Flavours Of Fast

Welcome from Raja

Our annual Flavors of Fast report was originally inspired in 2014 to capture the early but remarkable influences we saw faster payment schemes making around the world. At that time, there were only 14 schemes. This year, 40 faster payments schemes were live at the time of report publication.

Our 2018 findings also indicate steady usage and adoption in existing schemes. We’ve started to see some earlier adopters of faster payments explore how to modernize existing systems, to encourage continued innovation and accommodate global messaging standards like ISO 20022 that will further enhance interoperability.

Last year, we challenged Flavors of Fast readers to look the beyond the business case for whether, or how to invest in or find value in faster payments, and towards the future value and relevance the rails could facilitate for all involved in the payments ecosystem. We predict that 2018 marks the start of this next phase of innovations that will further expand our collective ideas about what is possible on the real-time rails.

We look forward to continuing our role as a fintech leader dedicated to helping every one of our clients embrace all that faster payments can offer, and hope you’ll enjoy reading our 2018 Flavors of Fast report.

Raja Gopalakrishnan
GFS, Payments

Our Definition of Fast

Flavors of Fast uses the following criterion to define a “faster payment”: “Inter-bank fully electronic payment systems in which irrevocable funds are transferred from one bank account to another, and where confirmation back to the originator and receiver of the payment is available in one minute or less.”

We intentionally exclude several long-established payment mechanisms including any card-based transaction, niche real-time global settlement (RTGS) systems and any payment system that includes paper origination. We have also consciously excluded cryptocurrencies from this research.



Faster payments are no longer a differentiator. The real determinant of innovation lies in what can be done on the rails once they’re built.

Whether the overlay facilitates the instant exchange of funds between a motorbike driver and a passenger, immediate loan approval and funding for a customer, or enhances speed and cash management visibility for corporate treasury, overlay services and open APIs are expanding the use cases, and perceptions of what needs, challenges and voids real-time rails can help to solve.


Overlays Fuel Innovation

Faster payment schemes in China, India and elsewhere in Asia are proving that QR codes used as an overlay to facilitate payments can add value when approached with a mobile-first mindset. In China, market leaders Alipay and WeChat both use QR code vouchers to add loyalty elements to their mobile wallet offerings, and have integrated instant payment mechanisms into their fabric.

Other emerging use cases around the world include:


As sales models and supply chain models have evolved, corporates are looking for use cases of real-time payment instruments. ‘Delivery against payment’ mechanisms are ideally suited for real- time settlement, while other early adopter use cases have centered around improving customer experience.


In the insurance industry, for example, claims payments can now notify customers that funds are credited on their account seconds after a claim is approved. These cases, however, require both a real- time payment instrument and real-time e-banking channel, such as a payment initiation API at the bank.


Financial services is undergoing the type of disruption that we’ve seen across industries like hospitality, but banks are not put in a position to have to react or be surprised; they’re in the midst of it. Each bank won’t be equally successful in navigating this disruption, but we are probably going to be in a financial services world that is extremely different from today—in just a few years.

- Rene Schuurman

Global Product Manager Channel Services, Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions

In an exclusive interview with FIS featured in the 2018 Flavors of Fast report, Rene Schuurman, Global Product Manager Channel Services, Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions explains his organization’s experience partnering with FIS to leverage CitiConnect® application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect FIS’ Trax corporate payment factory solutions to enhance corporate treasury capabilities for its clients.

While Schuurman predicts there will be a quick and aggressive adoption of API capabilities in the near future, he explains just how far-reaching a shift to real-time can be on traditionally batch-oriented corporate treasury processes.

“Adopting instant payment schemes will expose the treasury organization much more directly to the core of the underlying business and processes of any enterprise, than previously has been the norm. The treasury organization needs to adapt, reinvent itself and find ways to control and manage these particular challenges,” says Shuurman.

Read the full interview with Shuurman, including his expert advice for other financial institutions who aren’t yet using APIs or faster payments, on page 23 of the full report.


From new schemes to innovations that are reinventing what’s possible on the real-time rails, there’s far more to the faster payments conversation than we can address in one website.

Download the full report to:

Read exclusive interviews with faster payments insiders.
See a detailed analysis of each faster payments offering around the world
Learn how each region ranked on our revised Faster Payments Innovation Index in 2018
Get Full Report