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Real-time payments are ready for exponential growth. According to the 2023 Prime Time for Real-Time report, 195.0B real-time payments transactions were recorded globally in 2022, a YoY growth of 63.2 percent. With the adoption of online banking, real-time payments are increasingly being used for day-to-day purchases in place of cash.

With a continued fraud trend from the physical to the digital, when assessing large real-time payment markets, we have seen that methods such as authorized push payment (APP) scams are reaching large numbers compared with card fraud. The numbers speak for themselves:

Brazil – Protecting financial inclusion growth

Our Prime Time for Real-Time report data shows that in 2022, Brazil was the second largest and most developed real-time payments market in the world, behind only India. Its real-time payment systems represented a 16.1 percent share of total payments volume in 2022. This is thanks to the rapid adoption of PIX, a mobile-based real-time payments scheme introduced in 2020. With all of its benefits, PIX is undoubtedly the future of payments in Brazil. But when it was launched in October 2020, Sao Paulo saw a 40 percent rise in kidnappings. The Brazilian central bank subsequently implemented a $200 transfer limit on P2P payments made overnight. However, we continue to see a surge in APP scams, also known as PIX fraud, having almost tripled from 12 percent of all fraud in Brazil in 2021 to just under one-third (28.5 percent) in 2022. Maintaining confidence in digital payments with the right fraud strategies is vital to realizing PIX’s huge potential, which will be accompanied by significant societal benefits, including continued increasing financial inclusion, economic growth and prosperity. 

Australia: Mature market with room to grow

The New Payments Platform is the national real-time payments infrastructure in Australia. Having been made available to almost 90 million customer accounts, real-time payments accounted for just 6.1 percent of the total payments volume of transactions in 2022, expected to increase to 16.3 percent by 2027. Much like our other spotlighted markets, Australia is facing an epidemic of scams: Australians lost a record $3.1 billion (Australian dollars) to scams in 2022, an 80 percent increase from 2021. According to ACI’s Prime Time for Real-Time report, scams have more than doubled from 9.4 percent of all fraud in Australia in 2021 to 21.4 percent in 2022. It is becoming critical for financial institutions in the market to have the right strategies in place to protect their reputations, losses and most importantly, consumers, from scams. 

U.S. Time to get prepared

Real-time payments are still only a small piece of the overall payments mix in the U.S., accounting for only a 1.2 percent share of the total payments volume in 2022. The growth of real-time payments will benefit from the launch of FedNow in July 2023. As of now, Regulation E states that banks must reimburse victims of “unauthorized fraud,” meaning that consumers are covered for any payment that was not authorized by themselves. But this regulation does not cover authorized payments, even under false pretences, illustrative of the regulatory gray areas. There is no reason to assume that without action, the U.S. will not follow the path to crisis levels of APP scams as seen in other markets, with APP scams almost tripling from 7.4 percent of all fraud in the U.S. in 2021 to 18.6 percent in 2022. In the wake of FedNow’s launch, the U.S. is in a prime position to learn from other markets’ real-time payments fraud journeys and implement strong fraud strategies. 

In all of these large real-time markets, APP scams have increased considerably, at least doubling from 2021 to 2022. In conjunction with this, the share of fraud attacks from card details stolen in person has decreased across the board.

As fraud detection systems have become more sophisticated, fraudsters have turned their eyes to a more vulnerable and unprotected part of the financial services chain — bank customers themselves — getting them to unknowingly unauthorize the fraudulent transaction or taking their identity and making it seem like they have authorized it. Successful fraud management should take this into account before these fraud tactics become more prominent than traditional card fraud. 

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Product Marketing Manager

Elise Thrale is a product marketing specialist on the product marketing team at ACI focused on fraud management and central infrastructures.