The Federal Reserve has narrowed the timing of the launch of its real-time payments service, FedNow, to the middle of next year.
The Fed is targeting a production rollout of the service for between May and July, finally bringing to conclusion a multi-year journey inching the US along a journey towards a payments system fit for the 21st century.
More than 120 organisations are currently participating in a pilot programme for the service, with technical testing set to start at the beginning of September.
When it launches, FedNow will be accessible to financial institutions of any size, enabling them to provide businesses and consumers with the ability to send and receive instant payments efficiently and securely.
In a speech, Fed vice chair Lael Brainard urged the private sector to get ready for the change.
She says: "Just as the Federal Reserve has made a substantial commitment to our new instant payment infrastructure, we are calling on industry stakeholders to do the same. The shift to real-time payment infrastructure requires a focused effort, but the shift is inevitable.
"The time is now for all key stakeholders—financial institutions, core service providers, software companies, and application developers—to devote the resources necessary to support instant payments.
"This means upgrading back-office processes, evaluating accounting procedures to accommodate a seven-business-day week, arranging liquidity providers, deploying a new customer-facing application, and promoting instant payments for key use cases to customers."
The launch is coming at a cost. In June the Fed decided to delay the implementation of the ISO 20022 payment messaging format by two years to 2025 in response to bank concerns that this process was hampering FedNow's rollout.