The payments industry has needed to be fast on its feet to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic and the many changes it has brought over the past two years. And payments companies will have to be just as agile if not more so in 2022 as the payments market continues to rapidly evolve. 

This coming year is set to be a major inflection point for three major payment trends: regulation, card networks’ tech prowess, and the rise of super apps. Buy now, pay later providers, cryptocurrency players, and Big Tech firms have been able to move quickly and freely in the payments space in recent years. That freedom has helped them rise to power, but regulators are poised to step in this year, altering their trajectories dramatically. Meanwhile, Mastercard and Visa have spent years acquiring and developing technological capabilities so they can effectively take on smaller and more flexible fintechs, and those moves are set to pay major dividends beginning in 2022. Finally, after years of China’s payments market being dominated by super apps Alipay and WeChat Pay, several U.S. companies are taking the steps necessary to employ similar strategies, setting up a yearslong battle that will start in earnest next year.