US bank-backed ACH The Clearing House (TCH) has signed a letter of intent with VocaLink to help build and deliver the core elements of a new real-time payments system.
The Clearing House announced in October last year that it was preparing to undertake a multi-year effort to build a new real-time processing platform, as the country finally begins to get to grips with its aging payment systems. The plans are part of a wider movement to overhaul the US's antiquated payments infrastructure.
The Clearing House says the ISO 20022 standard real-time payment system will be designed to address gaps in transaction processing and will enable consumers and businesses to securely send and receive immediate payments directly from their accounts at financial institutions.
The move demonstrates a sea-change in thinking among US financial institutions, which have been left behind as other countries have adapted their payments infrastructures to cater for the needs of digital consumers and businesses.
But with the pace of innovation showing no signs of slackening, the Federal Reserve has been pushing the industry to address the significant threats and opportunities that could arise from a move to update the payments rails to incorporate Faster Payments and improve security.
“Building a real-time payment system is centered around meeting customer needs,” says Jim Aramanda, CEO of The Clearing House. “I am confident that working together with VocaLink we can build the most innovative and widely used real-time payment system in the world.”
The contract is a major coup for VocaLink, which designed, built and manages the real-time technology behind the UK Faster Payments Service on behalf of the Faster Payments Scheme.
Since the service was launched in 2008, over 4 billion payments have been securely processed and the real-time infrastructure has provided a platform for further innovation, driving the development and proliferation of a wider range of services, including mobile payments.
VocaLink has sought to extend its technical know-how to other markets, missing out on a deal with Australia to international messaging network Swift, but winning out in Singapore with the implementation of the Fast payments service.
Separately, the US bank consortium behind the clearXchange network are to form a combination with bank-backed risk and authentication utility Early Warning to enable consumers to send money securely and in real-time.
As part of the transaction, US Bank and PNC are expected to join Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo as owners of Early Warning.
Paul Finch, CEO of Early Warning, comments: “With this acquisition, Early Warning is bringing together immediate funds availability, integrated authentication and fraud management capabilities into a single platform. The resulting security, reliability and consistency among financial institution payment services will provide a required catalyst to advance real-time payments."