How is the Fed progressing to faster payments?

When it comes to the adoption of faster payments solutions, the US has been lagging behind some other nations in recent years. However, it’s taking steps to change this, with the Federal Reserve forming a task force to drive forward change.

The central bank has now released a new progress update detailing some of the progress that this task force has made over the last 12 months.

Among its activities was an independent assessment of 22 proposed faster payments solutions, with these being rated against the Faster Payments Effectiveness Criteria released in February 2016. Of these, 19 voluntarily progressed through a review by more than 500 participants of the task force.

The Fed has also been examining potential challenges to successful faster payments implementation, with a particular focus on issues such as provider interoperability, standards, governance, and security.

Esther George, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, who is leading the payment system improvement initiatives on behalf of the Federal Reserve, explained the Fed’s priority is to support and develop improvements that ensure both consumers and businesses have access to “efficient, real-time and highly secure payments” across the US.

She added: “Through a number of collaborative efforts, the industry is making real progress on all fronts and we’re expecting to achieve a number of significant milestones in 2017.”

The Faster Payments Task Force has also published the first half of a two-part report setting out details of its approach, the current payments landscape and the benefits that moving to faster payments solutions will bring.

Among the positives highlighted in the report for financial institutions are the ability to maintain strong customer relationships and the ability to offer innovative new products, which will ensure they remain relevant in the years to come.

On the consumer side, faster payments can promote financial inclusion by supporting citizens who are not well served by mainstream payment options, as well as making transactions such as just-in-time bill payments or ubiquitous person-to-person payments easier.

Written by Jack Dougal