Oct 6, 2017

Working to Make Faster Payments Possible

Faster payments could improve cash flow management, budgeting, spending and investing, the task force says. And they could help people avoid short-term financing or making unintentional overdrafts. Faster payments could also help small businesses receive funds faster, and they may make global transactions faster and easier.

Polly Thorsness, Bell Bank’s senior vice president of deposit operations, was one of only two people from North Dakota to work on the task force.

“I was very interested in understanding how the Federal Reserve is working toward faster payments,” says Polly, who started in banking in 1981 and has worked in operations and payments her entire career. “It’s great for Bell to be part of the process.”

Financial institutions of all sizes, consumer groups, technology companies and government were all part of the task force. They made decisions based on the following criteria:

  • The system must be easy to use and accessible to everyone, even people who do not use banks.
  • The system must be efficient, while allowing for competitive differences between companies.
  • Payments need to be secure.
  • Money behind the payments needs to move quickly.
  • The playing field needs to be level, and regulations need to apply to all companies that work in payments, whether retailers, credit unions or banks.
  • Checks need to be implemented to make sure all players comply with the new regulations.

Companies then offered proposals on what a faster payment system might look like.

“Regulations need to keep up with consumer demand,” Polly remarks. “When I pay you, I want to know you received and can use the money. Instant gratification is what our world is working toward.”

The task force has now disbanded, and smaller groups will move the faster payment system forward, with an implementation goal of 2020.

You can read the task force's final report at FasterPaymentsTaskForce.org.