The US Faster Payments Council has issued a report, Faster Payments and Financial Inclusion, exploring the readiness and preparation of financial institutions to implement faster payment solutions and their impact on financial inclusion.

The industry survey aims to identify the commercial and product features necessary to enhance financial inclusion through faster payments. The survey incorporates input from banks, credit unions, payment providers, and businesses.

“Our latest survey reveals promising progress in the adoption of faster payments across a diverse range of financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, and payment providers,” said Anthony Serio, Chief Risk Officer at Sphere Labs and FPC Financial Inclusion Work Group Chair.

“The survey highlighted concerns related to fee variability, cross-border payment capabilities, and the essential need for stronger consumer protections and trust-building measures. Our mission moving forward is clear. To ensure that faster payments evolve not just in terms of speed and efficiency, but also become truly inclusive, addressing the needs of all Americans comprehensively.”

Inclusion ‘pain points’

Key findings from the survey reveal that while a majority of financial institutions are actively engaging with faster payments, significant work remains to address inclusion “pain points.”

Only 56% of respondents currently offer faster payments, with an additional 35% planning to do so.

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“While financial institutions are beginning to engage with faster payments, their efforts to ensure financial inclusion are in the early stages, and much work needs to be done,” said David True, Partner at PayGility Advisors and the FIWG Survey Subgroup Lead.

“Our survey identifies the critical areas where institutions must focus to ensure that faster payment solutions are accessible and beneficial to all, especially the unbanked and underserved populations.”

The need for better education and improvements in the user experience

The report further underscores that financial institutions must address several key areas to enhance financial inclusion. These include the need for better education and awareness about faster payment options among consumers. It highlights the need for improvements in user experience to ensure accessibility for all demographics. And the need for enhanced collaboration among stakeholders to build a more inclusive payment ecosystem. The findings suggest that targeted initiatives and partnerships can play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between faster payments and financial inclusion.

“The FPC is committed to helping foster an inclusive financial ecosystem,” said FPC Executive Director Reed Luhtanen. “This survey report provides valuable insights that will guide our members in creating faster payment solutions that truly serve the needs of all consumers, leading to a more equitable financial landscape.”