On December 14, 2018, the Federal Reserve Board concluded its public comment period for a Federal Register Notice (Off-site) (Notice) that outlined proposed actions the Fed could take to facilitate real-time interbank settlement of faster payments. The comment period had begun on October 3 with the announcement of the Notice (Off-site) the FedPayments Improvement Community Forum in Chicago (Off-site).
More than 400 comments (Off-site) and form letters were submitted in response to the Notice (Off-site) from a range of payments industry stakeholders. The Board is now in the process of assessing the formal comments, and is not committing to any specific actions at this time or in the future. Upon completion of its review the Board will release its recommendation, which may include issuing a request for comment on specific services or, alternatively, no additional action.
The Federal Reserve has a fundamental interest in ensuring there is a safe and robust settlement infrastructure on which the private sector can provide innovative payment services that serve the broad public interest. We believe aligning settlement speed of the real-time nature of the underlying payment would provide the most safe and efficient foundation for the next generation of payment services. To that end, we solicited formal comments about future settlement needs to support faster payments and potential Federal Reserve actions. The proposed actions are described in a Federal Register Notice (Off-site) (Notice)
Our society increasingly operates in ‘real-time,’ on a 24x7x365 basis, with technology changing the ways people interact, conduct commerce and access information. With these technological advancements comes an opportunity to improve the payment experience of individuals, households, and businesses. Faster payments provide convenience and economic benefit. They can be initiated and received at any time of day, any day, with funds immediately available, so recipients can better manage their money. And while different types of faster payments are emerging in the payment system, they do not enable senders to reach any recipient in a seamless way on a nationwide basis. In addition, interbank settlement for some of these payments can lag by more than a day to be complete, posing risks that need to be managed.
The settlement infrastructure concepts outlined in the Notice (Off-site) are intended to advance public policy goals for faster payments and help support the modernization of the financial services sector’s provision of payment services. These potential actions take into consideration requests from stakeholders, including the Faster Payments Task Force (Off-site) as outlined in its final report.
For More Context
The Federal Reserve held public Town Hall meetings in each of its 12 districts and hosted a webinar to help build an understanding of the Federal Register Notice with stakeholders all across the nation. Review the town hall presentation and watch the webinar recording below for an overview of the conceptual approaches presented in the Notice.