When Is a Real-Time Payment Not a Real-Time Payment?

Is the difference between real-time payments schemes and other fast payment mechanisms sufficiently understood?

When is a real-time payment not a real-time payment? This may seem like a simple question, but further investigation shows it’s a term that’s being applied to a wide range of payment types. This includes person-to-person payments such as Venmo and e-wallet providers such as ApplePay and GooglePay. This year sees significant geographies adopting real-time payment schemes. There’s SEPA CT Inst in the EU, the Clearing House Faster Payments Scheme in the USA and the New Payments Platform in Australia. These countries already have person-to-person and e-wallet payment mechanisms. In many cases, common parlance (if not industry participants) have referred to them all as real-time payments. Any mechanism that sees value transferred quickly is being referred to as a real-time payment, but including them as such is a false premise for a number of reasons.

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