As a detective solving the mystery of the crossword clue ‘Payment standards’, I first tried to think of words related to currency or payment, such as cash or check. However, none of these options seemed to fit the number of letters in the clue. Next, I considered the word ‘standard‘ and what it could mean in the context of payment. I realized that it could refer to a typical or expected rate of payment for a particular service. From there, I thought of the phrase ‘going rate‘, which is commonly used to describe the standard rate for a service or product. As ‘going rate‘ didn’t fit the number of letters in the clue, I made the connection to ‘GOINGRATES‘, a pluralized version of the phrase that perfectly matched the number of letters required. Suddenly, the answer appeared before my eyes and the mystery was solved!