Press Release

India Surges Ahead as the World's Leader in Real-Time Payments – Boosting Economic Growth – ACI Worldwide Report

April 26, 2022
  • Real-time payments are forecast to boost Indian GDP by US$45.9 billion in 2026 as real-time payments transaction volumes set to exceed 206 billion, according to Cebr economic impact study
  • 118.3 billion real-time payment transactions were made globally in 2021 – a YoY growth of 64.5 percent – set to rise to 427.7 billion in 2026, according to GlobalData
  • Real-time payments are forecast to help generate additional GDP of US$173 billion by 2026, up from US$78.4 billion in 2021 – according to a Cebr economic impact study of 30 of the world's largest economies, including both industrialized and developing nations
  • Cebr study outlines wide-ranging policy recommendations to maximize the economic impact of real-time payments

MUMBAI, India--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr. 26, 2022-- India has extended its global leadership in real-time payments, hitting a staggering 48.6 billion transactions in 2021, which helped unlock $US16.4 billion of additional economic output, equivalent to 0.56 % of formal GDP, according to the third edition of Prime Time for Real Time 2022, published by ACI Worldwide, (NASDAQ: ACIW), in partnership with GlobalData , a leading, published by ACI Worldwide, (NASDAQ: ACIW), in partnership with GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

The report – tracking real-time payments volumes and growth across 53 countries – includes an economic impact study for the first time, providing a comprehensive view of the economic benefits of real-time payments for consumers, businesses and the broader economy across 30 countries. The report covers all G20 nations, excluding Russia. *

The research shows that governments that advance the real-time modernization of their national payments infrastructure create a win-win situation for all stakeholders in the payments ecosystem: consumers and businesses benefit from fast, frictionless and hyper-connected payments services, financial institutions future-proof their business in a highly competitive environment by speeding up cloud-first and data-centric modernization, and national governments boost economic growth, reduce the size of their shadow economy and create a fairer financial system for all.

India Highlights:

  • India accounted for the largest number of real-time transactions in 2021 (48.6 billion) – almost threefold that of the closest challenger China (18 billion transactions in 2021) and almost seven times greater than the combined real-time payments volume of the world's leading economies – U.S., Canada, U.K., France and Germany (7.5 billion)
  • The widespread adoption of real-time payments resulted in estimated cost savings of $US12.6 billion for Indian businesses and consumers in 2021, which helped to unlock $US16.4 billion of economic output which represents 0.56% of the country's GDP.
  • The growing acceptance of UPI-based mobile payment apps and QR code payments among merchants, combined with the increased use of digital payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, helped real-time payments secure 31.3% of total payments transaction volume in 2021.
  • With consumers increasingly shifting from cash to mobile-based real-time payments, skipping payment cards, the real-time payments' share of the total payments volume will rise to over 70% in 2026 – with net savings for businesses and consumers forecast to rise to $US92.4 billion in 2026, helping generate an additional $US45.9 billion of economic output, equivalent to 1.12% of the country's forecasted GDP.

"India is the poster child for real-time payments and a shining example of how a coordinated, collective, nationwide effort can unlock huge economic and social potential," said Ankur Saxena, Head of South Asia, ACI Worldwide. "India’s craving for cash may be plummeting, but there is still a great deal more to do. It is time to accelerate our efforts and expand this impact beyond the top tier metropolitan areas and replicate our success for the benefit of the entire country.”

“Real-time transactions and growth forecasts continue to rise globally, with emerging countries like India leading the way and outpacing developed nations. Governments around the globe that enable real-time schemes are driving economic growth and prosperity, by providing consumers and businesses with cheaper, faster and more efficient payment methods,” said Jeremy Wilmot, chief product officer, ACI Worldwide.

Wilmot added: "One of the big themes in this year's report is the cloud as the great enabler of real-time success and new, differentiated payments experiences. Within the financial services industry, we are still only scratching the surface of the cloud's potential. As other industries have already shown, and as this report confirms, it is increasingly clear that banks and financial institutions with designs on winning with payments in the real-time digital economy need to be cloud-first and data-centric."

"By allowing for the transfer of money between parties within seconds rather than days, real-time payments improve overall market efficiencies in the economy," commented Owen Good, Head of Advisory, Centre for Economic and Business Research. "Real-time payments improve liquidity in the financial system and therefore function as a catalyst for economic growth. This is especially important for our fast-paced and digital-led gig economies. Workers are paid quickly, allowing them to better plan their finances. Businesses have more flexibility and reduce the need for burdensome cashflow management."

