The debate over a new faster infrastructure payment system is underway. The Federal Reserve Banks are holding discussions on the feasibility of a more technologically advanced national payment system. However, the Federal Reserve Board based in Washington, DC does not seem especially concerned about upgrading the current infrastructure, and some bank officials believe they will need a fair bit of convincing. Still, the Federal Reserve Banks have a strong case for change and are hosting talks to construct a business case for implementing faster payment solutions.
In a recent consultant report, the Fed concluded that constructing a brand new infrastructure would be the best solution for the nation. Currently, the United States lags behind other 1st world countries in terms of how long it takes for transactions to travel from point A to point B. The Fed points to U.S. reliance on East Coast banking hours – from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with weekends and holidays off as part of the problem. The Fed believes that the payment system speed could increase dramatically with an extension of banking hours, mandatory hours on the weekend, and/or 24×7 bank operations.
The talks have generated a plethora of ideas from a real-time payments infrastructure, to Federal leadership of banking infrastructure and/or Federal governance. Many participants have also voiced security concerns. They note that standards and protocols have not kept pace with the technological advancements that threaten the safety of consumer assets. The security of mobile payments was singled out as an example.
The study concluded that if the United States dollar is to stay competitive in the global market, it must keep pace with the other markets that are adopting the new internationally recognized ISO 20022 XML messaging standards. A system whose ultimate goal is to consolidate the payments platforms of corporations and banks to promote straight-through processing and lower costs.
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