Payment Landscape

Payments are a part of our everyday life—from paying for groceries at a checkout counter, to receiving a salary payment through direct deposit. For the majority of these payments, traditional payment methods are used: wire transfers, Automated Clearing House (ACH), cards, checks, and cash (More information about current U.S. payment systems can be found in Appendix 3 of The U.S. Path to Faster Payments: The Faster Payments Task Force Approach). The market continues to develop a variety of channels to initiate and accept payments, such as online and mobile payment applications, that provide greater speed and convenience for end users[1] while relying on traditional payment methods like cards and ACH.

Traditional and new payment methods provide many options for consumers and businesses to make and receive payments; however, none of today’s payment methods fully satisfies the goals for a faster payment system as articulated in the task force’s Faster Payments Effectiveness Criteria. And while innovative new payment solutions are being developed to meet demands for greater speed and convenience, these new solutions cannot easily provide a way for a faster payment to be sent seamlessly between any two end users.

Because the implementation of faster payments in the United States may involve the development of new infrastructures, an opportunity exists to create payment systems that better meet stakeholder demand for improvements in not only speed, but also ubiquity, efficiency, safety, security, legal framework, and governance.

Why Faster Payments?

The task force believes that now is the time for the payment industry to implement faster payments solutions.

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Payments in the U.S.

The way we make payments has shifted dramatically in recent years with many new tools and technologies shaping today’s commerce.

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Faster Payments Around the World

While the United States payments infrastructure and economy differ from other countries, insights on faster payment system design from various international implementations can provide considerable value.

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Benefits of Faster Payments

While there are always costs and risks involved in implementing new technology, faster payments solutions with broad reach and strong safety standards in place could lead to many benefits for society as a whole.

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[1] An end user is “an Entity that uses a payment solution, payment network, or payment service for the purpose of making or receiving payments, such as a business or a consumer.” See

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