Monday, August 27, 2018
The U.S. market is moving closer to a faster payments environment. A new report from Mercator Advisory Group projects $255 billion will be sent this year via faster payments initiatives available in the U.S.
The projection represents just a fraction of total payments – in 2017 the top five card acquirers in the United States saw nearly $4 trillion in credit and debit card payments, and automated clearing house (ACH) payments topped $46 trillion, according to various sources. However, Mercator sees a strong growth trajectory; the consultancy projects the total of payments sent through faster payments networks will more than triple by 2021.
Sara Grotta, director of the debit and alternative products advisory service at Mercator, said a rash of new initiatives (like same-day ACH and Zelle) compelled the consultancy to revise upwards projections offered at the start of the year.
The greatest potential for faster payments, Grotta said, is with business-to-business (B2B) payments. Of the $255 billion in total payments sent via faster payments initiatives, $175 billion will be B2B payments, she said. Next year the B2B total is expected to reach $319 billion; a total of $743 billion in B2B payments will be sent using near-real-time mechanisms like RTP and the ACH.
Meanwhile, NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association has launched an initiative to help financial institutions, businesses and others plot faster payments strategies.
Financial institutions and their customers have long sought payment systems that complete transactions in as close to real-time processing as possible. The push really gained momentum in 2015 when the Federal Reserve convened a Faster Payments Task Force, which helped it articulate a vision for secure, ubiquitous faster payments by 2020.
Over the past three years, several organizations have introduced faster payments initiatives. These include:
With several options already available and others on the planning board, discerning the differences and benefits of each, and charting a faster payments plan, can seem a tall order for payment companies and their partners. The Faster Payments Playbook project, announced this week by NACHA, aims to help payments companies and their clients evaluate faster payment options.
It brings together experts from banking and business to develop playbooks that will serve as "living resources to help organizations understand the capabilities and attributes of faster payments solutions, make decisions appropriate to their customer bases and business needs, and develop go-forward strategies," NACHA explained in a statement.
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