As disruption from technology, changing customer expectations and new market entrants upend traditional business models, corporate treasurers have a prime opportunity to elevate their role in the business. 

Driving this change is a “revolution” in payments. Once a pain point for businesses and consumers, the most innovative companies are putting the user experience at the heart of their business models and, in the process, making payments invisible. 

In addition to seamless payments, digital payments are expected to multiply eightfold to $78 billion in transactions annually by 2022 (source).1 As expectations of seamless, frictionless payment and consumer experiences grow, businesses will have to change.

For instance, the car, that was a simple product sold or leased through dealers, is becoming a new revenue channel, one that can launch ride-sharing services, connect to digital marketplaces and commercialize its data.

As businesses embark on this journey, corporate treasurers have the chance to use the masses of fresh data generated by increased connectivity with customers to elevate their role in strategic decision making.

Here are the five factors driving the payments revolution

By 2030, it is estimated that there will be 130 billion connected devices worldwide – refrigerators that restock themselves, cars that pay for gas and tolls – that will automatically generate payments, creating an explosion of entry points into a business and generating masses of new customer and payment data.2

Treasurers not only need to ensure they are wired into this new world, but also ensure data is organized and transparent. This could be a Herculean task. Inefficiencies in payments such as poor visibility into cross-border payments and challenges of reconciliation cannot persist in a future where digital payments are the norm. Businesses will be forced to adopt true straight-through-processing and reconciliation to accommodate this explosion of payment volumes and data overload or risk falling behind competitors.

Information is power and access to new data has the potential to transform the role of treasury. Armed with the right technology, the digital economy will give treasurers greater visibility of their cash and liquidity. In turn, this will allow treasury to play a bigger role in shaping business strategy because the efficient use of capital is critical as companies seek to tap into new markets.

From ride-hailing services to retail, technology is transforming practically every industry. A recent global survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that 76% of treasurers believe their sector is being disrupted.

Digital technology is at the heart of the disruption. Global digital commerce is expected to exceed $6 trillion by 2022, more than doubling since 2017. Mobile commerce – through in-app payments and mobile browser payments – is driving this growth, increasing to 70% of digital commerce by 2022 and tripling to $4.6 trillion.3

Businesses are increasing investment in innovative use cases to provide fully connected and integrated experiences for customers. As these innovations are discussed, treasurers need to have a seat at the table so payments can become part of the frictionless experience.

Importantly, digitization needs to happen from end-to-end across the business. Innovative new user experiences can only happen when the front-end and supporting infrastructure are digitized to the same degree.


Mobile commerce up by 2022




Growth in digital payments is a global trend but the payments landscape is fragmented with each country adopting digital payments with varying enthusiasm. By far the biggest adopters of digital payments are the emerging markets with non-cash transactions expected to grow by an average of 22% every year in emerging markets, double the rate in developed markets.4 Asia-Pacific leads the pack, accounting for two-thirds of global transactions.5

With sources of global growth shifting, treasury needs to be proactive and work with the business to understand new market opportunities.

The challenges for treasury are amplified where new and emerging markets are involved; there are the challenges of managing payments, liquidity and currency. To succeed, treasurers will need great data and analytics; be flexible and agile in their business infrastructure and harness the power of technology, using application program interfaces (APIs) and flexible account structures. Without treasury’s full collaboration, the business will find it hard to tap into growth opportunities in new markets.

Non-cash transactions expected to grow


every year

Because the payments landscape is fragmented, succeeding locally in new markets can be challenging. Overall there are more than 300 different ways to pay around the world with each country having its own favorite method: e-wallets, cards or cash. In China, WeChat and AliPay dominate, while Dutch consumers favor iDeal and Americans prefer debit and credit cards.

This presents treasurers with several issues. They need to enable these payment methods, ideally without having to manage each individual payment method separately. At the same time, they need a clear view of the information from these new payment methods and the ability to reconcile and organize them into a familiar format for customers and their business.

In an age where consumers can usually customize their experience and choose their preferred payment method, the business-to-business community has much to learn. As the wholesale experience converges with the consumer experience, businesses will also face the challenge of having to enable payment methods that traditionally have been consumer-oriented.

Treasury needs to be able connect to all different payment methods. Amid this complexity, it needs to keep things organized and simple, while staying nimble and being ready to adapt as technology and payment preferences evolve.

Depending on where a business is looking to operate, treasury should understand the nuances and implications of these payment variations as they will affect its real-time view and control of account balances.

Enabling new ways to pay

A recent 2019 joint-study by Nielsen and Alipay showed that nearly 60% of businesses surveyed across 54 countries experienced an increase in foot traffic and sales after adopting Alipay because Chinese consumers could use their preferred local method of payment to make purchases abroad.


different ways to pay around the world

By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be Millennial or Gen-Z, the first generations to have grown up as digital natives.6 Their ease with technology as retail consumers is a catalyst for change in the business world, demanding greater focus on the user experience. People who have grown up with digital are more open to different business models – the gig economy, for example. They expect simplicity, flexibility and transparency.

There remains a gap between the digital and real-time nature of the retail experience and the operational reality of treasury. Fragmentation, manual and slow movement of funds and batch processes remain major sources of inefficiency. Moreover, emerging markets, home to the highest numbers of Millennials and Gen-Zs, are where the shift to digital payments has been most dramatic, making the gap between the retail and business experience even more pronounced.

With 70% of Millennials now making business-to-business decisions, future-ready strategies need to be built around digital, straight-through processing and reconciliation which is seamless and real-time.7

By 2025


of global workforce will be Millennial or Gen-Z

How to Adapt to New Payment Trends

The payments revolution is part of a business’ journey of transformation, and companies will adapt their models, perhaps several times along the way.

With this transformation, corporate treasury has an unique opportunity to help their businesses win in the new world order – whether it is proactively organizing for the digital economy to manage the data overflow, playing a central role in developing the connectivity to make payments seamless, or creating the organizational flexibility and agility required to turn international expansion plans into a success story.

As an industry leader who not only understands the challenges of making this journey but also actively invests in innovation and the capabilities to help treasurers and businesses win in this new world order, J.P. Morgan is committed to meeting your end-to-end needs, supporting you every step of the way.

To learn more about how we can support your business, please contact your J.P. Morgan representative. 

Interested in learning more?

Read on to learn how Corporates are making digitalization a strategic priority


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