October 20, 2023
Balancing macroeconomic uncertainty and high expectations for growth is no easy feat.
In recent years, corporates and financial institutions worldwide have faced various headwinds including supply chain bottlenecks, increasingly complex global regulatory environments and liquidity challenges. Forecasts from the World Economic Outlook indicating growth slowdownsfootnote link1 have led many corporates and financial institutions to prioritize protecting core treasury functions.
Maintaining capital discipline, building supply chain resiliency and optimizing working capital will continue to take priority for treasurers worldwide.
And underpinning each of these key focus areas is a vast network of payment connections that, if leveraged strategically, can unlock opportunities for businesses. Whether treasurers are looking to leverage idle cash more effectively, free up liquidity or fund merger and acquisition activity with internal financing, payments aren’t as straightforward as swiping a card at a point of sale; they’re valuable connections that impact businesses and consumers in unexpected ways.
It’s time to think of payments as bigger than one-off consumer transactions, because payments do more than you think.
To better understand modern payment capabilities, corporates and financial institutions need to connect the dots between payments and their impact.
Interconnected networks behind the scenes to do more than accept, process and send payments, like:
Global Head of Payments, J.P. Morgan
Businesses benefit from end-to-end payment platforms that help improve global visibility, release liquidity and discover new opportunities.
Simplify complexity and help decrease costs by centralizing payments through global accessibility, interoperability, strategic automation and regulatory expertise.
Make smarter decisions
Data visibility, transparency and control across the entire ecosystem of payments help empower corporates and financial institutions to make faster, more informed decisions.
While tactical payment methods may vary across regions, the global language of payments connects corporates and fintechs around the world.
Whether they’re contained to one country or expanding across time zones, businesses must understand the impact of payments regionally to effectively scale while meeting the expectations of their new and existing markets.
Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is a diverse region encompassing a variety of cultures, business environments and consumer preferences.
Depending on location, customers may prefer traditional payments or innovative methods like digital money, real time payments and e-payments. Businesses looking to thrive in EMEA must not only adapt to these variables, they must navigate increasingly complex regulatory structures and an inherently multi-currency market.
Beyond its own borders, EMEA acts as a cross-corridor lynchpin, connecting the dots between Asia-Pacific and the Americas to enable businesses to manage payment flows effectively. For example, multinational corporations managing payment accounts across the world can leverage multicurrency notional pooling in EMEA to help centralize liquidity, reduce risk and minimize transaction costs.
In EMEA, the ultimate goal for corporates and financial institutions alike is global money movement. To achieve this goal, they’ll need to balance regulatory nuance and innovative new ways to pay, including a growing emphasis on platform economies.
By 2025, non-cash transactions are expected to grow 13% YOY.footnote link2
In 2023, 85% of MENA region consumers state that they have used at least one emerging payment option.footnote link3
81% of corporates said using online cross-border payments has helped their business grow.footnote link4
25.5% of e-commerce in Europe is cross-border.footnote link5
Accepting and processing payments in multiple currencies sends a message that your business is ready to reach markets around the world.
But simplifying cross-currency payments and managing foreign exchange (FX) considerations can do more than convert currencies: it can open up new streams of revenue.
A centralized view of all transaction activity, for example, can help businesses see transactions in real-time to more accurately manage cash.
This means businesses can better understand what funds are available to them in real time and deploy those funds strategically for investment in new lines of business, merger and acquisition activity and more. Similarly, automatic conversion of payments from foreign currencies into a central currency can help grow revenue and minimize per-transaction costs. Simplifying account structures through multicurrency notional pooling can potentially reduce costs and may decrease the frequency of FX swaps, freeing up capital to allocate elsewhere.
Of course, expansion both in-region and across the world can also complicate global clearing and euro clearing. In an always-on, digital-first world, managing payments and trades internationally and close to home requires 24x7 clearing and extended settlement windows. By focusing on offering competitive cut-off times businesses can benefit from faster settlement and earlier processing of book transfers, while servicing clients in geographies with varying working hours across the Americas, the Middle East and Asian corridors.
In EMEA, technological advancements reflect consumer appetite for new ways to pay. For example:
• Open banking: Over 5 million people actively use open banking services in the United Kingdomfootnote link6. Analysis suggests further adoption in the future, leading to an open data sharing model and a possible GDP boost of 1.5% in the EU, UK and USfootnote link7. In the Middle East, many countries are working to enable open banking; for example, the UAE launched its Financial Infrastructure Transformation Programme with the intent of full implementation by 2026.footnote link8
One area where regulation and innovation are keeping pace together is in the realm of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
As digital currency and cashless transactions continue to comprise a growing percentage of daily transactions, countries around the world are developing CBDCs, and the EU is no exception. Payments via a digital Euro could increase security, remove dependency on non-European countries for digital transactions, and may help improve cross border payments.footnote link10
Regulation will look to align with new payment trends, including fast-moving technological developments.
