ACI’s 2022 Commerce Innovation Hotlist


Retailers are bouncing back after two years of frenetic change. In the PYMNTS eBook, “Endemic Economics: 32 Payments Execs on the ‘Next Normal’ That Never Happened,” Basant Singh, senior VP and global head, product strategy and growth – payments and fraud at ACI argues that it’s time for them to do a platform reset and adopt future-proof solutions that will enable them to rise to whatever challenges lie ahead.


Accelerated and continuous change dominated the retail landscape in 2020-21. Finding new ways to cope with shifting restrictions, behaviors and trends left many retailers frazzled and investment pots drained. As they bounce back, it’s clear that a platform reset is required — what they really want are future-proof commerce tools that support retail evolution faster and with much less effort and cost. Here are five innovations that hit the mark in 2021 and that are due a reset for 2022.

Advanced Payments analytics — the new secret sauce for survival. 

During the pandemic, data helped businesses think and act faster — and with less risk — as they adapted channels, switched product lines and reconnected supply chains. In 2022, richer, deeper, omnichannel payment analytics will continue to be a powerful differentiator for merchants looking to smash revenue and growth targets. We will see smarter payment analytics solutions that go beyond operational efficiency and hypertargeted selling to facilitate better acceptance rates and optimize multi-acquirer strategies.

QR codes and wallets stepping into the spotlight.

Overlooked for years, QR codes re-emerged as the savior of notouch and hybrid services. Users were encouraged to scan, search, order and buy using their mobiles.

This also contributed to accelerated adoption and use of mobile wallets. While a hit for consumers, this created a new integration headache for merchants struggling to cope with the hundreds of different wallets available. To ease the burden, merchants will aim for oneshot integration tools that let them accept multiple wallets globally, with all capability and features accessed through QR codes in store.

No longer alternative, BNPL has become a global movement.

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) has seen meteoric growth thanks to the eCommerce boom and economic recession. It has driven huge competition with local pay later heroes competing with big brands for finance-savvy, unbanked and credit-shy consumers. With merchants now looking at multiple BNPL offerings, there is a real danger of button fatigue at the checkout. Expect to see new centralized pay later platforms emerge that offer access to multiple BNPL plans from a single user interface. As well as making life easier for consumers, these will offer simpler integration, a single contract and higher acceptance for the merchant

Crypto goes from hype-cycle to Gen Z growth catalyst.

From currency crashes and rebirths to decentralized blockchain and non-fungible tokens, crypto is reshaping attitudes to investment, copyrighting and transactions. Future forecasts indicate rapid growth with a high proportion of Gen Z expecting to see crypto at checkouts. We believe that this will make it an important payment priority for businesses looking to lock in younger consumers. Finding ways to process cryptocurrency payments with zero fees will be key to making crypto a viable payment method at the checkout in the year ahead.

Real-time payments will become a cornerstone for merchants.

Given the levels of disruption to sales and supply chains, maintaining cashflow is make or break for merchants. Realtime payments (RTP) is helping to reduce payment friction and bottlenecks, speeding settlement and maintaining merchant liquidity. We anticipate further migration to RTP, online and through apps, paving the way for contextualized and embedded commerce, where instant acceptance is key.