Payments Exchange

Improve Payment Security with Current Resources – and More to Come

A recent Federal Reserve webinar (Off-site) offered practical advice about how to use online resources to improve payment security – taking another step toward achieving a future of secure, fast and efficient payments that meet the current and future needs of consumers and businesses in the United States.

These online resources – the Information Sharing Data Sources (Off-site) and Payment Lifecycles and Security Profiles (Off-site) – were published by the Secure Payments Task Force. This coalition of more than 200 payment industry stakeholders was active from June 2015 to March 2018 as a forum for stakeholders to advise the Federal Reserve on payment security matters and determine areas of focus for payment security and priorities for action.

“There’s not a lot of formal education around payments… This [resource] isn’t just for banks, or organizations, or non-bank providers. It’s for everyone in the ecosystem,” said Bryan Penny of Nordstrom. Penny went on to describe uses of the Information Sharing Data Sources (Off-site) published by the Secure Payments Task Force. “When you get into payments, if you just start searching the web, you don’t know if that source is reliable and has good information. All these sources were vetted by experts.”

Suzanne Martindale of Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports) described another task force deliverable, the Payment Lifecycles and Security Profiles (Off-site). These profiles of eight common payment types – from enrollment through transaction flow to reconciliation – “are meant to highlight potential vulnerabilities in various payment types, to educate stakeholders, from the experts to folks who are new [to payments], and encourage best practices in payments security.” This resource is being used “by everyone and anyone,” she said, including business leaders, product developers, risk managers and consumer advocates (including Suzanne herself).

Ed O’Neill, former Federal Reserve System vice president of secure payments, characterized the two task force deliverables as “a valuable foundation for our next phase of work.” The Federal Reserve kicked off a payments fraud study in March 2018 to analyze and prioritize payment system vulnerabilities. This research is intended to help inform the Federal Reserve’s ongoing collaboration with the industry to enhance end-to-end payment security. Key findings of the study and next steps to advance payments security are expected to be announced later this year, O’Neill said.

For more information:

Join Us for the Inaugural FedPayments Improvement Community Forum

Are you interested in being involved in the United States’ journey toward a faster, safer, more efficient payment system? Don’t miss the opportunity to attend the inaugural FedPayments Improvement Community Forum on October 3 – 4, 2018!

The Forum will be hosted in downtown Chicago and is your opportunity to collaborate and provide feedback on the latest payment system improvement initiatives. Designed to encourage robust dialogue on a plethora of topics, this event will consist of workshop-style sessions so you can weigh in on a variety of payments topics. Register now and stay tuned for future announcements on sessions, speakers and how you can stay engaged.

Register to Attend

The FedPayments Improvement Community Forum will be hosted at the JW Marriott in downtown Chicago. The Forum will begin at 12:00 p.m. CT on October 3, and will conclude by 5:00 p.m. CT on October 4.

Register to attend the FedPayments Improvement Community Forum (Off-site)

Join the FedPayments Improvement Community

In order to better engage with you during the event, as well as keep you up to date on the latest in payment system improvement topics, sign up to be a member of the FedPayments Improvement Community.

U.S. Faster Payments Council Proposed: Industry Encouraged to Review, Comment

A draft framework for a faster payments governance organization to be called the U.S. Faster Payments Council is now available for broad industry review and feedback. The goal of the proposed U.S. Faster Payments Council is a ubiquitous, world-class system in 2020 where Americans can safely and securely pay anyone, anywhere, at any time and with immediate funds availability.

  • The U.S. Faster Payments Council represents the work of the Governance Framework Formation Team (GFFT), a diverse group of payments industry stakeholders that was established by the former Faster Payments Task Force to advance the first recommendation of the Task Force’s final report (Off-site, PDF).
  • The GFFT’s goal is to develop a faster payments governance framework, inclusive of all stakeholders, to make decisions to facilitate interoperability and achieve ubiquity of faster payments in 2020, as well as navigate future challenges as technology and end-user needs evolve. Establishing an industry governance framework is critical to sustaining progress and successfully executing many of the task force’s recommendations.
  • The GFFT is now seeking broad industry feedback on the draft Operating Vision (PDF) of the proposed U.S. Faster Payments Council. The design remains a work in progress, with a number of open issues, including the Board and funding structure. Your feedback is important to ensure the U.S. Faster Payments Council meets industry needs.