"Developing nations continue to drive the majority of real-time volume gains, confirming the industry trend of the strongest growth coming from economies with minimal existing electronic payments infrastructure, and therefore heavier reliance on cash," said Sam Murrant, Lead Analyst, GlobalData. "Amid all this activity, mobile in its multiple forms will shape the trajectory of real-time payments for developing markets. India provides the template for mobile wallet integration with underlying real-time payment systems. Mobile will still be the leading form factor in developed markets. However, we may see banks' involvement sitting more behind wallets."

Prime Time Real Time Report 2022 -- All Global Figures-at-a-Glance

GlobalData - Real-Time Payments Growth:





Real-time transactions made globally

118.3 billion

427.7 billion

YoY growth



Five countries with the highest volume of real-time payment transactions

48.6 billion

18.5 billion

9.7 billion

8.7 billion

South Korea 7.4 billion


CAGR 2021 – 2026

Top five fastest growing real-time markets (where instant payments share of all electronic payments was 10% in 2021)






Top fastest growth of real-time transactions by regions

South & Central America

Middle East, Africa & South Asia

North America



Cebr Real-Time Economic Impact:




Aggregated net savings for consumers and businesses facilitated by real-time payments across the 30 countries observed

US$46.6 billion

US$184.0 billion

Formal GDP facilitated by real-time payments

US$78.4 billion
(equivalent to 0.10% of the combined GDP of the 30 countries)

US$173.0 billion
(equivalent to 0.19% of the combined forecasted GDP of the 30 countries)

Global number of jobs required to produce an equivalent level of output

4.9 million jobs

10.3 million jobs

India, Brazil, China, Thailand, South Korea – business and consumer level benefits

US$37.0 billion combined

US$164.6 billion combined

India, Brazil, China, Thailand, South Korea – formal GDP supported by real-time:


US$54.6 billion
(Equivalent to 0.23% of the combined GDP of the five countries, or the equivalent output of 4.2 million workers)

US$131.7 billion
(Equivalent to 0.43% of the combined forecasted GDP of the five countries, or the equivalent output of 9.0 million workers)

U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany – business and consumer level benefits

US$2.1 billion combined

US$5.5 billion combined

U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany – formal GDP supported by real-time:


7.3 billion
(Equivalent to 0.02% of the combined GDP of the five countries, or the equivalent output of 70.4 million workers)

13.9 billion
(Equivalent to 0.04% of the combined forecasted GDP of the five countries, or the equivalent output of 118.9 million workers)

GlobalData - Consumer Payments Modernization:



Over half of consumers worldwide now own and use a mobile wallet:

52.7 1%

up 12.1% in the two years since 2019 (Covid-19 impact), and up 33.8% since 2018

GlobalData - Fraud Trends




Cases of card details being stolen online are falling – 2021 saw a slight decrease in cases



Cases of card details being stolen or skimmed in person are also falling – 2021 saw a decrease in cases



Digital wallet account hacks, identity theft and social engineering cases are rising. Percentage of total fraud cases:



Digital wallet account hacks



Identity theft



Social engineering



Note to editors: In the absence of a robust data set, Russia has not been included in the Cebr Economic Impact Study.

About ACI Worldwide

ACI Worldwide is a global leader in mission-critical, real-time payments software. Our proven, secure and scalable software solutions enable leading corporations, fintechs and financial disruptors to process and manage digital payments, power omni-commerce payments, present and process bill payments, and manage fraud and risk. We combine our global footprint with a local presence to drive the real-time digital transformation of payments and commerce.

© Copyright ACI Worldwide, Inc. 2022

ACI, ACI Worldwide, ACI Payments, Inc., ACI Pay, Speedpay and all ACI product/solution names are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACI Worldwide, Inc., or one of its subsidiaries, in the United States, other countries or both. Other parties’ trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners.

Nidhi Alberti

Katrin Boettger
Europe, Middle East, Africa

Gary Hamilton-Walker
Asia Pacific, South Asia

Source: ACI Worldwide

Investor Contacts

John Kraft, Head of Strategy & Finance

Global Headquarters:
ACI Worldwide
2811 Ponce de Leon Blvd, PH1
Coral Gables, FL 33134