- Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) is pitching itself to central banks around the world with a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that it says can help them launch or update their real-time payments systems, according to an Aug. 25 news release from the company.
- Five countries have tapped Jacksonville, Florida-based FIS for the service, with a sixth country implementing it later this year, according to information from FIS Senior Director Julia Demidova, provided by a company spokesperson. The spokesperson declined to name the countries.
- As central banks around the world explore creating central bank digital currencies, FIS is also seeking to assist them with the launch and integration of their own CBDCs through its virtual lab, the release said.
Real-time payments may sound simple, but “the reality of delivering on that promise is enormously sophisticated, especially when doing so across borders,” said Aman Cheema, head of global real-time payments and CBDCs at FIS, per the news release. With the real-time payments service, FIS aims to streamline the process, “bringing consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments closer together in the payments ecosystem,” Cheema said.
The company aims to help spur the adoption of real-time payments, with its new services, by linking a country’s government entities, financial institutions, businesses and consumers to domestic and international real-time networks, the release said.
Faster payments have become expected in an increasingly digital world, and that’s ramped up anticipation for real-time payments new systems, like the Federal Reserve’s soon-to-be-launched FedNow system.
The U.S. has lagged other countries such as India, Brazil, China, Thailand and South Korea when it comes to real-time payments. But the Fed expects to launch its FedNow Service in mid-2023, Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman said earlier this month. That government-backed instant payments system will operate in competition with the RTP Network, a private real-time system run by The Clearing House.
FIS is also providing services “that will allow countries to experiment, pilot and accelerate live CBDC implementations,” the release said.
The Fed also is considering the possibility of creating a central bank digital currency (CBDC), which is envisioned as a government-run, block chain-based payments system. That testing ground allows central and commercial banks to pilot CBDC aspects like issuance, transfer and redemption, as well as retail, wholesale and cross-border payments, the news release said.
Last year, IBM and Mastercard helped build an instant payments system for the Saudi Central Bank. The Saudi Arabian government wants to make 70% of the country’s transactions cashless by 2030.