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.

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