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FedNow Instant Payments FAQs

What are Instant payments?

Instant Payments are payments that are settled instantly. Also known as real-time payments, it refers to the processing of payments in real-time, 24 hours a day, all year long, where the funds are made available immediately for use by the recipient.

Are Instant payments and Real-time payments the same?

Yes. Federal Reserve uses the term Instant payments while The Clearing House uses Real-Time payments (RTP).

What is the FedNow service?

FedNow is a new real-time payments service from the Federal Reserve that would enable financial institutions in the U.S. to clear and settle transactions in virtually instantaneous fashion. The interbank settlement service will operate 24x7x365.

Who is developing the FedNow service?

FedNow is a service being developed and launched by Federal Reserve in its role to foster a safe and efficient payment and settlement systems.

When will FedNow be available?

FedNow service will be launched to the public in January 2023. Pilot participants can start testing in April 2022, ready to launch in January 2023 and early adopters can launch FedNow services in January 2023.

What is the FedNow Pilot program?

FedNow pilot refers to the limited pilot testing launched by Federal Reserve to safely rollout the payment rail. The FedNow pilot starts from April 2022 with more than110 participants chosen by FedNow.

FedNow Pilot Program

Does FedNow offer interoperability?

The FedNow Service is committed to using the widely accepted ISO 20022 standard and other industry best practices to help remove incompatibilities that could be a barrier to payment routing, a form of interoperability, between the FedNow Service and RTP.

How will FedNow help businesses?

Businesses, large and small, will benefit from improved cash-flow, great back office operational efficiency because of real-time clearing and settlement. Improved cash flow is crucial for small businesses, as 82% cite cash flow problems as a factor in their failure.

What are the participation types for the banks?

FedNow can opt almost any combination of participation types. Each participation type allows for several different configurations to be flexible and meet each financial institution’s needs. - Send and Receive - Receive only - Liquidity management transfers(suitable for Liquidity providers, Bankers banks and CCUs) - Settlement services (suitable for Liquidity providers, Bankers banks and CCUs)

FedNow Participation types

Can financial institutions choose to opt for 'RECEIVE only' participation?

Yes, financial institutions can opt for RECEIVE only. They will not be able to initiate customer payments but can return payments received, avail liquidity. They will also be able to send, but not receive RFPs, as they cannot SEND payments in response to RFPs.

What are settlement services?

Settlement services act as the foundation for most payment systems, as they provide a universal way for the sender’s depository institution to settle a payment by moving funds to the receiver’s depository institution. Like other payment and settlement services offered by the Federal Reserve, the service will settle obligations between depository institutions through debit and credit entries to balances in their master accounts at the Reserve Banks.

What is liquidity management?

Financial institutions have to meet liquidity requirements in their master account to ensure fund availability to process payments. Considering FedNow is a round the clock service, liquidity management functions now have to support the new 24x7x365 needs. Financial institutions can choose this as a stand-alone participation option if they do not wish to enable other FedNow capabilities.

What is ISO20022?

ISO2022 refers to global messaging standards enforced by a modelling methodology to capture in a syntax-independent way financial business areas, business transactions and associated message flows.

Will FedNow support ISO20022?

FedNow will support ISO20022 messaging standards allowing for interoperability of the payment rail with other payment systems and rails.

Can banks use both FedNow and RTP?

Yes, banks can choose to offer one or both of the instant payment rails. They can choose to start with one and add another, or drop one and add another. This becomes easy with payment hubs like Finzly's Payment Galaxy that support interoperable rails and make switching between rails easy.

Will FedNow cannibalize other payment rails?

FedNow is a payment rail launched independent of existing payment rails to support instant payments. It does not mean the end of any existing payment rail including FedWire, ACH or SWIFT. The instant payment rails will drive more payment volumes through the FedNow network, for those payments that need speed and can benefit from the richness of data.

How is Instant payments adoption across the world?

More than 60 countries across the world have implemented instant payments. This includes most of Europe, Mexico, China, India, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, among others. Instant payments is expected to grow at an average 40% rate Y-o-Y.

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