U.S. Faster Payments Evolution: Share Your Thoughts on the Journey

Reed Luhtanen, Executive Director, FPC

For most of us, the pandemic has upended our way of life. It has changed our working styles and environments. It has altered shopping habits. It has driven a surge in touchless and remote transactions. And while all of these are colossal shifts for the American people, the one even larger change stemming from the pandemic lies in the transition to faster payments.

While in the United States ubiquitous instant payments are not yet a reality, the American people, now more than ever, are urgently demanding 21st century digital solutions in all facets of life. Case in point, when stimulus payments were disbursed to assist Americans through the early part of the pandemic, many people received them relatively quickly through direct deposit. But about 34 million people waited a month or more for paper checks, and it is estimated that as many as 35 million are still waiting on payments. In a time when many American families are facing financial hardship, “waiting on payments” could have detrimental consequences.

With systems like The Clearing House’s Real Time Payments (RTP®) Network now available, faster payments are clearly advancing. But our 2019 Faster Payments Barometer study showed that still was not enough. According to the survey, 50 percent of organizations believed we were gaining momentum in terms of faster payments implementation, but almost 60 percent believed we were not making enough progress.

Since the release of that survey last year, there have been additional faster payments gains. The Federal Reserve has continued apace with the development of FedNow℠, an additional real-time payments platform set to launch as early as 2023; and countless products and solutions have been developed to support faster transactions. As such, use of faster payments has increased, so much so, it is estimated that transaction value will reach $905 billion by the end of this year.

Given these additional advances, and a growing desire for faster payments to address some of the financial hardships provoked by the pandemic, as an industry, we must better understand what it will take for us to expedite faster payments implementation and adoption. As the entities enabling and using faster payments in the United States, we must ensure that we’re collectively poised to deliver the right solutions at the right time.

And that’s why, in part, we’ve launched the 2020 Faster Payments Barometer study. We are currently soliciting feedback from the financial services industry to gauge perspectives on the state of faster payments in the United States. Varied insights from the larger financial services community will allow us to truly understand where we are and what it will take to get us to where we want to be. 

Faster payments has been on the horizon in the United States for a long time. Although we have been making incremental progress, faster payments is still not a norm in the United States. But today’s environment demands that we speed up transaction times to better meet the needs of Americans. We know your input will help guide the direction we take to do just that, and we thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts with us.

The Faster Payments Council invites you to provide your perspectives to the 2020 Faster Payments Barometer Study: https://www.research.net/r/fpcsurvey2020
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