Reed Luhtanen, Executive Director, FPC
With many parts of the United States facing some of the highest temperatures of the season, I think it is fair to say that we are officially in the “dog days of summer.” But at the FPC, we haven’t let it deter us. If anything, over the past couple of months, we’ve sharpened our focus and ramped up our level of activity.
And it is thanks to the untiring efforts of Work Groups. They continue to identify, develop, and produce key resources to support and advance the adoption of faster payments. This month, it’s been the labors of the QR Code Interface Work Group and the Financial Inclusion Work Group that have resulted in two new industry white paper: QR Codes for Faster Payments and Faster Payments and Financial Inclusion.
While QR Codes have been around and in use in payment processing for some time, their application to support faster payments is still relatively untapped in the United States. Today, QR Codes in payments are used in a number of ways including for payment at the POS, for mobile-initiated transfers, for bill pay on billing statements, to support merchant loyalty at checkout, and more. But given their convenience, ease of use and existing consumer/merchant acceptance, QR Codes are a clear choice to help catalyze faster payment adoption.
But not without some challenges. The QR Codes for Faster Payments white paper provides a detailed overview of what QR Codes are, how they are currently used, and identifies both the advantages and issues around the use of QR Codes for faster payments. From choice and the ability to tap new markets as potential benefits, to consumer education and Wi-Fi/data instability as hurdles to overcome, the paper lays out the significance and considerations of this technology for faster payments, and the keys to moving the needle on making it a viable solution for facilitating faster payments adoption.
Like QR Codes, access to faster payments for the underserved is another topic in need of further examination and action to help facilitate adoption and use. The Financial Inclusion Work Group responds to that call with its white paper, Faster Payments and Financial Inclusion, which provides an in-depth look at the underserved population, and how we, as an industry, can enhance processes, services, and solutions to support greater financial inclusion in faster payments.
According to the paper, the underserved are the unbanked, those living paycheck to paycheck, and small businesses, and they represent a significant portion of the U.S. constituency. And both types of underserved, individuals and small businesses, experience difficulties when it comes to managing finances. As the paper details, many of the underserved deal with liquidity constraints, high costs to access cash, an inability to absorb losses due to mistakes, and so much more. But the paper goes beyond just highlighting the pain points, and outlines action steps to better support the underserved, creating the blueprint to ensure this population can reap the much-needed benefits faster payments can provide them.
We, at the FPC, are truly energized by the great work coming out of the Work Groups. The QR Codes for Faster Payments and Faster Payments and Financial Inclusion white papers are just two of the latest examples that speak to the unrelenting persistence that fuels our Members and our organization in the pursuit of our mission. We invite you to download these resources to learn more, and we encourage you to join in our efforts in the pursuit of faster payments for all. Because with these new resources and others on the horizon, it’s safe to say that as the summer starts winding down, we, at the FPC, are just heating up.