Working Paper

Faster Payments : Market Structure and Policy Considerations


Abstract: The U.S. payments industry is in the process of developing ubiquitous, safe, faster electronic solutions for making a broad variety of business and personal payments. How this market for faster payments will evolve will be shaped by a range of economic forces, such as economies of scale and scope, network effects, switching costs, and product differentiation. Emerging technologies could alter these forces and lead to new organizational arrangements or market structures that are different from those in legacy payment markets to date. In light of this uncertainty, this paper examines three hypothetical market structures that may emerge: a dominant-operator environment, a multi-operator environment, and a decentralized environment. Each of these market structures has different implications for the public policy objectives of efficiency, safety, and ubiquity. The paper also considers tools to promote positive outcomes in each market structure.

Keywords: Faster payments; Market structure and competition; Payment system improvement; Public policy; Retail payments;

JEL Classification: D4; G2; L1; E42;

https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2017.100

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.)

Part of Series: Finance and Economics Discussion Series

Publication Date: 2017-09-25

Number: 2017-100