8 Trends in Global Payments for 2022

From BNPL to payment orchestration, explore the trends that will impact payments and e-commerce in the year ahead.

Digital payments have become a critical enabler of e-commerce sales, supporting the expansion of businesses small and large to new customer segments and new global markets. 


The payments industry has secured its position as one of the leading fintech sectors in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, with e-commerce becoming indispensable to businesses and consumers, and increasingly advanced payment solutions powering everything behind the scenes.


As the payments landscape advances, having a sophisticated global payment solution is a must-have for merchants looking to improve checkout conversions, reach new consumers, and provide a frictionless experience. 


With a New Year upon us, which payment trends will dominate 2022? Keep on reading to explore the essential trends which are disrupting the payments market this year and in the near future.



Table of contents

  1. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)
  2. Mobile Wallets
  3. Payment Orchestration
  4. Cross-Border Transactions
  5. Cybersecurity
  6. Real-Time Payments
  7. MarPay Technology
  8. Embedded Payments
  9. The Future of Digital Payments
Cover graphic for article outlining trends in global payments for 2022

1. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) continues to redefine how consumers make financial decisions at checkout. By allowing the customer to spread payments over a defined period of time, BNPL provides an alternative to traditional credit card payment models. This has forced banks to develop their own BNPL products or partner with providers to maintain existing customer relationships.


It’s easy to see why BNPL is an attractive model for consumers. ​​After making an upfront payment toward the purchase, customers can settle the remainder in a predetermined number of installments, often at no charge interest. Many consumer BNPL products provide a credit decision in a matter of minutes and are easier to get approved for than “normal” credit cards or lines of credit. This contributes to a smoother checkout experience, as well as financial inclusion – by providing more manageable payment options to consumers who may be denied traditional forms of credit.


BNPL technologies have exploded during the pandemic, and they’re here to stay – BNPL transactions are expected to reach $680 billion by 2025. With inflation now on the rise, it’s likely that even more consumers will embrace paying through installments in the future.

2. Mobile Wallets

In 2022, the use of smartphone apps for payments will continue to become commonplace as the adaptation of mobile wallets continues to grow rapidly. 


The pandemic nudged consumers towards contactless payment apps which has now created a snowball effect, inspiring a wide range of mobile wallets in use across different markets in Eastern Europe, India, Africa, and Latin America.  


The shift towards mobile wallets is driven partly by merchants looking to avoid the hefty card “swipe” fees charged by major credit card companies – while also engaging younger consumers who appreciate such payment alternatives.

3. Payment Orchestration

As e-commerce grows and internationalizes, payments are becoming more complex than ever before. It’s no surprise, then, that merchants with large volumes of global transactions are on the lookout for payment services that integrate all aspects of the payment value chain to maximize efficiencies and drive improvements in revenue. The goal here is to deliver better payment outcomes with higher approval rates, lower fees, and a smoother user experience.


Payment orchestration helps to solve the complexity of global payments by connecting payment processors, payment acquirers, and multiple payment gateways to provide a “one-stop-shop” platform for enabling and optimizing payments from anywhere in the world. Real-time analytics and AI-based tools like intelligent routing help merchants to gain an overview of how payments impact their business and how the flow of payments can be enhanced.


According to MarketWatch, payment orchestration is growing at a rate of 26.7% year-over-year, with the market expected to reach nearly $2 billion by 2025. Businesses from SMEs to global merchants are seeing the impacts in the form of better checkout conversion rates, higher payment approvals, and lower fees – all of which have a direct impact on the bottom line. A number of payment orchestration services (including PayU) also offer additional tools to provide enhanced payment security while streamlining the many industry and regulatory requirements that come with handling consumer financial data.

Payment orchestration how it works graphic PayU 990x640

4. Cross-Border Transactions

Historically, transferring money from one country to another through traditional banking systems is based on expensive and time-consuming order processing and currency exchange. As with so many other trends, the pandemic has accelerated a major digital shift that has gained a strong foothold in this area.


Peer-to-peer and other digital alternatives have captured the interest of consumers looking for easier and faster transfers across borders. In a survey from December 2021, 81% of respondents said that they expect to send at least as much money abroad in 2022 as they did in 2021. 


In one example, even though overall remittances dropped in 2020, digital remittances are growing steadily. When it comes to payments, merchants are responding to the cross-border trend by looking for solutions that enable faster and more seamless global payments independent of the location of the buyer or seller. 

