COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of global trade and commerce. As the key enabling factor in digital trade, digital payments are an increasingly important driver in global economic growth. A number of challenges still exist for enabling efficient and secure digital payments for trade and commerce. Major challenges include: 1) frictions associated with digital payment as a result of lacking global standards and interoperability, varying regulatory requirements of individual countries and digital protectionism; 2) the need to expand access to and improve digital payments infrastructure for the estimated 1.7 billion unbanked adults globally; and 3) the need to bridge the gap between laws and regulations and advancements in payment technology.
While significant, these challenges also provide a tremendous opportunity for the public and private sectors to work together on solutions that can expand access, promote economic growth, reduce cross-border friction, and ensure that digital payments are safe and secure. The Digital Trade Team is working to develop a suite of innovative policy and regulatory approaches on digital payments in the 4IR era. The goal is to develop and pilot approaches that will assist regulators and decision-makers to add key governance issues to facilitate the development of inclusive and efficient digital payments systems, ensure the safety and reliability of payments, improve the interoperability of bank and non-bank financial service providers, and enhance consumer trust.