Lowry began life as an out-half but has been earning plenty of plaudits for his performances at full-back this season as Ulster have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season.
“His whole game at full-back has really matured over the past number of weeks,” former international Payne said.
“He’s starting to make good decisions in counter attack – when to kick, when to run – he’s a lot more efficient there.
“His defensive positioning has come along massively.
"He hadn’t played a lot of full-back until he came to us, so he’s starting to understand the game well back there.”
Payne also praised Lowry's work rate.
“He works hard, he’s one of the hardest workers in the team which helps him," he said.
"He’s keen to play rugby and learn about it. He’s a pleasure to work with.
"He’s really progressing at the back, it’s great to see.
“Both sides of the ball he’s really coming along and the last few weeks have been a step up - I guess you could call it game sense.”
***Watch Ulster v Scarlets this Sunday from 7.30pm on eir sport 1.