X9 Inc., a non-profit organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop and maintain standards for the financial services industry. They are a U.S. based organization, but have a global view when developing their technical standards.
Finextra highlighted X9’s recent initiative to form an industry group to study what can be done to create interoperability between and among faster payment solutions. Here’s how the article summarized their effort:
Today the Accredited Standards Committee X9 Inc. (X9) announced the formation of a new study group focused on faster/real-time payments. The study group will review real-time and faster payments activity in the financial industry, with the intent to become X9’s central point of contact for all related and supporting X9 technical standards and to coordinate related work within X9.
X9 perceived a strong need for the new study group. There are already multiple providers offering real-time payments. However, comprehensive adoption depends on interoperability, and for that technical standards are required. Basic payment messaging standards exist, as well as some standards for Electronic Data Interchange, including ISO 20022 and X9 BTRS/BAI2 standards, but additional standards will certainly be needed.
That makes sense. Just because many of the faster and real time payments networks are based on ISO message standard 20022, it doesn’t mean that they can exchange payments or messages. As an example, X9 pointed out how a unified approach could be helpful to the healthcare market:
Healthcare payment standards exemplify the issue. Healthcare payments currently end in paper checks 95% of the time, and healthcare represents 17% of U.S. economic activity. Widespread faster or real-time payments in the healthcare sector, enabled by new or improved standards, could result in significant cost savings and increased efficiency, benefiting consumers as well as industry stakeholders.
Perhaps efforts like this will also lead to clearer path for international interoperability.
X9 is looking for people to join the study group. If that of interest, you can sign up here.
Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group