Why is the U.S. Faster Payments Council needed?

A number of new and innovative faster payment solutions have come to market in the United States and others may be emerging soon. The proposed organization would focus on private-sector approaches to solving problems and removing barriers to achieving ubiquity. Achieving ubiquity means facilitating interoperability so that transactions flow across solutions in a seamless way. It also means enabling all end users to receive faster payments from any and all payers, as this will make origination of faster payments more attractive to payers and drive overall adoption.

In 2020, here’s what a ubiquitous, world-class faster payment system would look like:

  • Payments and payment information move seamlessly for end users, regardless of the varied solutions they may be using;
  • Effective cross-solution risk management enables trust and public confidence in the safety and security of these new, interoperable faster payments to flourish;
  • Payers and payees receive confirmation of a payment within seconds, even when the payment moves across solutions; and
  • All parties have equitable access to efficiently resolve disputes and errors.

Your voice matters!

Visit to learn more and respond to an online survey, available now through June 22. Your feedback on the draft Operating Vision is vital to inform next steps in the U.S. faster payments ecosystem. Also, watch for information on upcoming webinars and conference presentations. And as always, stay tuned for updates on the FedPayments Improvement Community.

Progress Report Now Available: Review Accomplishments and Look Ahead to Future Plans

Today, we are excited to announce the release of our Spring Progress Report (PDF), which outlines the important work we’ve completed and next steps toward achieving better, safeprogress report bannerr, faster payments for everyone.

As you’ll see in the Spring Progress Report, we had another busy year! Highlights and next steps of our payments improvement journey include:


  • Accomplishment: Published the Faster Payments Task Force’s final report, The U.S. Path to Faster Payments, which includes the challenges and opportunities for achieving faster payments in the United States and the task force’s recommendations and suggested next steps
  • What’s Next: Facilitate stakeholder feedback on the Governance Framework Formation Team’s proposed faster payments governance framework


  • Accomplishment: Published the Secure Payments Task Force’s Information Sharing Data Sources and Payment Lifecycles and Security Profiles
  • What’s Next: Conduct a Fed-sponsored study designed to inform industry security improvement efforts and analyze payment system security vulnerabilities and the costs and benefits of various approaches to mitigate them



  • Accomplishment: Continued ongoing education and outreach efforts regarding service enhancements and tool development geared at driving faster, safer, and more efficient payments, which included updates to the International Payments Resource Centers
  • What’s Next: Advance progress on an update to the Fedwire® Funds Service that expands the Federal Reserve Banks’ market practice to identify SWIFT’s® Global Payments Innovation (GPI) bank transfers in the Fedwire Funds Service message format in early 2019


  • Accomplishment: Facilitated the collaborative work efforts of the faster payments Governance Framework Formation Team, Secure Payments Task Force, Business Payments Coalition, and ISO 20022 Stakeholder Group
  • What’s Next: Initiate enhanced programming, focused on flexibility and engagement, for the 4,000+ FedPayments Improvement Community members, covering initiatives such as the faster payments governance framework, the Secure Payments Task Force’s educational resources, electronic invoicing, B2B payments education, and the ISO 20022 migration plan

To see a detailed summary of these accomplishments and next steps, check out the full version of Spring Progress Report (PDF) and stay engaged in our payments improvement initiatives by joining the FedPayments Improvement Community.

Coming Soon: Draft Faster Payments Framework for Stakeholder Feedback

A framework to help drive the industry toward ubiquitous faster payments is about to make its debut.

In its final report published last July, the former Faster Payments Task Force identified establishment of this industry governance framework as critical to sustaining progress and successfully executing many of its recommendations. The task force then “passed the torch” to the current Governance Framework Formation Team (GFFT) to propose a framework that would bring the groups’ shared vision to reality: in 2020, a ubiquitous world-class system where Americans can safely and securely pay anyone, anywhere, at any time and with immediate funds availability.

Later this month, the GFFT will begin soliciting broad industry feedback on the draft framework, which details the operating vision, guiding principles and core governance functions of a membership organization inclusive of all payments industry stakeholders that will work toward ubiquity in a faster payments ecosystem. With its focus on facilitating dialogue and collaboration across the wide array of faster payments stakeholders, the proposed organization will work with industry stakeholders to address gaps and barriers to faster payments adoption and support achievement of the industry goal of ubiquitous access in 2020.

