The U.S. Federal Reserve Finalises Guidelines for Granting Firms Access to Payment Services


The U.S. Federal Reserve said last Monday it had finalized guidelines for how it will review requests by banks, fintechs and other firms to access the central bank’s master accounts and payment systems.

The final product, which is substantially similar to proposals the Fed floated in May 2021 and March 2022, creates a tiered review system that reserves the closest scrutiny for companies that lack federal deposit insurance and are not traditionally overseen by bank regulators.

The new guidelines are aimed at creating a transparent, consistent and risk-based process for reviewing applications for “master accounts,” the Fed said in a statement.

The guidelines come as a number of new nontraditional financial institutions, broadly known as fintechs, have emerged and begun seeking access to payment and account services that the Fed typically provided to banks as a way to quickly route and store money. Some firms had complained that the process for obtaining such an account was opaque and subjective.

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