Instant payment transaction values to exceed $27 trillion globally by 2026

A new study from Juniper Research has found the transaction value of instant payments will exceed $27.7 trillion in 2026, from just $4.8 trillion in 2021. The research identified that this extraordinary growth of over 470% will be driven by improved cost and transparency for instant payment schemes versus legacy payment schemes, such as ACH or CHAPS.

The research predicts instant payment schemes will increasingly disrupt both domestic and cross-border channels by offering payments that are faster to process, cheaper to both facilitate and initiate, and easier to track and reconcile. However, instant payments will take time to proliferate, given the fragmented nature of payments regulation within key markets like the US, and the uneven roles regulators have played internationally in payments innovation.

See more: London fintech Revolut launches new Payday feature in the UK

An instant payments scheme is any electronic retail payment system available on a 24/7/365 basis with transactions processed in under 10 seconds, with examples including Faster Payments in the UK and RTP (Real-time Payments) in the US.

Lack of Interoperability Restricting Cross-border Instant Payments

The new research, Instant Payments: B2B & Consumer Payments Analysis and Forecasts 2021-2026, also found that over 70% of the overall transaction value of instant payments will be domestic in 2026, with instant payment schemes lacking cross-border interoperability.

See more: Swiping left on magnetic stripes

The research acknowledged joining instant domestic schemes together to power cross-border payments as challenging, despite ISO 20022 adoption. The report predicts that CDBCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies) could have a significant role to play in harmonising cross-border payments due to their clean slate nature, meaning they can be designed with cross-border use cases in mind from the start. However, this will require prioritisation by regulators.

Research co-author Damla Sat explained: ‘CDBCs can completely disrupt the cross-border payments market, but they must be designed around this use case specifically, or they will fall victim to the same challenges as legacy payment systems.’