Previous regulation and directives, including Payments Services Directive 1 (PSD1) and PSD2, have set the foundation for payments interactions and data management in EMEA. The latest PSD3 directive, built on the framework of PSD1 and PSD2, includes updates which encourage the adoption of open banking. Similarly, ISO 20022 has emerged as the common language and model for financial messages globally, and can help provide enriched data transfer and improve processing timesfootnote link11.
Managing Director, Co-head of Payments and Commerce Solutions EMEA
55% of EU citizens prefer paying cashlessfootnote link12
3x more mobile payments in euro area from 2019 and 2022
81% of transactions in the Euro area had a cashless option to pay in 2022
Platform economies connect the dots between digital commerce, payments and treasury to help treasurers and business leaders improve control and visibility.
Managing all of the various touchpoints across a customer or user’s journey also opens opportunities for new revenue streams and increased flexibility.
One popular example of platform economies is the ever-expanding influence of marketplaces, where Forrester anticipates two thirds of global B2C e-commerce activity will occur in 2023.footnote link13
In fact, the top 100 marketplaces globally sold over $3.25 trillion USD in goods. Of that figure, 22 of the top marketplaces are located in Europe.footnote link14 In particular, hybrid marketplaces offer great growth opportunity, where owned and third-party sales take place in the same platform seamlessly.
However, as shown above, innovation and regulation go hand in hand. As fintech firms and corporations alike develop sophisticated platforms for their target markets, payments capabilities like buy-now pay-later, embedded finance or recurring payments become enticing differentiators. But these benefits must be balanced with the inherent risks, including consumer data security.footnote link15 Doing so successfully will take payments from tactical execution to strategic lever for growth.
Regional trends in EMEA
Learn more about the top 7 trends to watch in EMEA in the latest issue of Payments Unbound.LEARN MORE
Asia Pacific (APAC) is a cradle of innovation and home to an ever-changing payments landscape.
From blockchain solutions to cloud-based payment technologies to CBDCs, consumers in the region embrace the latest evolutions in payment experiences with enthusiasm. Businesses are rising to the occasion by accepting a wide variety of payment methods, including QR code, digital wallet, contactless payments, biometrics and more. For those who successfully deliver cutting-edge payment solutions in the region, there’s near-endless opportunity.
One of the most popular methods of payment in-region is real-time payments; in fact, the world’s oldest real-time payments system was introduced in Japan in 1973.footnote link16 Now, real-time payments are projected to reach transaction volumes of over $96 billion in 2026.footnote link17 Asia Pacific remains at the forefront of real-time payments innovation, improving overall market efficiencies in the economy. Driven by mobile-first experiences and QR code payments, markets including Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and more are turning to real-time payment options.
The potential benefits of real-time payments go beyond speed:
By 2026, the number of real-time payment transactions annually are expected to grow dramatically in APAC:
To scale, real-time payments will need to evolve into real-time treasury through the use of APIs. When leveraged effectively, APIs can help treasurers do more with their payments. Early adopters of digital solutions have shared their success stories, like a leading technology and digital payments platform that embraced immediate access to funds. For example, a British-Dutch multinational employed the Insight API plugin to build a real-time treasury – gaining the company to 130 accounts in 10 days. As the paradigm shifts and the world moves towards a more digital society, solutions will move from batch processes to real-time offerings to create this future state. Clients benefit from the speed of payment, and transparency for the both payer and the beneficiary.
After years of navigating increased volatility, treasurers are prioritizing effective liquidity management strategies as they plan for future growth.
Rather than drawing down funds or seeking additional cash from outside sources (which is becoming increasingly expensive), treasurers in APAC are focusing on building real-time visibility into cash positions and unlocking liquidity for increased access and strategic deployment.
Head of APAC Liquidity and Account Solutions Specialists
To achieve these goals, treasurers in the region must overcome a complex challenge: centralizing multiple currencies while minimizing FX fees and maximizing liquidity.
Leveraging automated liquidity management solutions is a step toward this goal, as these tools help to mobilize cash across multi-currency accounts. In doing so, payment processes become more than business-as-usual and start to become a strategic method of uncovering opportunity and unlocking funds.
Virtual account management (VAM) can also help treasurers visualize their entire cash picture with detailed reporting across account balances, transactions and more.
Rather than opening physical accounts at locations across the globe for various business units and accounts payables and receivables, virtual accounts can simplify account structures worldwide. By simplifying payment flows through a virtual account structure, businesses can benefit from lower costs, reduced administrative burdens and minimized fraud risks.
The cost of borrowing funds in APAC has increased recently due to rising global interest rates, inflation and the war in Ukraine.
As a direct result, capital discipline and working capital optimization has come to the forefront of treasurer priorities. And for good reason: Efficient working capital management can help businesses weather economic uncertainty, generate additional free cash flow and invest strategically for future business growth.footnote link18
According to J.P. Morgan’s 2023 Working Capital Index, S&P 1500 companies stand to release over $633B USD in working capital.
