Payments Exchange

Two Years, Five Strategies, Continuous Progress: Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System Turns Two

As we enter into 2017, it’s hard to believe that it has only been two years since we published Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System, our multi-year plan that focuses on end-to-end improvement of the speed, efficiency and security of our country’s payment system. To commemorate another year of substantive industry progress and momentum across the payments industry, the Federal Reserve released a Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System – January 2017 Progress Report, which highlights accomplishments as well as plans for 2017.

“The Fed’s priority is to advance improvements that are in the public interest so that consumers and businesses alike have access to efficient, real-time and highly secure payments in the United States,” said Esther George, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, who is leading the payment system improvement initiatives on behalf of the Federal Reserve “Through a number of collaborative efforts, the industry is making real progress on all fronts and we’re expecting to achieve a number of significant milestones in 2017.”

The progress report details the work-to-date of two payments industry task forces and efforts to enhance payment system efficiency through work on standards, directories and business-to-business payment improvements.

Faster Payments Task Force accomplishments include:

  • Fielded and commissioned an independent assessment of 22 faster payments solution proposals against the Faster Payments Effectiveness Criteria released in February 2016, 19 of which voluntarily progressed through a review by the 500+ participants of the two task forces.
  • Analyzed potential challenges to successful faster payments implementation, focusing on provider interoperability, rules and standards, governance, adoption, safety and security.
  • Today, published part one of a two-part final report that provides a high-level overview of the task force’s background and processes, the payments landscape, and the benefits of faster payments.

Secure Payments Task Force accomplishments include:

  • Launched work to address the industry’s most pressing payment system security issues: identity management, data protection, and fraud and risk information-sharing.
  • Mapped existing identity management practices in end-to-end payment flows in order to identify opportunities for improvements.
  • Defined the guiding principles for protecting sensitive data associated with payments, serving as a foundation for building a more comprehensive data protection framework for industry participants.
  • Inventoried current industry efforts to share information for fraud and risk prevention and mitigation.

Other important accomplishments included in the progress report stem from efforts to enhance payment system efficiency through work on standards, directories and business-to-business payment improvements. In addition, joint efforts with industry participants have accelerated plans to implement the financial messaging standard ISO 20022 for U.S. wire transfer systems and widespread same-day ACH (automated clearing house) settlement.

For a full summary of our 2016 accomplishments and insight on what’s to come in the year ahead, we invite you to read our Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System – January 2017 Progress Report.

Engage for Change

To receive communications and invitations to provide input on these initiatives, join the FedPayments Improvement Community. You can also follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest events and developments.

Federal Reserve Payments Study Highlights Strong Trends in Card Use

From 2012 to 2015, credit and debit (including prepaid and non-prepaid) card payments continued to gain ground in the payments landscape, accounting for more than two-thirds of all core noncash payments in the United States, according to a Federal Reserve study of U.S. non-cash payments released December 22, 2016. Automated clearinghouse (ACH) payments grew modestly over the same period, and check payments declined at a slower rate than in the past.

The 2016 Federal Reserve Payments Study, which presents 2015 payments data, found that the number of domestic core non-cash payments totaled an estimated 144 billion – up 5.3 percent annually from 2012. The total value of these transactions increased 3.4 percent over the same period to nearly $178 trillion.

For more information, including additional key findings, review the initial data release report. Additional detailed information will be released in 2017 as the results of further analysis become final.

Federal Reserve’s Secure Payments Task Force Survey Extended

The Secure Payments Task Force, conceived in Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System (PDF), has been advancing efforts to support the strategy of reducing payment fraud and advancing the safety, security and resiliency of the payment system. Earlier this year, they launched work groups focusing on the following payments security issues:

  • Payment Identity Management
  • Information Sharing for the Mitigation of Payments Risk/Fraud
  • Data Protection

The work group members have been meeting regularly to identify the current challenges, the attributes of a more effective environment, the desired outcomes in each area, and the barriers to implementation.

