22 January 2020

Just 20 years into the 21st Century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We’ve come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organisation.

Prediction 11

Payments will become global, through an international payments infrastructure that is harmonised and simplified. This will build on the work already done.

In recent years, payments have become increasingly digitised and cross-border payments have begun to flow more freely. But despite the widespread adoption of ISO 20022, which defines message standards in financial services, true data standardisation in payments has not yet occurred and the market remains fragmented. This inhibits the cooperation and innovation needed at a global level to facilitate the real-time frictionless global transactions which, in a hyper-connected world, is so highly demanded.

This will change over the next two decades as the global payments infrastructure is finally standardised. Market fragmentation will ease, enabling companies to fully leverage the potential of global payments.

Non-traditional fintech players, which have already disrupted the market in many ways, will find new ways to continue to do so, this time on a global level. This will bring about better collaboration on a global scale – and business-to-consumer global trade will become more open, faster and increasingly democratised.

Trends in global payments


As more countries activate real-time payments systems, global standardisation will ensure they can be extended internationally. A system of global real-time payments also has the potential to take globalisation to the next level. Seamless trading will open and expand markets for many businesses, drive increased global trade and enable more consumer choice.

There will be substantial competition in the payments sphere, with new players – from the small firms to the bigger tech companies – entering into the market and leveraging technologies such as blockchain to provide faster and cheaper global payments. This will make banks rethink the services which they offer and impact their operational model.

As this infrastructure develops, the digitisation of payments will lead to citizens across the world acquiring a digital ID based on their biometric data. Today’s inconsistent approach will diminish, as nation states and payment providers work together to establish internationally agreed digital identity standards, increasingly leveraging biometrics including facial recognition, fingerprints and implants.

Curious to find out what else could happen between now and 2040? Read our other predictions

KPMG does not make any statement in this article as to whether any forecasts or projections included in this article will be achieved, or whether the assumptions and data underlying any prospective economic forecasts or projections are accurate, complete or reasonable. KPMG does not warrant or guarantee the achievement of any such forecasts or projections. Any economic projections or forecasts in this report rely on economic inputs that are subject to unavoidable statistical variation. They also rely on economic parameters that are subject to unavoidable statistical variation. While all care has been taken to account for statistical variation, care should be taken whenever considering or using this information. There will usually be differences between forecast or projected and actual results, because events and circumstances frequently do not occur as expected or predicted, and those differences may be material. Any estimates or projections will only take into account information available to KPMG up to the date of this report and so findings may be affected by new information. Events may have occurred since this article was prepared, which may impact on it and its findings.

The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity.

To the extent permissible by law, KPMG and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information (including for reasons of negligence, negligent misstatement or otherwise).