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The Current State of Real-Time Payments in the United States: Talking to the Providers

Positive momentum as real-time payment system connections grow among banks and third parties.

Mercator Advisory Group’s new research report provides insights into the state of adoption of real-time payments and the RTP network in the United States.


In late 2017 The Clearing House (TCH) launched an entirely new payments infrastructure called Real-Time Payments (RTP®) which was designed to provide instantaneous clearing and settlement with “always available” processing for domestic payments in the United States. To better understand the actual state of adoption of RTP, Mercator Advisory Group reached out to a number of the top banks to determine the progress of their real-time payments initiatives related to the RTP network. Senior payments professionals at seven systemically important financial institutions and a third-party service provider agreed to be interviewed, the general viewpoint being that sharing their experiences would help promote greater industry knowledge and encourage adoption of RTP, seen as a clear benefit to the U.S. payments industry.

Mercator Advisory Group’s latest research report, The Current State of Real-Time Payments in the United States: Talking to the Providers, provides a direct view into the how, why, and when of launching connectivity to RTP. Adoption rates have been rather tepid, and through the eyes of those responsible for advancing the real-time businesses at their institutions and through their comments on their institutions’ experiences, one learns that moving large organizations into an “always on” systems and service environment is not a job for the faint of heart. As more banks and third-party providers are now connecting to the RTP network, uses become more scalable and valuable.

“There has been noticeable uptick in recent RTP project activity as more businesses learn about the actual advantages of an entirely new payments rail with unprecedented speed, data, and communications ability,” commented Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service, co-author of the report along with Sarah Grotta, Director of the Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service, “so any institution that has been considering a launch effort would do well to listen to some of their peers about how to get it done.”

This report is 17 pages long and has 7 exhibits.

Companies and other organizations mentioned in this report include ACI, Bank of America, BNY Mellon, Citi, Early Warning, Federal Reserve, Finastra, FIS, Fiserv, Jack Henry & Associates, JPMorgan Chase, Mastercard, P27, PayFi, The Clearing House, U.S. Bank, Visa, and Wells Fargo.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Insights from discussions with 13 senior payments professionals responsible for launching and growing the real-time payments business model.

  • Seven key findings that will be valuable to banking institutions, fintechs, and corporates that are considering starting or have already started their own real-time payments initiatives.

  • Dozens of candid comments from the senior payments professionals at the top banks interviewed concerning their institutions’ RTP launch approaches, project size and length, client implementations, business models, and growth expectations.

  • Detailed analysis of the RTP launch effort, market scope, demand, product plans, and growth expectations.