The Secure Payments Task Force is seeking input from the industry on the solutions outlined as well as potential barriers to implementation. We launched three online surveys to give you the opportunity to weigh-in on how the task force is addressing different challenges related to payment identity management, information sharing for the mitigation of payments risk/fraud and data protection. The surveys will remain open for comment until Wednesday, November 30.

This feedback will help the Secure Payments Task Force identify and promote actions that can be taken by payment system participants to maintain U.S. payment system security that remains very strong, with public confidence that remains high, and protections and incident response that keeps pace with the rapidly evolving and expanding threat environment.

Visit the Secure Payments Task Force Work Group page for more details and take the survey by Wednesday, November 30!

Industry leaders with an interest in payments security are invited to follow or join the Secure Payments Task Force. To learn more, follow our work efforts on Twitter (@fedpayimprove).

The Coalition Expands its Mission

It has now been five years since the Remittance Coalition was formed and since its founding, the Coalition has experienced tremendous growth and evolution (and they’re not done yet!). As part of its anniversary, the Remittance Coalition will henceforth be known as the Business Payments Coalition. Along with its new name, the Business Payments Coalition has also broadened their mission statement beyond remittance to encompass overall payments efficiency.

“Since it was formed as the Remittance Coalition five years ago, the Business Payments Coalition has evolved into a nationally respected organization that champions B2B payments efficiency and security. It is a true model of industry collaboration, with hundreds of active and effective volunteers from a wide variety of organizations including businesses of all sizes and types, banks, standards development organizations, consultants, software and technology vendors, and many others. By creating and publishing standards and technical reports, identifying ‘best practice’ business processes and promoting their use, educating about payment and remittance standards, and advocating ways to overcome barriers to straight-through processing, the Coalition has made real progress in achieving its goal of improving the efficiency of B2B payments across the end-to-end process.”

Claudia Swendseid
Senior Vice President
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Founding Member, Business Payments Coalition (formerly the Remittance Coalition)

You can expect to see more progress from the Business Payments Coalition as work groups drawn from over 550 Coalition members continue to work toward increasing the efficiency of B2B payments by all types and sizes of U.S. businesses.

Join the Business Payments Coalition

Participation in the Coalition is free and open to any individual or organization interested in the Coalition’s objectives. Register now! You will receive a welcome packet, be added to the Coalition distribution list and be invited to participate in specific Coalition initiatives that may interest you.

Want to Learn More?

Review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or send an email to

Can the United States Develop a Standard, Ubiquitous Business to Business (B2B) Electronic Invoice & Processing Platform?

Explore the possibility by reading the U.S. Adoption of Electronic Invoicing: Challenges and Opportunities paper release by the Payment, Standards and Outreach Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

In keeping with the desired outcome of end-to-end efficiency detailed in the Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System paper, the main goal of  U.S. Adoption of Electronic Invoicing: Challenges and Opportunities  is to consider the development and implementation of a standard, ubiquitous B2B electronic invoice and processing platform in the U.S. similar to those that have been developed in other countries. The paper also highlights:

  • Opportunities for businesses to:
    • Gain efficiencies and reduce costs by more broadly adopting e-invoicing
    • Expand into other areas of the financial supply chain
    • Reduce payment risk and late fees
  • Societal benefits from a reduction in paper invoices
  • Challenges stemming from a lack of:
    • Information technology resources to implement change
    • A compelling individual business case among smaller businesses
    • Common, unified standards or translation software to facilitate change
    • Industry-led coordination, collaboration and leadership to develop a strategy for change

Download the full version of U.S. Adoption of Electronic Invoicing: Challenges and Opportunities paper today!

A Great Resource Just got Even Better: Check out the Newly Updated Small Business Payments Toolkit

In April 2015, the Remittance Coalition released the Small Business Payments Toolkit and now, we are pleased to announce the release of the second volume. Volume 2 is chock-full of new information to further encourage the adoption of electronic business-to-business payments and remittance information exchanges by small businesses. Financial institutions, consultants, small businesses and anyone else interested in learning more about payments should download this free resource now.

