FedNow, the highly anticipated instant payment service, is set to launch mid-2023 and deliver significant changes to fintech companies and new players coming into the payments space. A recent article highlights how FedNow, the central bank’s new instant payment infrastructure, will offer retail payments in real-time, 24/7, 365 days a year. Recipients of payments will have immediate access to their funds.
FedNow’s core objective is facilitating faster access to funds for both merchants and consumers to better manage their cash flow, at a reduced cost, and lower payment risk.
The launch could pose challenges for fintechs that currently rely on existing payment rails, as well as credit and debit interchange fees. Likewise, non-bank providers that offer peer-to-peer payment services will also be feeling the impact, as FedNow is only available to traditional U.S. banks.
These participating banks will be extending their instant payment service to businesses. Therefore, e-commerce merchants that hold accounts with participating banks can be the recipients of instant payments. Furthermore, if merchants enable an instant payment option for customers to choose when paying online, this will drive costs down as opposed to using debit or credit card rails.
As more consumers look for faster, seamless, and convenient payments, businesses too are seeing the benefits as they can more easily manage their cashflow and make last-minute payments to their suppliers. FedNow is set to expand its offerings for all types of transactions.
“Currently, instant payments are utilized in the U.S. for peer-to-peer (P2P) transaction types and are most frequently facilitated on platforms such as Zelle, Venmo, ApplePay, /GooglePay, or PayPal,” said Sophia Gonzalez, Research Analyst for Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group.
FedNow will enable all transaction types beyond P2P, such as paying a merchant at the point-of -sale, businesses paying businesses, and beyond. FedNow could also replace nearly all current payment solutions, including card payments and direct ACH payments.
Current regulation is struggling to keep up with instant payments. This article points out how consumer protections on the Zelle platform need improvement. It is imperative for regulators to get ahead of innovation.”
Although still a work in progress, the upcoming launch of FedNow will be moving things in the right direction. We have written about how FedNow will be addressing the most pressing consumer need for faster, instant payments here.