One of the hottest topics in the payments industry today is faster payments. Consumers want a seamless payment experience, a mix of fintechs and financial institutions are releasing new services to meet this demand. 

Be it new payment rails or the sleek customer-facing interfaces that leverage them, the payments landscape is undergoing a transformation. If not understood right, faster payments can be a complicated topic because the term refers to a myriad of different products and services. 

Nacha’s Payments Innovation Alliance and the U.S. Faster Payments Council (FPC) have jointly launched the Faster Payments Playbook, an online educational and a resource to assist banks and financial institutions to create and implement a faster payments strategy.

The Playbook Starts off with Payments 101, designed to impart a foundational understanding of faster payments and the momentum behind its adoption. The term “faster payments” is broadly used in the payments industry to indicate simply that increased speed, convenience and accessibility are essential features for the future of the payment and settlement system. It’s also important to note that a key component of faster payments is the more efficient and transparent provisioning of information related to the transaction.

After defining what faster payments means, the Playbook lists some of the major faster payment offerings:
  • Same-Day ACH from Nacha
  • Real-Time Payments (RTP®) from The Clearing House
  • Zelle® from Early Warning
  • Mastercard Money Send from Mastercard
  • Visa Direct from Visa
  • FedNow from the Federal Reserve (as proposed in August 2019)
The rest of the Playbook is divided into the following sections:
  • Prepare for Change: It’s important that companies gather the information and evaluate their faster payment needs, determine how they can best fit into the marketplace, and establish what technologies they may need to invest in. 
  • How to Develop Your Faster Payments Strategy: The Playbook encourages financial institutions to establish an internal team comprised of all the necessary stakeholders. The team should assess the relevant information and outline a strategy of how to move forward also reviewed and revised as needed.
  • How to Communicate Your Strategy: When a plan is agreed upon by the team, it’s important to communicate it to the entire organization, identifying who is responsible for what at each stage. It’s also important to educate everyone on what the benefits of the plan are, which can be done through small group discussions, and presentations, among other options.
  • How to Develop Your Internal Education Plan: In crafting an education plan, consider process and policy changes that could impact specific areas. Training also needs to be designed to address specific roles and departments. (The information presented to the board of directors might differ from should be presented to the legal department.)
While this Playbook is designed to help financial institutions develop a faster payments strategy, the next version is geared for business end-users.

Access the Faster Payments Playbook here.