Your voice matters!

Watch for news about the framework’s launch, as well as opportunities to share your feedback via an online survey, webinars, conferences and other engagements. If you are not yet a member of the FedPayments Improvement Community, join now to be notified when the draft framework is published.

Federal Reserve to Study Payments Fraud and Security Vulnerabilities

As announced earlier today, the Federal Reserve will begin work this month on a new study that will measure fraud and associated costs in the U.S. payments system and identify the causes and contributing factors to fraud. The study is part of the Federal Reserve’s ongoing effort to improve and support payment security throughout the industry, as outlined in the Federal Reserve Next Steps in the Payment Improvement Journey paper released last year.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consulting firm, will conduct the study, which is expected to be completed in four to six months. The study will systematically and objectively measure payment fraud and identify and provide insight on payment security vulnerabilities. The Federal Reserve expects the results of the study will help inform its ongoing collaboration with the industry to enhance end-to-end payment security. For more information, read the press release in its entirety.

“The vast number of participants and complex nature of the payments industry make it challenging to determine where the greatest opportunities exist for significantly mitigating fraud,” said Ken Montgomery, the Federal Reserve’s payments security strategy leader and chief operating officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. “We hope to bring greater insight to the challenge with a comprehensive view of payment fraud data and payment security vulnerabilities that will help inform next steps for ongoing industry collaboration.”

BCG was chosen through a competitive bidding process that considered a number of factors including, expertise, ability to conduct an independent assessment and proposed assessment approach.

Stay tuned! The Federal Reserve expects to initiate new collaborative industry work groups to analyze payment fraud and security vulnerabilities, assess potential approaches to mitigate them, and identify misalignment of incentives that may hinder progress.

Enhanced FedPayments Improvement Community Puts you in Control

We believe that industry collaboration with diverse payment stakeholders is paramount to the success of the Federal Reserve’s payments improvement initiatives. Our commitment to stakeholder engagement is what led us to create the FedPayments Improvement Community back in 2015, and remains the driving force behind the enhancements we’re introducing today. As first described in Federal Reserve Next Steps in the Payments Improvement Journey (PDF), the enhanced FedPayments Improvement Community aims to provide opportunities for all stakeholders to engage in our full portfolio of payments improvement initiatives.

To better help you take advantage of the improvements, here is a summary of the changes and the actions you can take as a new or existing member to get the most out of the enhanced FedPayments Improvement Community:

What’s Changing?

  • We will collect information about your industry segment, your role, and payment system improvement topics and initiatives on which you would like to engage
  • Selecting your areas of interest will allow you to engage with us when and how you wish, as well as give you the opportunity to participate in work groups as they are established
  • Members of the FedPayments Improvement Community will also be notified of opportunities to provide feedback on work group and/or Fed-sponsored work efforts and be invited to attend our online and in-person events

New Members

Existing Members

The FedPayments Improvement Community will continue to be free and open to all interested stakeholders and represent a continuation of transparent, inclusive, and effective engagement. We look forward to engaging with you!

Secure Payments Task Force Publishes Payment Lifecycles and Security Profiles

As announced earlier today, the Secure Payments Task Force published the Payment Lifecycles and Security Profiles, educational materials outlining, the lifecycles, security characteristics and relevant laws and regulations for the most common payment types.

Developed through collaborative efforts of task force participants with diverse payments and security expertise and perspectives, the Payment Lifecycles and Security Profiles provide perspectives related to:

  • The lifecycles of the most common payment types, covering enrollment, transaction flow and reconciliation
  • Security methods, identity management controls and sensitive data occurring at each step in the payment lifecycles
  • Relevant laws and regulations, and other references, as well as challenges and improvement opportunities related to each payment type

“We believe the profiles are a valuable tool for all payments providers to assess where they can enhance their operations and improve overall payment security practices,” said Christopher Danvers, vice president of payments and digital services for American Airlines Federal Credit Union, who co-chaired the work group responsible for the profiles. “Our hope is that this information can raise awareness and understanding of payments security and risk issues across the many types of organizations that have a hand in the payments system,” Danvers remarked.

