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Liana Muller of U.S. Bank on the milestone launch of the FedNow® Service

Liana Muller is senior vice president of emerging money movement product strategy at U.S. Bank (Off-site), a commercial bank operating more than 2,000 branches throughout the Midwest and West Coast.

We spoke with Muller to discuss the impact of the FedNow Service launch and how real-time payments benefit her business and its customers.

Q: The FedNow Service is live! Can you describe its impact on the payments industry?

A: “Instant payments are driving efficiencies by allowing users to transact in a way that’s immediate, certain and available 24/7. The FedNow Service is playing an important role in bringing instant payments to more consumers and businesses as more financial institutions enable this technology for their customers.”

Q: How are U.S. Bank clients using instant payments?

A: “Businesses increasingly recognize that providing a faster, more efficient payment experience for customers gives their business a competitive advantage. One example is in the auto industry, where consumers selling their vehicles online would part with their vehicle, but then wait 24 to 48 hours to be paid electronically or by check. An online car marketplace recognized this experience could be improved, so we worked to enable them to send payments instantly to the individual selling their car before the vehicle leaves their driveway. Another example – individual investors often experience several payment pain points moving money in and out of their accounts. Working closely with our client, we created an instant payments solution that helps investors move their money securely, instantly and 24/7.”

Q: From your perspective as a large financial institution, what were the biggest takeaways from implementation and resource planning for the FedNow Service?

A: “With instant payments, we’ve found many synergies that have helped us be more efficient with resources and maximize effectiveness for clients. With intelligent routing capabilities, we’ll help commercial clients move their instant payments seamlessly.

“Keeping the customer experience at the forefront of our product design and processes has also helped us tremendously. We put a lot of work into understanding the specific instant payments needs of our clients – both now and in the coming years. This has resulted in experiences that we know will add much more value than they are accustomed to with traditional payment methods.”

Q: With the FedNow Service here, why is it important for financial institutions interested in instant payments to act now?

A: “As more organizations start leveraging instant payments such as the FedNow Service, expectations will rise for all parties in the payment process – senders and receivers – around the speed, accuracy and timeliness of payments.”

Q: In what ways do you predict the payments industry will continue evolving?

A: “More and more, payments are becoming instant, embedded and connected to our everyday experiences. The launch of the FedNow Service is an important milestone in this transformation. Having more financial institutions offer instant payments will increase adoption and pave the way for related capabilities, such as Request for Payment. We expect instant payments to grow across consumer, business and government payment use cases, similar to the growth that has occurred in other countries around the world.

“In addition to instant payments, we’re seeing payments rapidly becoming more embedded in everyday experiences. In the past, a payment was a separate, often cumbersome exercise for businesses and consumers. By embedding our payment capabilities within existing user experiences, sending and receiving a payment is frictionless. For example, with business payments, we are embedding our payment capabilities within enterprise resource planning systems used by our customers so firms can pay a vendor within their regular workflows. With the use of more embedded payments, money movement will have fewer pain points and a better user experience for consumers and business alike.”

Pioneers of Now represent engaged financial institutions and service providers united by their commitment to early adoption of the FedNow Service (Off-site), which launched in July 2023. This is the ninth in a series of ongoing Pioneers of Now features (Off-site).