The Evolution & Future of Cross-Border Payments in 2022 & Beyond

For banks and other financial institutions, it’s still challenging to transfer funds quickly across borders as technology continues to change how people and businesses manage their financial transactions globally. Most of the systems are unable to keep up with contemporary technology because they have remained antiquated.

In the past, customers were forced to open bank accounts abroad, and use high-priced bank drafts, wire transfers, or currency exchanges to settle such transactions, all of which come at an inflated cost and with the added inconvenience for all parties involved. As a result of the need for multiple third parties to complete the process, sending remittances from one country to another has been both slow and expensive. In addition to high fees, time zone differences caused frustrating delays in settlements that put the process and its participants at risk.

Globalisation has created a fantastic and profitable opportunity for this industry’s advancement and the need for a more efficient, cost-effective system keeps rising. The demand was fueled by this rising use of e-commerce market platforms, according to a 2021 study by Juniper Research. Additionally, they demonstrated that B2B payments, which currently total USD 34 trillion in 2021, are expected to surpass USD 42.7 trillion across all cross-border payment types in 2026.

The growth of Cross-Border Payments

Over the past few years, the cross-border payment industry has expanded greatly. Emerging market participants work to incorporate intuitive innovations and improvements to make international remittances affordable, simple, and hassle-free.

Digital payments have been severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the upcoming years, a rise in cross-border, real-time transactions will be brought on by the sector’s emerging trends.

A real-time, highly secure alternative to conventional payments has been made possible by the growth of a global infrastructure that enables cross-border settlements. Additionally, it gets rid of the disjointed payment systems that expose companies to needless risks.

The ISO 20022 standard is undoubtedly the hottest development in the field of fast payments technology to keep an eye on. For the exchange of electronic messages between banks, this is a global standardisation strategy.

The innovation has the potential to be a key enabler for promoting the adoption of cross-border payments. Above all, it makes it possible for financial institutions everywhere to communicate with one another. As a result, service providers will be able to replicate domestic real-time payouts on a global scale. In the end, they would usher in a new era for electronic cross-border payments.

Indeed, the world is promptly moving toward digital transactions, making enterprises and consumers less dependent on cash and checks. Furthermore, Fintech firms invest heavily in real-time technology, easing the transition from traditional e-commerce to digital, real-time payments.

Unfortunately, the current procedures for sending money abroad is still convoluted and inconsistent. Businesses and individuals who send money abroad frequently experience unpredictable costs and aggravating delays. The process can be slowed down by factors like numerous parties, risks, currencies, laws, and systems. The unfortunate outcome is that global trade moves slowly. A new system is required to meet the requirements of the present and future global economies.

Cross Border Payments should be Real-time

Cross-border payments have undergone a significant transformation because of the introduction of real-time domestic payments and round-the-clock central bank settlement. Using new technology, widespread standards, and improved service level agreements, the industry is rethinking how rapidly cross-border payments can be delivered.

As more banks switch from batch to real-time processing, transaction speeds will continue to rise. Banks will have to start processing their payments in this way to avoid falling behind because customers are demanding faster payments and more markets are moving to real-time.

Moving to real-time will become more and more crucial. This is so that banks will have a better understanding of how quickly their correspondents process transactions because of increased payment transparency. Banks will either be forced to speed up by their customers, or they will move their business to correspondents with quicker processing capabilities. Real-time processing is forcing banks to increase interbank processing hours as well, which are now 24/7. a trend that is quickly taking over.

The requirement for a two-pronged approach

A two-sided solution is required for cross-border payments. The only alternative is to continue using legacy systems if the required technology is not yet operational in the recipient nation. This is expensive for the sender, the recipient, as well as the entire world economy. This lag slows down the entire flow of global trade, influencing both businesses and the final consumer along the way. We are aware that the need is for a system that enables users to instantly send money to anyone, anywhere in the world while doing so through a convenient, secure, and safe ecosystem.

As consumer habits change, so too are customer expectations. Both individuals and businesses have grown accustomed to the simplicity and convenience of being able to complete a variety of financial transactions with the touch of a button while keeping an entire financial ecosystem in their hands. They are therefore entirely within their rights to ask for the same capabilities for international remittances.

