Immediate Payments FAQ

What are immediate payments?

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Immediate payments are transfers of funds initiated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, via any channel (e.g., smartphones, tablets or digital wallets). An immediate payment clears and settles in real-time or near real-time (in seconds, not minutes or hours).

An immediate payment shares these characteristics:

  • CERTIFIED: Payment authenticity is guaranteed.

  • FINAL: Once a payment is sent, it’s complete.

  • IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE: Funds are available immediately to payee.

  • INSTANTLY SETTLED: Financial institutions settle funds instantly.

  • CONFIRMED: Payee and payor receive notification of payment status.

With immediate payments, both the sender and the receiver of the transaction must be a participant of the respective immediate payment rails.

All immediate payments are faster payments, but not all faster payments are immediate payments because they don’t include all five of the above characteristics. For example, some faster payments seem immediate because of back-end arrangements invisible to users, like Same Day ACH transactions and even online debit transactions. Even P2P payments, generally perceived as immediate, may not, in fact, be true immediate transactions.