The U.S. should worry about falling behind as other countries have already invested in real-time payment (RTP) systems, according to new research from Mercator Advisory Group.

“You don’t want to be the country with the slowest payment system," said Sarah Grotta, Director of Mercator’s Debit Advisory Service and author of the white paper that lays out a proposal for what the U.S. RTP system might look like. In the future, countries around the world could be making transactions in seconds, Grotta said.

Countries like the United Kingdom, Japan, Mexico and several others have already made investments in RTP. Currently, the Federal Reserve is bringing together industry experts to lay ground rules for the functionality and security of a U.S. RTP system. Mercator warns that the U.S. will suffer the same backlash as it did from a slow EMV migration if it does not begin to make significant investment in RTP.

Financial institutions will not profit off of person-to-person payments, but there is an opportunity for an RTP system to make business-to-business payments more profitable because they provide more information about transactions, Grotta said.

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