Learning about RTP(c) and Other New Payment Options

Update as of January 2023

Work has been tooling along on the two projects as outlined below.  On January 26, 2023, we gave our Board of Directors a quick update on the “receive” project, as well as a summary of the research we’ve done so far on the “Send” side.

Open the project update presentation

Open the research summary 

The Research Project

Starting in the fall of 2022, CU*Answers began studying the evolving world of payment processing, specifically the RTP© Network (The ClearingHouse) and FedNowSM (Federal Reserve) programs, and third-party partners who may be able to help us hook into these systems in order to receive funds for our credit unions on behalf of their members. Our goal was to understand the scope of potential projects, who we could partner with to connect, technical details about how the process works, and potential implications for fraud management.

Remember that these are payment options in addition to regular ACH.  Whatever we do with these new payment channels will have no effect on our current ACH processes and functionality.

What We’ve Learned

In September and October we met with representatives from both Corp One and Vizo to get a brain dump on what they know about both FedNow and RTP and what their respective organizations have been doing. Based on these early conversations it’s clear that the RTP rail (via The ClearingHouse) is further along the path where we could start looking at an actual development project.

Some key takeaways from our conversations:

  • These aren’t just faster ACH – there’s a completely separate payment rail.
  • The front-end user experience is different from the rails:
    • The front-end is where the instructions are entered by the business or consumer, the rail is the back end that actually moves the money.
    • A CU must be a participant on a rail in order for the front-end experience to be able to use that rail on behalf of the CU’s members.
    • The front-end experience might actually use multiple rails. For example, Zelle, PayPal, Venmo and the like are just front-end apps that allow payments to be made via various rails, including RTP – but using those does not put a CU on the RTP rail.
    • Per Corp One, 250+ FIs are using the RTP rail now, only 45 of which are credit unions.
  • RTP is a credit-push model only – can only send credits (no pulling money from someone’s account).
    • RTP requires a core-to-core connection (one FI to another FI) so money can be sent from one consumer to another, or from one business to another business or consumer.
    • Similar to a wire, payment is final, instantly settled and confirmed – once the money is sent, it’s gone.
  • There are three transaction types: Receive, Send, and Request a Payment.
    • A Receive does not require the FI to build a front-end experience, nor is there any pre-funding requirement (the CU doesn’t need to set up an FRB NY account).
    • CUs must be able to receive up to $1 million in a single transaction.  If the account number in the deposit is not valid, a message is sent back to the sender and the transaction is cancelled; the CU doesn’t have to do anything.

What We’re Planning

  1. We are planning to invest in the RTP solution, starting on the Receive side, so CUs can receive payments via RTP on their members’ behalf. We will be working with Corporate One/Sherpa and their solution to start. This will be a 2023 development project.  Status as of November 2022: Project #60155 has been created and is going through the approval and design process.
  2. When it comes to the Send and Request a Payment sides, we are still in the very early study phases. This will likely require us to build a new front-end experience, from the ground up, including all of the rules to govern how payments can be sent. What we are asking CUs to do now is think about what they would want those rules to be. Remember – once the money is sent, you can’t get it back. What is your risk tolerance and what controls would you want in place?


Chefs for this recipe: Dawn Moore, Keegan Daniel, Jim Vilker, Jeff Miller

January 31, 2023

8 Responses to “Learning about RTP(c) and Other New Payment Options”

  1. Isabel Navarro

    Very interested in implementing this feature. Please keep me posted on any and all updates.

  2. Chris Nunnally

    Very interested in FedNow/RTP instant payments for our membership. The technology fits with our mobile first/branch in your pocket strategy. Would like to be part of the conversation.

  3. Kaci Kamaloski

    If I’m reading this right, we could possibly stay with the FRB for ACH but enroll in the Clearing House’s RTP platform since the payment rails separate?

    • Dawn Moore

      FedNow and ACH are two completely separate things, two separate rails. Here’s a graphic about the payment rails that might help: https://www.cuanswers.com/wp-content/uploads/USPaymentRails.png. ACH isn’t going anywhere and will not be affected in any way by the implementation of FedNow.

      You could certainly decide not to jump on the FedNow rail if you wish, but honestly I think over time every CU will want to be on every one of the rails (ACH, debit/credit, RTP, and FedNow), at least eventually. We’re just starting with the one we think is closest, RTP via The ClearingHouse, but will move on to FedNow when it’s ready for us to do so.

  4. Bev Vander Well

    Alloya also has a FedNow solution. Any thought to including Alloya and The ClearingHouse?

    • Dawn Moore

      We will be looking at several different paths to get to FedNow, yes, thanks for the tip! The ClearingHouse is RTP, not FedNow, and we are working with them (indirectly) for the RTP solution via Corp One.


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