Fast Payment Systems: A toolkit helps countries and regions navigate implementation

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Women's hand uses a mobile phone application to scan QR codes in stores that accept digital payments without money and plastic tags on the table. QR code payment and cash technology concept

The financial services industry has been transforming quickly as technology advances. Payment systems have undergone substantial innovation over the years as new payment methods, platforms, and interfaces have been introduced. Rapid improvements in the fields of information technology and communications, coupled with growing customer expectations and demand, have contributed to that.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need for faster, more cost-efficient and ubiquitous digital payments. 

Systems that allow instant access to funds—known as Fast Payment Systems (FPS)—are an integral part of the strategy of countries across the world to advance the use of digital payments and enhance financial inclusion. 

In fast payments, the transmission of the payment message and the availability of final funds to the recipient occur in real time or near-real time, and on as near to a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week basis as possible. Other characteristics that differentiate FPS from other systems include access to payments through new channels such as QR codes, availability of new services such as request-to-pay, use of aliases such as email and phone number, and broader membership including non-bank payment service providers.

The development and implementation of safe, reliable, and efficient national payment systems is a crucial component of the World Bank’s work in the financial sector given its link to financial inclusion, stability, and economic development. In this context, the World Bank has been closely monitoring the development of FPS by central banks and private actors across the world.

The World Bank has been working on a soon-to-be-launched toolkit that will guide countries and regions on the likely alternatives and models that could inform their policy and implementation choices as they embark on their own fast payment journeys. The toolkit is based on desk research and consultations with more than 65 stakeholders around the world, including regulators, standard setting bodies, operators, system participants, and industry bodies.


FPS Toolkit


The toolkit analysis covers aspects such as motivation behind implementations, key features, implementation approach and designs, regulatory aspects and key learnings. The analysis finds that most systems are following a phased deployment of features, rather than a “big bang” deployment, providing opportunities to validate assumptions and designs and incorporate participant and consumer feedback along the journey. 

A preview report (Fast Payment Systems: Preliminary Analysis and Global Developments) provides information on the purpose, methodology and different components of the toolkit. As we proceed to finalize the policy toolkit and provide a comprehensive view of global FPS developments, we are seeking comments and suggestions that could enhance the study—particularly from countries that are planning to implement FPSs.  

Please send your responses to the questions below by January 25, to

  1. FPS has enabled various innovations in the payment landscape, such as the use of aliases, newer transaction-initiation methods and increased interoperability. In your opinion:
    • What payment needs are being planned to be addressed through FPS? 
    • What would be the role of FPS in driving innovation in the wider payments landscape? 
    • How do you envision the payments space will evolve in the coming years? 
    • What role do you think FPS would have played in your country in the context of COVID-19 pandemic? 
    • What changes do you envisage in the usage of other payment systems in your country, after FPS is implemented?
  2. In your opinion, what are the key challenges in building support internally and amongst the market players for implementing FPS?
  3. We have proposed a detailed review of a set of specific topics. Are there any other topics you think are missing from this list and/or issues that do not seem to have been addressed?
  4. We have proposed an Assess-Design-Scale framework that we have developed for FPS implementations. Do you think this captures all the key decisions and considerations that need to be taken into account?
  5. Would a toolkit like the one described be helpful for a country like yours, which is envisaging or is in the process of implementing an FPS? 


Harish Natarajan

Lead Financial Sector Specialist

Nilima Ramteke

Senior Financial Sector Specialist

Holti Banka

Senior Financial Sector Specialist

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