5. Cybersecurity

There’s no denying that consumers have become more confident about making payments online and using digital payments methods on mobile devices. On the flip side, the rise of digital payments is also inspiring cybercriminals and fraudsters to exploit this growing segment of consumers. 


With the rise of e-commerce and non-cash payments leading to a jump in cyber threats, the industry is set to concentrate its efforts on building new cybersecurity solutions. 


To address this growing issue, payment providers are investing in more advanced technologies and payment security features designed to address the most pressing threats and vulnerabilities. Examples include AI-based authentication prompts or behavioral biometrics based on consumers’ swiping, typing, or phone-holding patterns.


In a recent survey of more than 3,000 businesses and consumers across the United States, Brazil, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, India, Japan, Singapore, and Australia, security and online privacy emerged as the top two priorities for e-commerce customers – well ahead of convenience – according to Experian’s Global Insights report. This makes investments into security features even more important for payment providers and merchants who need to inspire confidence in users that their data is being adequately safeguarded.

6. Real-Time Payments

Another payments trend currently growing by leaps and bounds is real-time payments (RTP). This type of solution is usually a platform or network which consumers use to make payments. How can payments happen in real time? The idea is to complete the process of initiating, clearing, and settling the payment in a matter of seconds. 


In an ideal scenario, real-time payment networks work 24x7x365 – they’re always on and available. This means that banks looking to leverage this type of technology need to provide 24×7 backend systems. 


Another key characteristic of real-time payments is the “open-loop.” This means that payments are directly connected to personal accounts instead of relying on a prepaid balance to accelerate the process.


Real-time payments may sound futuristic, but they’re already capturing a fair share of the payments market. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has played a role in the growth of this trend as well. The total number of real-time transactions in 2020 amounted to 70.3 billion, up by 41% from 2019. The real-time share of global electronic transactions was 9.8% in 2020, and is expected to reach 17.4% by 2025.

Infographic showing global payment trends for 2022

7. MarPay Technology

Old-school loyalty schemes are now making way for new digital solutions that provide benefits for both customers and merchants. This is where MarPay comes in. The idea is to connect online stores with members of loyalty programs looking to maximize their spending power at checkout. 


Traditional loyalty programs used affiliate marketing, which is difficult to measure and navigate. Tracking used to be increasingly difficult due to advances in privacy regulations. Registering reward points slowly caused a drop in customer engagement.


New MarPay platforms, on the other hand, connect merchants directly to loyalty programs. This allows consumers to spend and earn points immediately on each purchase, buying more and paying less for an optimal experience. This also gives customers the opportunity to top up their points balance instantly after spending.


MarPay helps merchants increase the value of retail baskets (or shopping carts) and capture a greater share of customer spending. And it goes hand-in-hand with BNPL – by allowing consumers to tap into their reward point wallets. 


As we move into 2022, MarPay will continue to help merchants unlock customer spending power and offer more value at checkout.

8. Embedded Payments

To provide a great customer experience and reduce friction in digital payments, merchants (along with e-commerce platform intermediaries) are investing more into integrations with payment gateways. This is where the embedded payments trend comes in.


How does it work?  By embedding payments in the checkout journey on a universal level, merchants can deliver a user experience similar to other services used by their customers. At the same time, the solution can harness customer data to deliver personalized options at the point of purchase to reduce friction even more.


PayU’s partnership with Wix is a great example of the embedded payments trend in action. Like Shopify and others, Wix provides a software platform allowing merchants to build a professional e-commerce store within a matter of clicks. For Wix customers in select countries, PayU’s global payment platform is embedded into the checkout portal, allowing merchants in those countries to accept payments in any global market from within their Wix webshop.


Over the coming year, embedded payments are set to continue their growth at the merchant and platform level as more companies focus on building a frictionless purchase journey while minimizing payment processing costs.

The Future of Digital Payments

From interest-free installment payments to seamless loyalty point rewards at checkout, this year will see the payment industry continue to innovate in order to match the preferences of e-commerce customers across an ever-growing array of global markets.


By broadening the scope of payment options for consumers at the front end, while implementing new technology to facilitate frictionless and secure payments behind the scenes, merchants have the opportunity to grow revenues and increase margins, while delivering value for customers at every stage of the purchasing journey.


Visit our Global Payment Solutions portal to find out more about how PayU can take your global e-commerce business to the next level.