Research & Analysis

Starting the Transaction: Payment Initiation and Customer Experience


  • This technical note is framed to help policymakers and payment system operators understand recent trends in payment initiation and customer experience in making interoperable payments work better for low-income populations.
  • Key findings include:
    • Adoption of alias-based addressing offers an important opportunities but the trade-offs must be weighed.
      • Trends in QR standardization are improving but still vary significantly across markets. 
    • Third-party payment initiation is key to expanding instant payments but must be done with careful consideration. 
    • Fit-for-purpose design and implementation are critical to enable Request to Pay services reduce the financial literacy burden. 
  • Policymakers and system operators should balance competition and coordination—promoting a shared language for instant payments while also not limiting the private sector’s ability to stand out from peers.

Related Resources


This technical note helps explain why changes in instant payment pricing are occurring, assesses their impact on market development, and offers suggestions for the path forward.

Interoperability can make digital payments more convenient for customers and encourage competition in financial services. This technical guide is a practical resource for policy makers, providers, and others working toward interoperability in instant payments.

This technical note helps funders to understand the concept of interoperability, how instant payments systems can advance financial inclusion, and what funders can do to support their development.
Blog Series

Interoperability, the ability for systems to connect and work together, allows for e-mails that pass effortlessly around the world and trains that travel between cities no matter who laid the tracks. Yet interoperability remains largely absent from the financial services used