October 15, 2020

FedNow Pilot Program seeks participants

moneyThe Federal Reserve is looking for financial institutions – including credit unions – service providers, and payment processors to participate in its FedNow Pilot Program to support the development, testing, and adoption of the FedNow Service – the Fed's real-time payments system.

The Fed is currently accepting participant applications from members of the FedNow Community; interested organizations that are not currently a member of the community can enroll by submitting this participant profile form. The application to participate in the pilot program is available here; the deadline is Nov. 16.

In addition, the Fed indicated organizations that are not selected will have opportunities to provide input into the FedNow Service through their participation in FedNow Community roundtables, working groups and surveys, and may elect to become an early user of the service upon general availability. Additional participants may be added to later phases of the pilot.

The pilot program will include three phases – advisory, testing, and closed-loop production – during which pilot participants could be asked to participate in discussions or demos, test the service, engage service providers or users, and conduct other activities as needed.

In its announcement, the Fed said the pilot program will provide participating financial institutions:

  • opportunities to help shape service features, the user experience, onboarding and support processes, and future product releases;
  • inclusion in select FedNow press releases, web articles, and email communications published by the Fed; and
  •  collaboration through FedNow testing and the implementation processes.

The Fed in August released an update on the FedNow Service, indicating that it will be launched in phases with a target release date of 2023 or 2024. NAFCU responded to the update to share additional credit union feedback on adopting the platform.

NAFCU has previously shared with the Fed ways in which credit unions and their members would benefit from affordable faster payments capabilities as it encouraged an accelerated launch, and the association's Cybersecurity and Payments Committee engaged in early discussions with Fed representatives to discuss features and strategies that would promote early adoption.

NAFCU continues to lead on this issue, having served on both the Fed's Faster Payments and Secure Payments Task Forces. Additionally, NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger previously met with Fed Gov. Lael Brainard to encourage the Fed to play an operational role in a future, faster payments system. The association will continue to work with Fed as the FedNow Service is developed.