Building Faster Better: A Guide to Inclusive Instant Payment Systems

Practical resource for stakeholders working toward interoperability in instant payments

Many of the digital payment services available to low-income customers have evolved as closed-loop systems, meaning that they are not interoperable with the services of other providers. This limits customer value – for example, by making it difficult for friends to send money to each other if they use different providers, or by preventing customers from withdrawing funds from agents on other networks. By contrast, interoperable systems make payments more convenient and can encourage competition in financial services by removing barriers to entry for smaller providers. 

This technical guide, intended to serve as a practical resource for those pursuing interoperability in digital financial services, describes how to build an instant payment system that is interoperable and facilitates the type of small-dollar, mobile payments often used by low-income customers. It details key components of a system — oversight, scheme, switch, and settlement — and explains the basic steps to achieving interoperability. Along the way, it highlights examples of how various countries have approached these challenges. 

About this Publication

By William Cook, Dylan Lennox & Souraya Sbeih