If I had to choose one word to sum up faster payments today, it would be momentum. In physics, momentum is directly proportional to mass and velocity, and that’s a pretty fitting way to describe where we’re at today. As an organization, the FPC is gaining critical mass and accelerating toward more and more adoption.
In the last couple of months, there’s been a shift in the industry from a spirit of exploration to one of action. More and more organizations are becoming early adopters of faster payments products and services, and even those who have held a “wait-and-see” mindset have begun taking steps toward implementation.
The FPC’s inaugural faster payments industry survey, the Faster Payments Barometer, revealed concrete evidence of these trends. In fact, almost half of respondents (48%) self-described as early adopters of faster payments solutions—a significant portion of the industry indicating that they are already engaging with faster payments offerings. In addition, while the Barometer findings emphasized that we’re just at the starting line, with 39% acknowledging we are “at the very beginning” of our journey, half of respondents (50%) also felt we are “gaining momentum.”
That sentiment was reflected throughout the FPC Fall Member Meeting, starting with the opening session, as Mike Bilski, CEO, North American Banking Company and FPC Board Chair; John Drechny, CEO, Merchant Advisory Group; Steve Ledford, RTP Network Product Executive, The Clearing House; and Connie Theien, SVP, Industry Relations and Faster Payments Strategy Leader, Federal Reserve System debated the controversial topics we’re beginning to tackle as an industry. From market demand to interoperability to fraud issues, the panel didn’t shy away from hard conversations, and while answers didn’t immediately materialize, the discussion itself encouraged FPC members to find common ground to advance our collective goals.
“The fact that we’re all sitting here in a room as a Faster Payments Council that didn’t exist nine months ago is really pretty incredible evidence of how far the industry has come,” noted Theien.
It’s that shared vision of a ubiquitous faster payments future that drives FPC members to do the hard work. When we met in tabletop discussions, members focused on the policy, business, and technical implications of faster payments, and they debated key areas of concern, working to identify potential solutions. For example, discussions around irrevocability led to a deeper exploration of how we, as an industry, need to address consumer expectations around dispute resolution. Questions on IT resources for faster payments projects drove dialogue around potential use cases and proof points, leading to the conclusion that if the ROI is high enough, faster payments will become an organizational priority; the onus is on us as FPC members to build ROI within our organizations.
But it wasn’t just a meeting of dialogue; FPC members also focused on results for the here and now, specifically in Work Group efforts that included the following:
- Directory Models Work Group – explored the directory model payment flow in a P2P real-time payments use case with the goal of determining the friction points to address for system interoperability.
- End-User Transparency Work Group – finalized the framework of its business transparency guidelines to complement the existing consumer ones.
- Education and Awareness Work Group – discussed the release of the Faster Payments Playbook for financial institutions and set priorities for creating informational and educational content for business end users as a next step.
- Fraud Work Group – began the development of a white paper to address best practices and approaches for industry collaboration to alert one another of potential fraud schemes.
- Regulatory Work Group – began work on a regulatory toolkit for FPC members, starting with an aggregated list of laws and regulations that apply to faster payments that will ultimately be available to legal and compliance departments.
- Safety and Security Work Group – continued its work on the draft FAQs for financial institutions and consumers around the safety and security of faster payments.
Across the board, all our Work Groups have been prioritizing their deliverables and creating a work plan for the next quarter. They’re acting now to set the course for the next few months.
The FPC Fall Member Meeting spoke to this collective industry spirit of “let’s get it done.” We’re set on making progress and driving industry change with speed and precision. Because as momentum builds, results follow.