Overview of New Updates

  • Working with your Banker now has information on getting started with ACH origination, ACH returns and notifications of change and a sample trading partner agreement to start receiving ACH payments
  • Fraud Prevention and Mitigation Tips now speaks to bank services that could help a small business combat payments fraud
  • Resources has been updated to provide helpful information on ACH checklists and forms, bank holidays, regional payments associations, health care information and links to previously recorded education webinars on the toolkit
  • New sections were added to address EMV and chip cards, alternative payments and business continuity planning

Don’t miss out on these valuable new updates! Download the Small Business Payments Toolkit, Volume 2 today!

Engage for Change! Join the Remittance Coalition

Would you like to see more efficient business-to-business (B2B) payments in the U.S.? Widespread use of electronic remittance data exchanges? Reduced barriers to electronic payments? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might be interested in joining the Remittance Coalition.

The Remittance Coalition is a group of organizations and individuals working together to promote greater use of electronic B2B payments and electronic remittance data exchanges. Now, more than ever, all types and sizes of U.S. businesses are shifting from paper to electronic payments. The Coalition’s main objective is to address barriers to and the efficiency of how those B2B payments are made/reconciled.

Ready to Join?

Participation in the Coalition is free and open to any individual or organization interested in the Coalition’s objectives. Register now! You will receive a welcome packet, be added to the Coalition distribution list and be invited to participate in specific Coalition initiatives that may interest you.

Need More Information?

Review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or send an email to

Register for a Webinar to Learn About the Benefits of ISO® 20022 Adoption for the Major U.S. Wire Transfer Systems

The Federal Reserve Banks have been collaborating with several other organizations known as the Stakeholder Group to prepare for the adoption of the ISO® 20022 standard for domestic and international wire payments.

ISO 20022 is a robust financial messaging standard that supports the end-to-end flow of payment information from the originator to the beneficiary. Some of the great benefits of ISO 20022 payment messages include, but are not limited to:

  • Support for rich payment data
  • Discrete fields to carry specific data elements (e.g., longer name fields, address information and structured remittance information)
  • Improved straight-through processing and compliance screening due to additional payment data
  • Facilitation of both cross-border interoperability and domestic interoperability between U.S. wire transfer systems and the SWIFT® messaging network

Register for the event offered on May 17 by visiting the Fed Events page. Check out the Fed’s Resource Center for Adoption of ISO® 20022 for Wire Transfers and ACH Payments for more details on the strides made toward adoption of the standard.

Register Now

Federal Reserve Selects Firm to Assess Faster Payments Solutions

We are pleased to announce the selection of McKinsey & Company to support Faster Payments Task Force efforts this year to assess faster payments solution proposals from various providers across the U.S. payments industry.

The Federal Reserve established the 331-member Faster Payments Task Force in 2015 to support a broader effort to improve the speed, safety and efficiency of payments. The task force is specifically charged with identifying effective approaches for implementing faster payment capabilities in the United States. Next month, interested task force members will submit comprehensive faster payment solution proposals to be analyzed using 36 Effectiveness Criteria identified by the task force.

“The task force members wanted a firm with broad payments expertise to assess proposals against the comprehensive Effectiveness Criteria they published in February,” said Gordon Werkema, payments strategy director. “McKinsey was chosen through a competitive bid process that considered expertise, ability to conduct an independent assessment, proposed assessment approach, and cost.”

Both the proposals and assessments will be provided to the full task force later this year for review and comment, prior to publication in early 2017. “The process established by the task force ensures a fair, consistent and quality assessment of solution proposals, while bringing forward task force members’ comments and diverse perspectives,” said Sean Rodriguez, faster payments strategy leader and chair of the Faster Payments Task Force. “Importantly, the proposal assessments and the broader task force input are designed to enhance solution designs and help ensure that effective faster payments capabilities are implemented in the United States in a reasonable time frame.”

Click here to view press release in its entirety.