The potential use of digital currencies in international transactions

Digital currencies are drastically changing the payments landscape. Money that a central bank, such as the Bank of England, can create is known as central bank digital currency (CBDC). Because it isn’t actual money like notes and coins, it is referred to as digital (or electronic) money. It appears on a computer or other similar device as an amount.

Since cryptocurrencies and stablecoins promise instantaneous value transfers across boundaries and jurisdictions, disintermediating banks and disabling regulators, the private sector has taken the lead in this movement thus far.

So how might digital currencies help to alleviate the current problems with international payments? There is a claim that a stablecoin or CBDC-based system could potentially reduce the costs, time, and complexity involved in the process by lowering the number of parties required to settle payments.

Cross-border payments have a lot of room for improvement, which would enable banks to transact more quickly, affordably, and transparently. Instant payments are one advantage. Currently, it may take several days for a merchant to receive a credit card payment. However, that process can be made instantaneous with digital currency.

Other advantages include not having to carry physical cash, lowering the risk of counterfeit payments, and enabling contactless payments, which is especially appealing considering the current global pandemic. By eliminating middlemen, this strategy could greatly improve the system’s efficiency and transparency.

CBDCs deliver 24/7 central bank money, which will become beneficial for the participants in cross-border payments because digital currencies are available around the clock.

But the fact that the systems needed to settle cross-border payments are not available 24 hours a day is the main problem. In other words, if the real-time gross settlement system isn’t active while we’re making a payment to another nation, we can’t complete that final settlement.

Whether Digital Currencies is good enough to overcome all the challenges in Cross Border payments?

According to a new paper from the European Central Bank, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) may be the solution to the years old quest for the pinnacle of international payments.

However, when it comes to cross-border payments, CBDCs are not a magic bullet. The availability of the central bank is only one piece of the puzzle because there are many parties involved in a payment chain. “The beneficiary must also be on the same bank”. The problem is not resolved if the end beneficiary bank is operating normally but the central bank is not. Digital currencies may therefore have the potential to enhance cross-border payments, but they might not be able to address all the present issues.

Along the way, there are still a few more challenges that may need to be overcome. Stablecoins may eventually be able to be used internationally for cross-border payments, reducing remittance challenges, and enhancing the speed and fluidity of cross-border payments, but this is not yet the case.

Most cross-border payments will eventually be made in digital currencies. However, there is currently a knowledge, platform, and skill gap, as well as a lack of understanding of how to exchange and convert digital currencies when making cross-border payments.

No one disputes that the current cross-border payments system has issues, but the emergence of unregulated private sector digital currency solutions poses serious risks to the stability of the financial system. A new problem faces policymakers. They run the risk of losing control of the system and being outcompeted by solutions created without taking mandates for financial stability into account if they are unable to modernise the cross-border payments network.

Almost all central banks are currently looking into the advantages, drawbacks, and different features of CBDCs, but with a strong emphasis on domestic requirements. So far, very few central banks have made definite design decisions. Even if only used domestically, CBDCs will have effects that cross international boundaries, so it is essential to coordinate efforts and find common ground. If properly coordinated, the blank slate provided by CBDCs could eventually be used to improve cross-border payments when combined with other advancements. The creation of an effective, competitive FX conversion layer and the addressability of accounts globally are among the difficulties. AML/CFT compliance is required to ensure STP.

None of these issues are unavoidable, and for large cross-border payment corridors with sizable volumes and enough political will, both interlinking solutions should be practicable and effective.

Final thoughts

The cross-border payments market assures us to address the urgent problems plaguing the highly connected online environment of today. Market players are looking to Fintech startups for solutions as demand for borderless e-commerce grows. They want to improve the speed, security, and transparency of cross-border B2C payments.

The puzzle of cross-border payments, which has historically restricted trading to geography, can be remedited by Macro Global’s NetRemit – Cross Border Payment Suite. NetRemit offers quicker and more affordable international transactions whitelabel platform with futureproof technology and functional stack to scale as you grow and meet your need as new innovations unboxed.

By working with banks, non-banking financial institutions, and other online platforms, NetRemit enables you to create a single hub to the entire world. By removing the obstacles to cross-border payments, NetRemit enables people to concentrate on what’s most important: helping their loved ones and expanding their businesses.

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