PNC is undertaking an effort to tear down the barriers that have hindered adoption of electronic payments.

The Pittsburgh bank is working with Fiserv to deploy a new version the tech company's PopMoney Instant Payments product, which eliminates the typical two- to four-day wait for person-to-person payments.

"It would not only make the payment a real-time payment, but if you do it with mobile it would be real-time at that place in time," Tom Trebilcock, vice president and group product manager for e-business and payments at PNC.

PNC was an early adopter of Fiserv's Popmoney and has used it for about two years. Trebilcock described Popmoney as "popular" but would not disclose specific figures for its usage.

Fiserv is integrating Popmoney with its Accel payments network and with First Data's Star Network.

With Popmoney, "we have gotten feedback from people that say they want the same day or a real-time option," says Tom Roberts, senior vice president of marketing for Fiserv. "[Under the current system] users are subject to cutoff times for settlement and limitations on weekends."

PNC did not say when Popmoney Instant Payments would go live, nor would it say if it was going to charge a fee for the faster service. Fiserv charges banks $0.95 per Popmoney transaction, and there are limits on the size and frequency of payments.

PNC's new real-time system will require the recipients to have accounts at institutions that use Accel or Star for processing. "It won't cover everybody, but it will be a pretty large network," Trebilcock says. Fiserv has said it plans to add other processing networks as well.

"There are a lot of cases where both the sender and recipient don't want to write checks to handle the deposit" but they do want to transfer money in real time, Trebilcock says. "We see it being used by groups of people to make payments related to a fantasy football league, or making a fast payment to a landlord."

Most person-to-person payments can be awkward because of how long it takes for funds to get to the recipient, says Philip Philliou, a payments consultant. 

"Directionally, all ships are sailing towards real-time person-to-person payments," says Philliou.

Other payment companies are also trying to speed up personal payments. Harland is using electronic funds transfer, rather than ACH, to speed up payments. Harland's DPXPay offers person-to-person payments, but has not yet released a real-time version, spokeswomen Stacey Leone said in an email. Malauzai uses MasterCard and Visa's debit networks to offer real-time mobile person to person payments.

"At some point technology will catch up with the hype and we'll get adoption," Philliou says.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry