Amazon, Google and other big brands – including Stripe, PayPal and Square – are supporting a role for the Federal Reserve in creating a sustainable structure for real-time payments in the U.S.
The goal? To connect all U.S. banks and credit unions and facilitate a more effective and efficient payments ecosystem.
“We applaud the Board for thinking boldly and working to lead the United States towards a modern payments infrastructure that serves the needs of all Americans,” trade group Financial Innovation Now (FIN) wrote in a letter submitted to the Federal Reserve Board. FIN said that it represented technology companies including Amazon, Apple, Google, Intuit, PayPal, Square and Stripe.
The letter came in response to a request from the Federal Reserve Board for comments on ways the Federal Reserve could support a U.S. system for faster payments.
The group said that it agrees “strongly” with the Fed’s proposal to develop a real-time gross settlement service. It cited its members’ role in developing technologies to improve money management and commerce for both consumers and businesses and listed financial inclusion among the reasons for its support.
“While the mobile internet is improving access to money, the speed of money may matter more, particularly for the half of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck,” the letter said.
The group also noted that small businesses are “underserved” by the current system and argued that a real-time system would “help solve liquidity constraints” for those businesses.
The group cited the strong growth of its members’ services as evidence of strong demand for improved payments services.
This support pits the tech companies against big banks in the U.S. According to an article in American Banker, the bigger banks dispute the idea in part because of the potential to slow the interoperability and progress of their already-existing and functional clearing house system.
Smaller banks, however, feel pinched with the inability to set their own pricing should they have to depend on the bigger banks for settlement. An interoperable settlement system would largely benefit them and their ability to cater to their clientele, the American Banker article said.