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US Federal Reserve launches instant payment service, FedNow

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The Federal Reserve has officially launched its highly anticipated new instant payment service, FedNow. This service is now available for banks and credit unions of all sizes to sign up and utilize, enabling them to offer instant funds transfers to their customers. The Fed emphasized that this service is designed to operate “any time of the day, on any day of the year.”

The plan for FedNow was initially revealed by the Federal Reserve in Q1 2023, with a targeted launch date set for Q2 of July 2023. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell explained that the goal of this product is to facilitate faster and more convenient everyday payments in the years to come.

He also mentioned that once the service is established, individuals and businesses will have the ability to receive immediate paychecks or access funds instantly upon receiving an invoice.

Following the launch, approximately 35 early-adopting banks and credit unions, including the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, have recorded their involvement, according to Fed records.

Furthermore, the Federal Reserve has disclosed that payment processing for banks and credit unions can be handled by 16 service providers. The advantages offered by FedNow to consumers and businesses become apparent when there is a need for faster access to funds or when just-in-time payments help manage cash flows in bank accounts.

Moreover, the Federal Reserve is considering integrating this solution into banks’ mobile apps. This would allow customers of participating banks and credit unions to conveniently access the service from their app.

The FedNow Service will operate alongside other Federal Reserve payment services like Fedwire and FedACH. The Federal Reserve has expressed its commitment to collaborating with over 9,000 banks and credit unions nationwide to ensure widespread availability of this service for their customers in due course.

In their statement, the Federal Reserve also mentioned early adopters of the service, including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. As outlined in Q1, these early adopters have been actively involved in customer testing and certification phases as part of the product’s pilot program.

In addition, the Federal Reserve has announced its plans to offer a comprehensive range of vital clearing and settlement functions alongside the launch of the FedNow Service, as revealed in the Match announcement.

This new launch has sparked speculation that it may be a significant move toward the development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

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