Payment Processors and Third-Party Service Providers – Set Up Services and Access

The Federal Reserve offers a variety of Federal Reserve Financial Services (FRFS) to depository institutions (DIs) across the United States. Only DIs, or agents acting on behalf of a DI, are eligible to connect to FRFS payment rails.

Non-depository institutions who are interested in connecting to the FRFS payment rails (or those interested in helping to enable services for DIs) may be able to meet the FRFS eligibility requirements by obtaining proper authorization from a registered DI.

This document provides guidance to non-depository institutionsFootnote 1 on what to expect with the FRFS onboarding process.

Step 1 – Establish Eligibility

To start preparing to connect to FRFS payment rails, identify a partner DI(s) and begin coordinating with them.

As a non-depository institution, you will need to be proactive in identifying a DI who is willing to give your organization express authority to act on their behalf. State or federally chartered DIs can delegate to third parties the authority to act on their behalf with respect to conducting transactions and accessing the financial services and products available on FRFS payment rails. The DIs are responsible for performing due diligence and assume the risk of all activity conducted on their behalf (by you, the non-depository institution).

Your DI will be expected to complete the following tasks in assigning you this role:

  1. Complete a Sponsorship Agreement or Service Provider Agreement form that designates you as an agent authorized to act on behalf of the DI and obtain access to Federal Reserve Financial Services. An example form that ties to this role is Sponsorship Agreement for Software Products or Services Interacting with Fedwire® Funds Service and/or for Access to Technical Documentation (PDF).
  2. Confirm their relationship with you on the Electronic Transaction Identifier (ETI) application with LexisNexis Risk Solutions.
  3. Facilitate the service charges associated with your Federal Reserve Financial Services. The form that ties to this role is Federal Reserve Account Structure Guide, Attachment C – Service Provider Service Fee Settlement Authorization Form (PDF).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not complete or submit any forms to the Federal Reserve for processing before you have been assigned and met with a relationship manager. The documents are shared here for informational purposes only to help guide your conversations in working with your partner DIs. The list above is illustrative, not comprehensive, and does not reflect all of the documentation necessary to complete onboarding.

The three DI responsibilities outlined above can all be done by the same DI, or each responsibility can be done by a different DI. You must have these roles verbally agreed to and confirmed with DIs to be assigned a Federal Reserve relationship manager.

Once assigned, your relationship manager will help guide your organization through the process of establishing connectivity with the Federal Reserve. They will coordinate the necessary contractual agreements, answer questions, and provide ongoing support based on the individual needs of your organization. Reviewing the information contained within this guide will help you have a productive initial meeting with your relationship manager.

Step 2 – Prepare for Onboarding

After establishing a verbal relationship with your DI, you should familiarize yourself with the various decisions you will need to make to connect to FRFS. Clarifying your business objectives, available resources and internal timeline early on is recommended. This preparation step should be completed before reaching out to your relationship manager to set up an initial meeting.

Two major areas to consider include: 1) How will you connect? and 2) What resources are necessary to make it happen?

Consider your Federal Reserve Financial Services options

You will need to assess the different available FRFS connectivity offerings to determine which FedLine® Solution may be right for you:

FRFS connectivity offerings
Solution Description Payment Services Enabled Estimated Circuit Timeline
FedLine Direct® FedLine Direct utilizes a dedicated wide area network (WAN) for transport and uses third-party, off-the-shelf software support file transfer and messaging services. It offers a highly resilient network design and dedicated bandwidth to meet your growing payment needs. FedLine Direct provides an unattended internet protocol (IP)–based access method to critical payment services and is designed especially for organizations that require a highly secure computer-to-computer interface to FRFS. Fedwire Funds/Securities, FedACH®, FedNow®, Check 21 New FedLine Direct WAN circuits have an estimated timeline of 90-120 days for order and installation. Note that if you want to leverage a new FedLine WAN device(s), WAN devices should be ordered 3-6 months prior to testing.
FedLine Advantage® / FedLine Command® FedLine Advantage and FedLine Command utilizes internet-based virtual private network (VPN) hardware for secure data transmission between your institution's servers and the Federal Reserve Banks over the internet. Both offerings provide safeguards and access controls with confidential credentials. The offerings can be customized to your needs with three package options tailored to different subscriber and volume needs. FedLine Command is an unattended, server-based file solution, while FedLine Advantage is a user-based solution. FedACH, FedNow* New VPN devices have an estimated timeline of 7-14 days for order and installation.

*The FedNow Service is available via FedLine Advantage and FedLine Direct

Once enabled and authorized to do so by a DI, payments providers and others can process for multiple DIs through a single FedLine connection.
Note: Customers anticipating high volume for services are encouraged to evaluate the FedLine Direct connectivity option.

Regardless of which connectivity option you select, your organization must comply with all applicable security requirements regarding your electronic connection into the FRFS system. In addition, your organization will be required to conduct an annual self-assessment of your compliance with these security requirements.

For more information on connection options, visit the FedLine Solutions overview page.

Internal resources
Consider the level of commitment needed to operationalize this effort

You will need to determine how your organization will prioritize this project among competing priorities and human resources. In addition, you’ll want to consider how your organization’s systems, processes and the customer experience may need to adapt as your role evolves into a payments processor or other provider that maintains access to FRFS.

One aspect of this will be identifying the individuals within your organization that will work with FRFS throughout the onboarding process and thereafter. Suggested resources include technical contacts for network/application (connectivity), internal stakeholders (operations) and external vendors, as applicable.

Once you begin working with your relationship manager, you will then need to identify at least two individuals to serve as End User Authorization Contacts (EUACs) as outlined in the EUAC Designation and Authorization Form for FedLine Solutions (PDF). In the meantime, you can start thinking about who you will designate as your EUACs, but please do not complete the form until prompted by your relationship manager.

You can also begin thinking about who will be on your organization’s Official Authorization List (OAL) (PDF). Again, please only start to identify who you will designate to be on your OAL. Don’t complete the form until instructed to do so by your relationship manager.

Step 3 – Review Key Information

At any time during the process, whether you are still working on your relationship with a DI, or you are waiting to start your onboarding project with a relationship manager, you can learn more about FRFS by exploring this site.

Familiarize yourself with key online resources

Step 4 – Set up an Initial Meeting With Your Relationship Manager

Once you have established a solid relationship with a partner DI, reviewed the FRFS connectivity options, secured internal commitment to the effort, identified your authorized contacts (EUACs and OALs), and familiarized yourself with available FRFS information, you will be ready to productively engage with an assigned relationship manager.

The initial meeting with your relationship manager will serve as the first official step on the FRFS onboarding process. During this meeting, you and your relationship manager will discuss your plans, timeline and next steps. Your relationship manager will provide you with additional details about the services, set expectations and help you begin navigating the onboarding process. Coming prepared to this meeting can greatly help to expedite the onboarding process.

To begin this process, please send an email to


1Including but not limited to: payment processors, core banking providers, software companies, subsidiaries and affiliates of DIs, clearinghouses, fintechs and other service providers.

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