We’ve seen dozens of articles about the news that the Federal Reserve will develop the FedNowSM Service (Off-site), a new round-the-clock real-time payment and settlement service to support faster payments in the United States. Here’s what you need to know about next steps in the development of this service.
How can the industry provide input?
The August Federal Register notice (Off-site) asked for formal comments on all aspects of the FedNow Service by November 7. FedNow Program Executive Ken Montgomery and others on his team are attending industry conferences, holding calls and meetings and conversing with industry stakeholders to better understand the features and functionality that are most important to you. The Fed also answered questions on webinars in August and September (Off-site). Be sure to check out the Action Item below to learn how you can submit your comments.
What happens after November 7?
The Federal Reserve will carefully assess the comments it receives to determine the FedNow Service’s desired features, product design and a pathway to launch. We intend to publish a FedNow Service description in another Federal Register notice next year. To introduce the service as quickly as is feasible, we expect to initially offer the most necessary features, adding enhancements over time. We also seek to enhance FedLine® Solutions to support 24x7x365 operation. FedLine Solutions currently provide access to Reserve Bank payment and information services to more 10,000 financial institutions, directly or through their agents.
What questions is the industry asking?
There are many important questions – such as pricing – that simply can’t be answered until we make foundational product design decisions. We’re also hearing questions about the scope of our proposed service. It’s important to note that the FedNow Service will connect financial institutions, which in turn will build business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) and person-to-person (P2P) applications on top of our platform – so this is an opportunity for private sector innovation and development of new use cases. In addition, we’re being asked about the potential expansion of Fedwire® Funds Service and National Settlement Service operating hours. This decision has operational implications for the payments industry, markets and others, so we’re taking the time to do more analysis. Be sure to read the Board of Governors’ frequently asked questions (Off-site) to see what other important questions are being asked and answered.
What else is happening?
The Federal Reserve has talked with numerous other central banks around the world about their real-time gross settlement services for faster payments. Montgomery and team are now holding follow-up discussions on how other central banks implement, evolve and manage their services. Leveraging international insights will be helpful even though the U.S. payment system is larger and more complex than the ecosystems in other countries.
Submit comments on the Federal Register notice through November 7, 2019, via one of the options listed below. All comments will be posted to the Board website without alteration except when necessary for technical reasons or to remove sensitive personally identifying information.
- Board website: Follow the instructions for submitting or viewing comments on the Proposals for Comment (Off-site) page
- Email: Send an email to email@example.com and include the docket number, OP-1670, in the subject line
- Fax: (202) 452-3819
- Mail: Ann E. Misback, Secretary, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20551