Consumer Perception of Real-Time Payments: A Closer Look

Consumers are increasingly drawn to the immediacy and transparency that real-time payments offer in the financial landscape, as highlighted in PYMNTS news. The adoption of ISO 20022, a new global standard for secure and efficient messaging between financial institutions (FIs), is poised to further drive this trend.

Real-time payments not only promise swift transactions but also present a modern and secure payment method with immediate settlement, guaranteed access to funds, and real-time confirmation through account balance updates.

In a comprehensive report titled «ISO 20022 Implementation Highlights Real-Time Payments’ Value,» PYMNTS Intelligence delves into the evolving preferences and expectations surrounding real-time payments, drawing insights from multiple proprietary research studies involving consumers and executives.

According to findings from a study conducted jointly by PYMNTS and ACI Worldwide, consumers are integrating real-time payments into various aspects of their financial routines, including routine bill payments. Remarkably, 31% of bill-payers find real-time payments vital for tracking, reviewing, or settling monthly bills.

However, there seems to be a considerable lack of clarity among consumers when it comes to what qualifies as a real-time payment. Only 29% of consumers who claimed to have made real-time payments believed that their payments cleared instantly. Additionally, 28% of consumers reported that it took more than a day for their so-called «real-time payment» to be processed, while nearly 6% indicated it took more than a week. Specifically regarding monthly bill or subscription fee payments, just 16% believed that their real-time payments were processed instantly.

This disparity in understanding poses a significant challenge, but it also sends a clear signal to businesses to catch up or risk falling behind. Surprisingly, only 36% of executives overseeing consumer collections at large firms recognize the importance of real-time payments, signifying a slow response from key sectors in meeting consumer expectations.

A closer examination of the data reveals that while 72% of FinTech companies have already embraced real-time payments, credit unions (CUs) have been more cautious, with only 22% offering this payment method. This discrepancy underscores the potential challenges CUs may face in keeping pace with the shifting preferences of consumers.

The allure of real-time payments, with their immediacy and transparency, is undeniable for consumers. However, the lack of clarity surrounding what constitutes a real-time payment highlights the need for education and standardization in this evolving financial landscape. Businesses and financial institutions must strive to meet these changing expectations to remain relevant and competitive in the eyes of consumers.

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