Call for Papers - Developments in Fast Payments

Call for Papers

Special Issue of Journal of Payments Strategy & Systems

Guest-Editor, Holti Banka, World Bank

Submission deadline: 10th August 2021

In the digital age when information and services are accessed in real time, there has been a growing demand from individuals and businesses to also have instant access to funds by the receiver (payee) of a payment transaction. Traditionally, this has happened only with some types of large value transactions and “on-us” retail transactions.

The pressure to have instant access to funds, coupled with technological advancements and standardisation of financial messaging, have resulted in the emergence of so-called fast payments (also known as instant or real-time payments). Fast payments are supported by 24/7/365 payment system availability and characterised by the instant crediting of the payee’s account.

Data indicate that fast payments are being embraced by jurisdictions across the board by geography, income status, and payment system development. The implementation rate of fast payment systems mimics that of RTGS systems, the backbone of national payment system infrastructures. 

The enthusiasm for fast payments can be explained by their value proposition and the concrete benefits associated with their implementation and use. Fast payments have been particularly impactful for certain payment types such as person-to-person, person-to-business, business-to-business, and government-to-person. The instant availability of funds for the payee is a crucial feature, particularly in cases where time is of the essence. For example in the COVID-19 pandemic several countries have utilised their fast payment systems to disburse emergency government funds to beneficiaries.   

Fast payments have been viewed as an option for the facilitation of cross-border payments, as well. Given the inefficiencies of the current correspondent banking model, several international bodies, including the G20 and the FSB, have called for the exploration of new models and technologies that could be used to facilitate fast and cost efficient cross-border payments and remittances. In this context initial experiments of countries, bilaterally or multilaterally, linking their domestic payment systems, have shown that fast payments can play an important role. 

On the technology side, the deployment of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in the context of fast payments have enabled FinTech companies to build or offer overlay services, ultimately widening the spectrum of what is offered to end users as part of fast payments (an example is request-to-pay). Collaboration and competition between incumbent and new types of payment service providers has encouraged innovation and reduced costs. In addition, the deployment and use of quick response (QR) codes to initiate and accept fast payments at the point of sale via a mobile phone, has further contributed to the user-friendly experience. Fast payments can also be validated via proxies (such as mobile phone number, email, national ID number, social media credentials) instead of bank account numbers, thus adding to convenience and privacy. 

Fast payments have also been seen as drivers for greater financial inclusion.  They can be built on a system which is open to bank and non-bank payment service providers, such as card schemes and mobile phone operators. A system that processes more than one type of payment instrument, and supports a variety of access channels and use cases, can accommodate the needs of diverse population segments, including vulnerable or financially excluded communities.

Countries adopting fast payments need to ensure their design supports market specificities and addresses the needs of the end users. Ultimately, these countries need to do so with a forward looking view so that those systems are also compatible with services and technologies that might gain more prominence in the near or distant future, as is the case with central bank digital currencies. Moreover, cyber resilience remains a challenge as cyber attacks on the financial sector and payment systems are evolving fast. This cyber safety challenge has been a focus for payment system overseers in the different jurisdictions. 

Given the nature of fast payments, designing robust dispute resolution mechanisms and anti-money laundering checks (such as the PFMI Principles for FMIs) are challenges that will need to be addressed by designers and implementors. Liquidity and credit risk mechanisms are also of high importance for the settlement of fast payments. 

In light of all these developments in fast payments, the Journal invites experts from academia, think tanks, international development organisations, private sector, central banks, government agencies, regulatory bodies, and beyond, to share their views in this special edition on fast payments. Topics of particular interest for this special issue are:

Design and Implementation Aspects

-    Lessons learned from jurisdictions with a live fast payment scheme and system.

-    How can fast payment uptake and usage be further stimulated?

-    How can the uptake and usage of cross-border fast payment schemes (eg for remittances) be further stimulated?

-    Technology aspects and overlay services for a successful fast payment system implementation (APIs, QR codes, aliases, request-to-pay).

-    Pros and cons of ISO20022 for fast payments.

-    Pros and cons of the different settlement models in fast payments.

Cooperation and Competition

-    The role of central banks and the PFMI principles in the fast payments space.

-    Governance aspects (scheme and/or processing) of fast payment systems.

-    Creating a level playing field for different types of payment service providers to access a fast payment system. 

-    Interoperability between fast payment systems and legacy payment systems. 

-    Navigating cost structure and pricing models of fast payments. 

-    Open banking and fast payments.

-    Legal/regulatory adjustments in the context of fast payments to foster competition. 

Risk Mitigation Mechanisms 

-    Liquidity and credit risk management mechanisms in fast payments.

-    Dispute resolution mechanisms and consumer protection in fast payments.

-    AML/CFT aspects in fast payments and compliance with the FATF recommendations

-    Cyber resilience in fast payment systems.

Use Cases

-    Implications of fast payments for financial inclusion and reaching vulnerable communities. 

-    Utilising fast payments for encouraging digital payment acceptance by micro merchants. 

-    Implications of fast payments for e-commerce (consumer-to business, in both domestic and cross- border payments)

-    Implications of fast payments  for business-to-business payments (domestic and cross border). 

-    Leveraging fast payments for government payment disbursements, including for COVID-19 emergency payments. 

-    Opportunities and challenges of fast payments to facilitate cross-border transactions. 

Looking Forward

-    Differences and complementarities between fast payments and central bank digital currency.

-    Implications of fast payments for RTGS 24/7/365 operation. 

-    Innovations in fast payments in the near and distant future.

Submission guidelines

The deadline for the submission of articles to this special issue is the 10th August 2021 

The following types of articles will be considered for publication:

  • Practice articles: Practice articles: Thought leadership pieces, regulatory updates, briefings, case studies and other contributions written by practitioners. Articles should be 2,000 to 5,000 words in length.
  • Research papers: Research papers: Contributions which explore new models, theories and research on fast payments. The principal management implications of the submission should be included. Articles should be up to 6,000 words in length.  

Author guidelines, sample articles and other relevant information about the journal can be found here.

Questions about this issue may be directed to the Guest Editor, Holti Banka and Julie Kerry, the Publisher.

Manuscript submissions and enquiries should be submitted to the Publisher, Julie Kerry