Real-time payments transaction volumes in Asia Pacific are forecast to grow from 49.2 billion in 2022 to 96.2 billion by 2027. This represents a CAGR of 14.1%.

Globally, 195 billion RTP transactions were made in 2022, representing year-on-year growth of 63.2%. The research is revealed in the 2023 Prime Time for Real-Time report published by ACI Worldwide in partnership with GlobalData, publishers of EPI.

Advanced, user-friendly services and features such as QR-code payments and mobile-native experiences are driving RTP adoption among consumers in APAC. Indeed, eight out of the top 10 countries in mobile wallet adoption are based in the APAC region

Support from governments or central banks and their investment in modern infrastructure is key to RTP adoption in the region.

APAC leads the way in cross-border payments initiatives. This includes live RTP integrations among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. ACI has supported customers across the region to deliver RTP services. The latest milestone is the launch of cross-border QR code payments between Indonesia and Malaysia in May 2023.

Real time payments: cornerstone of modern digital economies in APAC

The increasing cross-border RTP linkages open doors to new business opportunities. Moreover, it enhances trade by facilitating faster, cheaper, transparent and inclusive cross-border payments. With the rebound in international travel, the payment linkages are expected to provide travellers greater convenience, benefiting both economies’ tourism and retail sectors.

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Real-time payments continue to be the cornerstone of modern digital economies in APAC. RTP moves money at unprecedented speed and security. This spurs trade and enhances customer experience,” said Leslie Choo, SVP, MD, APAC, ACI Worldwide.

“ACI has unrivalled experience supporting governments and banks across APAC as they roll out real-time payments. We are committed to helping our customers reap the full benefits of real-time payments.”

Real-time payments country highlights

Indonesia is the most recent major country in the region to adopt RTP. It is set for rapid RTP growth at a CAGR of 81.9% between 2022 and 2027. This makes Indonesia’s BI-FAST one of the world’s fastest-growing and most successful RTP schemes. ACI provides the ISO 20022-based, real-time central infrastructure for BI-FAST. It is, says ACI, one of the world’s largest and most modernised RTP initiatives. When fully implemented, this will incorporate 135 banks, multi-tenant aggregators, merchants and payment service providers. The initiative leverages ACI Low Value Real-Time Payments Solution.

RTP volume in Malaysia is projected to increase at a CAGR of 19.7% from 2022 to 2027. Rising consumer awareness, growing preference for mobile payments, increasing development of B2B use cases, such as Request to Pay, and the growing cross-border QR-code payment linkages forming between Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand are the drivers behind the growth. Malaysia’s DuitNow was introduced by the national payments network and central infrastructure provider PayNet. The offering runs in collaboration with ACI to establish ISO 20022 across the banking community. This creates a unified gateway and harmonises Malaysia’s payments infrastructure.

Burgeoning RTP market in Thailand

Thailand was the fourth leading country in the world in terms of volume of RTP transactions in 2022. The market recorded 13.9 billion transactions on its RTP system, PromptPay. Thailand is also projected to be the top country in APAC in consumer adoption of RTP. By 2027, every Thai citizen is expected to make an average of 43.6 real-time transactions per month. Thailand’s National ITMX has also successfully implemented real-time ISO 20022 bulk payments powered by ACI. With the efficiencies and innovations brought about by ISO 20022 adoption, the continuing decline in cash, and the development of regional linkages, Thailand’s RTP market is projected to continue its growth momentum.

Huge RTP opportunity in New Zealand

New Zealand has yet to establish a domestic RTP system. But the nation has laid out its ambition to follow the emerging trend of payments modernisation. In November 2022, Payments NZ released an RTP discussion document. This is designed to broaden the conversation regarding RTP infrastructure. In early 2023, Payments NZ embarked on delivering payment industry workshops designed to establish the foundational requirements for real-time capability. As a late adopter of the RTP central infrastructure and ecosystem, New Zealand has the advantage of learning and adopting best practices from other RTP initiatives in this region, such as Malaysia and Indonesia. ACI forecasts that 2023 will be an exciting year for New Zealand’s payments industry.