enables companies to process an abundance of data and identify patterns and irregularities, which can expose and sometimes even predict fraudulent transactions.
Proactive companies have also invested in alternative payment methods — such as ACH, which takes the risk of chargebacks off the table — to better insulate themselves from card fraud.
So long as people and businesses transact with one another, there will be bad actors, scammers and fraudsters. As a result, cybersecurity will remain a point of emphasis now and forever.
4. More B2B Companies Will Automate Their Payment Infrastructure
While it’s true that payment digitization is on the rise, many B2B companies have yet to fully commit to the switch — even though it would ultimately benefit their bottom line.
For example, many accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) teams still rely on manual invoice & check payment processes. This can lead to increased lag time between billing and collections. One study determined that companies that rely on manual AR processes took 67% longer to recognize and follow up on past-due bills. (7) Naturally, this can prompt costly, unnecessary delays and disrupt cash flow needs.
Manual invoicing also increases the likelihood of human error, which creates additional labor (and operational costs) as these mistakes must be corrected manually as well. More importantly, the broader shift to remote work makes hands-on payment processing even less viable than before. However, there should be progress in this area in 2022. A recent assessment determined that 70% of B2B companies expect to automate their invoicing processes. (8)
5. Increased Emergence of Crypto and Blockchain Technology
2021 was another banner year for cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin and Ethereum hit all-time highs. Altcoins proliferated, nearly doubling the total number of cryptos in the market. (9) Nonfungible tokens surged onto the scene — avid demand soon followed. Several governments researched and even tested the possibility of installing a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
And payment providers were heavily involved in the space too, exploring ways to design and implement decentralized finance (DeFi) services through blockchain technology. DeFi applications don’t require the oversight of central authorities, which can make transacting more accessible and efficient.
That said, this open-sourced financial infrastructure comes with its fair share of risks and structural limitations. Crypto lending, which ballooned to $35 billion of loan originations in the third quarter of 2021, is a prime example, as the volatility of cryptos on any given day can create liquidity mismatches. (10)
As 2022 unfolds, anticipate new market entrants, additional capabilities — and heightened scrutiny by regulators. Despite its moniker, DeFi ecosystems must learn to interoperate with traditional centralized financial systems if scalability is to be achieved.
To learn more about Certegy’s payment solutions, contact us.
7,8: Big Commerce