Corporates headquartered in China can serve as a point of reference for the working capital considerations in the region; our analysis suggests that there is roughly $421B USD of potential working capital release for Chinese corporates.
Several factors contributed to this locked capital.
In general, these factors point to a need for Chinese corporates to focus on sustainable, efficient working capital strategies and balance sheet management. Notably, Chinese corporates saw a drop in the cash index in the beginning of 2023 thanks to the re-opening and subsequently increased business activities and recovering consumer confidence. At the same time, the Chinese government continues to encourage increased R&D spending in key areas including advanced technologies. More broadly, having improved access to working capital opens up opportunities for companies in China as well as the APAC region to implement growth strategies like strategic investments, proactive expansion or new business models.
What’s next for Asia-Pacific?
APAC is a must-follow space for where payments go next. Here are six telling developments.LEARN MORE
In post-pandemic LATAM, consumer activity is changing rapidly, shifting towards a digital-first business model similar to that found in China and Southeast Asia.
Innovation is moving quickly, with financial capabilities like Brazil’s open banking and open finance leading the charge. These dramatic changes are inspiring smaller regional players to work with larger partners to position themselves optimally.
Within the region, e-commerce adoption is growing quickly. In Mexico, for example, less than 10% of retail sales came from online channels before 2020, a number that has jumped to 74% in a post-pandemic marketfootnote link19. With new channels come new methods of payment, and businesses looking to thrive in LATAM must prioritize convenience and connection while keeping pace with fast-developing technology.
Real-time payments aren’t new to Latin America; in fact, Brazil’s first instant payments launched in 2002 and the country rolled out incremental improvements in the following decades.
Adoption statistics reflect this investment: In 2022, Brazil’s real time payment rails processed over 16% of payments in the country, a number that’s expected to grow to over 40% by 2027.footnote link20
Brazil isn’t the only player in the real-time market. By 2026, Mexico is expected to double the daily volume of real-time transactions, and Peru will see a CAGR of 57% in the same timeframe.footnote link21
The impact of real-time payments on treasury functions is massive, requiring greater visibility into day to day treasury functions.
Using APIs to enable real-time treasury is crucial, allowing treasurers to access cash positions, reduce risk while forecasting, and make more informed business decisions. Treasurers may also benefit from faster collections, paperless transactions, enhanced inventory management and increased interest earnings associated with real-time payments.footnote link22
of treasurers believe that their strategic influence will grow in the next year.footnote link23
By prioritizing real-time treasury, treasurers in the region shift to become a trusted advisor and strategic influence within corporates and fintechs, guiding business decisions beyond treasury and broadening their impact.
Regional expansion, both by multinationals looking to enter the LATAM market and by businesses headquartered in region looking to establish presence elsewhere, requires a deep understanding of local currency controls, politics and cultures.
For companies based in Latin America, capturing additional market share may require alternative, complementary payment methods that can supplement existing e-commerce capabilities. For multinationals, a local treasury unit can help facilitate payments in and out more effectively.
But for both, efficient cross-country and cross-currency payments are key, spanning across traditional payment rails, digital wallets, online payments and more.
Companies looking to expand their reach will need to consider both the increasingly digital-first expectations of their target audiences and the complexities of accepting a variety of currencies. But those that successfully strike a balance stand to benefit. Optimizing cross currency payments can help improve affordability associated with optimizing foreign exchange rates and reducing per-transaction costs. It can also provide customers with more options and opportunities for payments, which can lead to long-term revenue growth.
Broadband expansion and smartphone adoption in LATAM have paved the way for increased connectivity across the Internet of Things (IOT).
IoT connections are expected to double by 2025 to 1.3 billion, driven by enterprise demand for smart factories and smart building solutions.footnote link24 This expansion is expected to increase productivity through real-time monitoring and automated manufacturing capabilities.
From a payments perspective, this explosion of new technologies requires businesses to think through new touchpoints in the payment journey. For example, in healthcare an ecosystem approach may be the most effective, connecting payments across multiple points of care including pre-appointment, post-appointment, and during new forms of care like telehealth. Simplifying and streamlining these experiences can lead to increased loyalty and long-term increase in customer lifetime value.
Four trends to watch in Latin America
Explore the four trends that reveal the region’s vitality in the e-book, Building Value in Latin America.LEARN MORE
Regardless of unpredictability across the global economy, one thing is for certain: Payments will need to shift from tactic to strategy for treasurers to see the maximum possible benefit.
From actionable data insights and seamless global money movement to liquidity management and risk mitigation, an effective payments strategy does more for your business, your customers and your future.
2023 JPMorgan Chase & Co. Member FDIC. Deposits held in non-U.S. branches are not FDIC insured. All rights reserved. The statements herein are confidential and proprietary and not intended to be legally binding. Not all products and services are available in all geographical areas. Visit jpmorgan.com/disclosures/payments for further disclosures and disclaimers related to this content.