Methodology & glossary

Using a global sample of 30 markets, ACI and GlobalData present the developmental state of the market based on the various dynamics at play in each country.

We’ve identified the total transactional size of IP per country in 2019, and provided our forecast for 2024, as well as the future five-year CAGR.

We’ve detailed share of volume for IP – both transactional and dollar – as well as other statistics contributing to IP adoption. Each country profile includes details about the scheme(s) in place and a timeline for IP development in market. Finally, we’ve provided analysis and insight into what all the presented factors mean for each of the countries profiled.

Though this is not an exhaustive list of all markets with IP in place, we aimed to cover the broadest and most diverse markets currently operating. Our goal is for any reader of this paper to identify overlapping trends in their own market, which will empower them to make decisions around if and when they should invest in offering IP.

Throughout this report, we use a range of industry terms, abbreviations and acronyms. Please see our glossary below for a comprehensive list of key terms.

Glossary of terms

Immediate payments

Immediate payments (IP), also known as instant payments, faster payments and real-time payments.

Key features include:

  • Immediate availability of funds to the beneficiary of the transaction
  • Irrevocability: once a payment has been made, the sender cannot deauthorize the transfer
  • Confirmation of funds via real-time balance. Once a payment is authorized, the sender’s account balance reflects the deduction instantaneously
  • While settlement timing may vary by scheme, it is often completed within a matter of seconds
  • Newer IP systems are often based on ISO 20022, the de facto real-time standard

Digital overlay services

Digital overlay services have appeared in global markets, particularly where we see high levels of real-time payments adoption.

These ancillary services often ride the real-time payments rails, and are flexible, nimble drivers of innovation. They enable many kinds of alternative payment methods.

The front-end touchpoint for consumers, merchants or corporate customers is a digital overlay service, as it’s about connecting IP to a purchasing experience, billing scenario or accounts payable process. Google Pay, WhatsApp Pay, Amazon Pay, Paytm and Walmart PhonePe are all examples of real-life overlay services.


Request for Payment/Request to Pay can be both a digital overlay service used by an end user to request or make a payment, as well as the core functionality of a central infrastructure (CI) – usually a real-time payments CI – that provides the RfP transaction flows and rules to play in the RfP network.

RfP has use cases across P2P, M2C and B2B scenarios, where IP needs to be integrated into a seamless workflow or interaction.

Central/national infrastructure

A centralized system for a payments network, including for IP. Referred to as a scheme, system or platform depending on locale. Providing a framework and/or rulebook for payments messaging and processing as well as digital overlay services.

From a CI point of view, RfP is either a capability within the IP CI itself or a closely related offering by the same CI provider. In some markets the CI has powers to fine participants for missed SLAs, to set variable fees for participants, and to mandate centralized fraud reporting.


CSM Clearing and Settlement Mechanisms
CI Central Infrastructure
SCT Inst SEPA Instant Credit Transfer
TIPS TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS), pan-European single currency instant payments system launched by the European Central Bank (ECB)
RT1 Pan-European single currency instant payments system launched by EBA Clearing
USSD Unstructured Supplementary Service Data
EFT Electronic Funds Transfer

Payment dynamics

P2P Person to Person or Peer to Peer
G2C Government to Consumer
B2C Business to Consumer
C2B Consumer to Business
C2G Consumer to Government
B2B Business to Business
B2G Business to Government
G2B Government to Business
C2M Consumer to Merchant
M2C Merchant to Consumer