A new survey by Thunes and Visa has revealed conflicted attitudes among Europeans on cross-border payment interoperability, highlighting the challenges firms face in integrating across multiple markets and systems.

The survey included 233 European payment leaders from financial institutions, banks, fintechs, SaaS, money transfer operators and payment service providers in the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, and Spain. It explored the state of cross-border payment systems and their interoperability. Payment system interoperability refers to the seamless communication, information exchange, and value transfer between different payment systems.

The findings reveal that despite a majority reporting confidence in their firm’s cross-border payment capabilities, decision-makers face difficulties including lost business from a failure to integrate with popular and emergent payment methods.

The report highlights the difference between confidence and reality

While 97% of respondents believe their systems are ‘completely’ or mostly ‘compatible’ with how international recipients receive funds, nearly 40% reported losing business due to cross-border payment issues.

By 2026, 60% of the world’s population is expected to use digital wallets for daily payment needs. Despite their growing popularity, digital wallets are ranked as the most problematic endpoint for cross-border payments, with only 8% of respondents describing them as the easiest to integrate.

Chloé Mayenobe, President and Chief Operating Officer at Thunes, said: “The research paints a very mixed picture. Payment leaders are confident in their capabilities but face significant integration challenges particularly with digital wallets. At Thunes, we solve this critical gap on the immediate horizon by directly integrating with 3 billion digital wallets worldwide. Electronic wallets are becoming increasingly important, providing bank-like services and financially including those who are unbanked and underbanked. As commerce digitises further, payment interoperability will become vital.”

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Respondents cited major differences in the ease of issuing payments to different endpoints. Bank accounts were ranked as the easiest method to facilitate payments, followed by global cards (Visa), e-Wallets (like PayPal), cash and local card schemes.