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New Fed Council: Can It Move the Needle on Faster Payments?

  • By Andrew Deichler
  • Published: 11/30/2018

fasterpayments

This month, the Federal Reserve announced the formation of the U.S. Faster Payments Council (FPC), a multi-industry group brought together to accelerate the adoption of faster payments in the United States.

GOALS OF THE FPC

The 27-member Governance Framework Formation Team (GFFT) developed the framework for the FPC after months of deliberations and input from payments industry stakeholders. The ultimate goal of the FPC is a universal payments system that would allow U.S. citizens to make secure payments to anyone, anywhere and at any time with near-immediate funds availability.

That’s easier said than done; financial professionals who have been following the progression of faster and real-time payments in the U.S., know that ubiquity is still a ways away, even with recent milestones like the launch of The Clearing House’s Real Time Payments (RTP) system a year ago.

The FPC aims to change that by addressing the issues currently inhibiting faster payments adoption. To achieve this goal, the council plans to support adoption practices that enhance security for service providers and end users; identify, develop and support best practices that address opportunities and challenges in a collaborative way; and develop a strong education and awareness program.

Membership

Founding members include Visa, Walmart, JP Morgan Chase, MasterCard, NACHA, Early Warning Services, and others. The FPC is looking to recruit even more members, from a wide breadth of sectors.

“One of the ideas we talked about is the inclusiveness of all stakeholders,” Andrea Gilman, senior vice president, product management for MasterCard, told AFP. “So having a seat at the table are financial institutions, as well as businesses, payment network operators, technology providers and consumer interest groups. The idea is to have all of these different stakeholders across the payments industry work on opportunities that will drive toward this ubiquitous and world class payments system.”

There are multiple workgroups within the FPC, with members assigned to address different issues and opportunities, depending on their areas of expertise. For example, one workgroup is focused on identifying “quick wins” that can be executed to accelerate faster payments adoption. “Those are the opportunities like education and awareness of security,” Gilman said.

But if the group is truly going to include everyone, that would mean corporate end users. Magnus Carlsson, AFP’s manager of treasury and payments, expressed hope that the council would fare better in this regard than the Fed’s Faster Payments Task Force did at times.

“We talk a lot about the corporates’ perspective on things,” he said. “It can be challenging when you have a lot of technology providers talking. When we were on the Faster Payments Task Force, we really had to stake our ground and talk about the corporate end user.”

Gilman expressed desire to see AFP join the FPC to help ensure that the corporate end user community has a strong voice in the process. “There was a lot of discussion at [AFP 2018] around this topic,” she said. “So I think it would be very beneficial to not only have AFP join but also have other corporates join.”

For more information on the FPC and to become a member, visit https://fasterpaymentscouncil.org/.

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