Payments

Is a digital dollar the future of currency?

In March, the White House directed several federal agencies to research the pros and cons of a digital dollar. This raises a host of questions for banks, particularly when it comes to deposits and loans, which, you know, are kind of a big deal. For the general public, I have to think the topic is just generally confusing. Digital payments have been with us for a long time, after all. The type of digital dollar being discussed by the Feds would look a lot to the consumer like the digital money banks move around right now. But the back end of how the money is exchanged would change. [Continue]

Don’t cancel that check just yet

My dear mother, who is 92, took issue with a recent column by my esteemed colleague, Justin Dullum, in which he declared the death of the personal check. Of course, Justin is correct; the paper check is a much less common form of payment than it was years ago. But I think my mother is also correct: A lot of people still rely on checks.  [Continue]

Is FedNow the future of payments? Yes, and no

Gone are the days when a new technology solution or platform could be implemented and then left to run for a decade or more. Nowhere is that more true than in the world of payments, where rising customer expectations and increasing competition from both bank and non-bank actors require a level of foresight and responsiveness that smaller organizations may find difficult to build into their planning. [Continue]

Fast cash, dirty money and the barriers that keep people out

In the COVID-19 era, the merchants I frequent or the coffee shops that dot my commute have gone all-in on cards and touchless payments. Cash is increasingly being rejected by stores for its “filth.” The other day, I placed a $20 bill on a counter to buy a $5 coffee. When the cashier saw the bill, he audibly sighed, slipped on a nitrile glove and picked the thing up like it was a dead mouse.  [Continue]

Four ways to support small businesses in the new year

They say the only constant is change, and 2020 represented a sea change. The way we live, work, and yes, pay, has all been upended in many ways. And small businesses have borne the brunt of the upheaval. The numbers tell the depth of the struggle with reports indicating that 60 percent of small businesses forced to shut their doors due to the pandemic will never reopen. [Continue]

Payments a puzzle for community banks

With apps and growing demand for mobile payment options gradually pushing cash aside, banks face a conundrum on how to adjust to an ever-changing, competitive marketplace. It comes down to technology, what options the bank goes with, how effectively banks incorporate that into their culture, and how much they invest in it. [Continue]

Payment realities

Was anyone surprised when the Fed announced August 5 it would create a real-time payment and settlement service? The Fed has been the backstop clearing house for payments for more than a century; the evolution of those payments to digital is no reason for the Fed to back away from the crucial work of facilitating payments and settlement. [Continue]

A monopoly in the public interest?

The idea that only The Clearing House should provide real time payments and that competition from the Federal Reserve banks or others would hinder progress is wrong and inconsistent with over 100 years of experience. If we are to use history as a guide, evidence shows that having the Federal Reserve banks operating within the payments system has tremendously benefited the public. [Continue]

Community banks need to retain, grow role in payments system

Increasing competition from tech-based innovators demonstrates the importance of the payments system to the banking industry. Connect payments with information and you’ve got a powerful basis for business success. Paul Waltz, president of Shazam, likes to say the historical value of the banking franchise was in loans; today it is in deposits and in the future it will be in information. [Continue]