According to Chinese astrology, 2023 will be the Year of the Rabbit, closing out 2022 as the Year of the Tiger. This year certainly has been a tiger, with rising costs that have been hard to tame. Will 2023 be the year we leap forward into real-time payment experiences? To find out, I gathered insights from some of ACI’s billing and payment experts, who shared their predictions for the coming year.
“Real-time payments will become real in 2023. It’s exciting to be a part of the real-time payments revolution, and next year will be the year things really start to happen. I expect real-time payments to evolve from pilot programs to targeted use cases for billers in many industries, accelerating their cash flow with instant processing and settlement while reducing the overall cost of accepting and posting payments. Consumers and billers will both benefit from the speed with real-time payments, as our consumer research shows a rise in last-minute, urgent payments.”
Sanjay Gupta, Head of Biller Segment
“Today’s consumers expect to pay with just a few taps – whether they use the Apple Wallet NFC capability on their mobile device to tap and pay at the point of sale or to view and pay their bill within the same Apple Wallet. Speed and convenience are important. However, as faster payments become mainstream, billers need to make sure funds received or going out are moving to the right destinations. Identity management will become more critical in the coming years, especially when sending outbound payments to consumers and businesses.”
Leah Phillips, Head of Product Management – ACI Speedpay
“I think we’ll see increased adoption (at a much higher rate) of alternative payment methods, especially Apple Pay and Google Pay. Consumers are getting more familiar with using these options and are realizing the convenience of not pulling out their card, entering card information in a public setting or remembering their ACH account details. It removes the friction from the process. Alternative payment methods also provide benefits for billers beyond driving customer satisfaction – we’re also seeing fewer returns for these payment methods.”
Jasmine Vasa, Product Management Director – ACI Speedpay
“I expect to see more digitization of B2B payments. Too many B2B payments sent in the United States are still on a paper check, which not only is costly for the payer, it’s also costly to process the payment for the payee, in addition to slowing down cash flow for the receiving business. Billers that send outbound payments to other businesses will look for payment providers who can digitize their B2B payments and reduce costs for both sides of the payment.”
Arch Munshi, Product Management Director – ACI Speedpay
“I’m curious to see if there becomes a push to leverage artificial intelligence to offer a more tailored customer experience — such as using digital identities to authenticate a customer — especially since billing accounts are not top of mind and are often a point of friction to the consumer payment experience. Imagine visiting a biller’s website and, because of your location and other behind-the-scenes identity traits, the site automatically logs you in. And because you visit at the same time each month and pay the same amount, the site recommends signing up for autopay by reminding you of your history.”
Andrew Sajeski, Head of Solution Consulting – Biller
“People are still the weakest link in any defense, and social engineering remains one of the most effective attack vectors for fraudsters to infiltrate a secure environment. Phishing messages are much more sophisticated now, and are being directed at specific, targeted users, while appearing to come from company executives. Text message social engineering (or smishing) is becoming much more popular now, because people are not as security-conscious with text messaging. Many of the recent hacks of large companies were due to simple social engineering, and with improvements in messages and delivery methods fraudsters are using, this trend will only increase in 2023.”
Gene Scriven, Head of Global Information and Corporate Security
As the industry looks forward to the Fed pulling real-time payments out of the proverbial hat, savvy billers will look to understand how these new payment rails and the rich data carried on them can solve many of the billing, payment and reconciliation challenges they have today. In Chinese astrology, 2024 will be the Year of the Dragon. Will the payments industry leverage 2023’s leap into real-time payments to slay many of their billing and payments challenges in 2024?