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]

P2P payments: Service evolves; community banks sign on

Since person-to-person payments became accessible to community banks roughly a decade ago, many have adopted the third party technology as a bank-branded service. Last June, a new P2P network hit the marketplace. Called Zelle, the service is an evolutionary step in P2P in terms of transaction speed. Owned by a conglomerate of some of the largest banks, the network has also been made available to community banks through partnerships with FIS, Fiserv, and Jack Henry and Associates. Steve Shaw, Fiserv’s vice president of strategic marketing and electronic payments, talked about the evolution of P2P, how it works and what’s coming next for the technology. [Continue]

Faster payments: Industry seeks modernization

Why can’t consumers and business managers send and receive payments as easily as they can send and receive email messages?

That’s a question Kevin Christensen has been pondering for some time. Christensen is vice president, risk and financial services, for SHAZAM, the Johnston, Iowa-based electronic funds transfer company. Along with Bob Steen, CEO of Bridge Community Bank, Mechanicsville, Iowa, and Tina Giorgio, president/CEO of ICBA Bancard & TCM Bank, Christensen participated in a panel discussion on payments at the annual convention of the Community Bankers of Iowa in Okoboji on July 21, one day prior to the long awaited release of the final report from the Federal Reserve’s Faster Payments Task Force.

Christensen highlighted the interoperability of the email system. Regardless of the company behind the email – Gmail, AOL, Yahoo and others – users can send and receive messages to and from each other without delay. Christensen said that level of “functional interoperability” is what he is seeking in payments. He said the technology already exists; the hurdles are mainly political. “Transferring payments from one organization to the next can occur easily if we just agree to do it,” he said. [Continue]