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Pioneers of Now: Kevin Olsen of Pidgin on advocating for industrywide access to instant payments

Pidgin (Off-site), a secure real-time payments platform, is part of more than 120 pilot organizations in the FedNowSM Pilot Program supporting development, testing and early adoption of the FedNow Service. Kevin Olsen, Pidgin’s senior vice president of innovation and strategy, said Pidgin joined the FedNow Pilot Program to support community institutions and advocate for instant payments at a grassroots level, ensuring all financial institutions have access to instant payments.

“Being an early adopter of the FedNow Service means being able to learn firsthand from the people who are building the service, so we can take that knowledge and share it with the rest of the industry,” Olsen said. Olsen explain further in a recent interview:

Q: Can you describe how the prevalence of instant payments might impact the broader payments industry?

A: “It’s like smartphones…before we had them, we didn’t know what we were missing. But now, we are so used to having the convenience and information at our fingertips that we can’t imagine life without them. The same will happen when it comes to instant payments — as they become standard throughout the industry, we will become accustomed to having the ability to put money into the hands of people who need it at any time of day, without the restrictions that we see now.”

Q: Do you have any advice for financial institutions who are in the early planning stages for instant payments?

A: “You do not have to be all things to all people. As a service provider, we want community financial institutions to understand they do not have to be technologists when they are planning for instant payments implementation. They can be what they are good at, and that is being operational partners for their account holders.”

Q: Are there any instant payments use cases that you are most excited about?

A: “One of the biggest use cases we see is for loan payments. We want to give community credit unions and community banks the ability to collect and process loan payments instantaneously so it's beneficial for both sides. That means no heartache over late fees or penalized credit scores for consumers.”

Q: What will the payments landscape look like in 10 years?

A: “In 10 years, there will be more white in my beard, that's for sure. But payments are going to steadily evolve. I believe we're going see fewer checks, fewer wires and we will absolutely see the prevalence of instant payments.”

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

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