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Payments General

The US Federal Reserve to launch real-time payment service by 2024

Tuesday 6 August 2019 | 12:01 PM CET

The US Federal Reserve has announced it will build and operate a real-time payments system.

The Fed said that it expects the new service — called FedNow — to be available in 2023 or 2024. That is roughly in line with a timetable that the central bank established back in 2013. But it is well behind the subsequent goal of a Fed-convened task force, which said that by 2020, everyone in the US should be able to receive fast, secure payments.

The Clearing House, a payments company that is owned by the nation’s largest banks, has been operating its own real-time system since 2017. But many small banks and credit unions, wary that their interests will not be taken into account, have declined so far to sign up for the big-bank-owned system.

If a company that does not have a bank charter wanted access to the Fed’s system, that would require congressional approval, according to the Fed official. The Fed official also said that pricing for the service has not yet been determined, and that the agency will rely on market practices closer to the service’s launch to pinpoint what banks will be willing to pay. The official said the central bank has determined that it can achieve cost recovery over the long run.

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