“The task force brought together a diverse group of organizations that have many different capabilities and experience, all of which were critical to studying the entire payments ecosystem,” said Reed Luhtanen, senior director of payments strategy at Walmart, who co-chaired the group with Danvers. “The resulting profiles will be an incredibly valuable resource for merchants, financial institutions and other businesses to use in educating anyone in their companies who has a role in payments, whether in customer support, information technology or product development.”

“The task force has been an important forum for bringing focus to our collective security dialogue, creating a foundation for ongoing collaboration on specific security topics,” said Ken Montgomery, the Federal Reserve’s payments security strategy leader and chief operating officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. “The security challenges facing the payments industry require broad cooperation and coordination across the payments ecosystem. Strong stakeholder collaboration is key to maintaining public confidence in the U.S. payment system and keeping pace with the rapidly evolving and expanding threat environment.

Read the full press release for more details.

Secure Payments Task Force to Conclude This Month

The Secure Payments Task Force will conclude its efforts in March with a final publication consisting of a collection of educational materials outlining the lifecycles and security profiles of today’s primary payment methods.

Task force participants will transition into the Federal Reserve’s FedPayments Improvement Community, established to provide stakeholders with opportunities to engage in the Federal Reserve’s ongoing payment improvement initiatives. As part of the community, task force participants will have opportunities to participate in work groups as they are established, to provide input into payments improvement efforts, and to attend online and in-person events.

“The Federal Reserve is grateful for the commitment demonstrated by these 200 industry leaders, and we are proud of the important work they’ve done to identify and establish payment security priorities,” said Esther George, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, who is leading the Federal Reserve’s payments improvement initiatives. “There is more work ahead, and we are counting on the payments community to continue to bring dedication and expertise to the pursuit of a more secure payment system.”

Established in June 2015 in support of the Federal Reserve’s Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System, the task force has engaged more than 200 financial institutions, consumer groups, payment service providers, financial technology firms, merchants, government agencies, and others interested in payment security improvement efforts.

Take a look at some of the Secure Payments Task Force’s accomplishments:

  • Identified key security improvement priorities of payment identity management, data protection, and information sharing to help reduce risk and fraud;
  • Developed an online reference for payment fraud and risk information-sharing data sources, including intelligence reports, payments fraud trends, best practices and/or benchmarks;
  • Documented payment lifecycles and security profiles (to be published in mid-March on to educate stakeholders and provide perspectives on the lifecycles of the most common payment types, including security methods, identity management controls, sensitive data involved, and relevant laws and regulations, as well as challenges and improvement opportunities related to each payment type;
  • Contributed to the development of security-related faster payments effectiveness criteria and assessment of faster payments solution proposals for the Faster Payments Task Force;
  • Provided feedback to the Federal Reserve on expanding fraud data reporting, resulting in an enhancement of the Federal Reserve’s Payment Study.

Stay tuned! As later this year, the Federal Reserve expects to initiate new collaborative industry work groups to advance the work begun by the task force, informed by a planned study to analyze payment fraud and security vulnerabilities, assess potential approaches to mitigate them, and identify misalignment of incentives that may hinder progress.

For more information, read the press release in its entirety.

Examining Market Structure Implications in the Faster Payments Market

Make sure to check out Faster Payments: Market Structure and Policy Considerations (Off-site) – a new working paper by Federal Reserve research staff that explores potential market structures in the new world of faster retail payments. This research aligns with the desired outcome of faster payments outlined in the Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System paper, released by the Federal Reserve in 2015. In order to pursue safe, ubiquitous and faster payments, the Federal Reserve convened the Faster Payments Task Force, a diverse group of stakeholders who set forth a roadmap for the industry to achieve its vision for faster payments. The market structure paper explores what that faster payments market could look like and the potential implications of different market arrangements.

The paper discusses three hypothetical market structure scenarios – a dominant-operator environment, a multi-operator environment, and a decentralized environment – and considers how those scenarios may affect efficiency, safety and ubiquity of faster payments. Outcomes in these scenarios are driven by factors like coordination costs and the degree of market power among participants. Highlights include each scenario’s unique set of benefits and challenges and examines some of the tools available to overcome those challenges. For example, interoperability and cross-platform governance arrangements can help mitigate difficulties with market fragmentation in environments with multiple providers.

Learn more by reading the paper (Off-site) in its entirety.