The Wall Street Journal: Walmart and Target urge the Fed to speed debit-card payments

Original post

Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. want the Federal Reserve to help them get paid in real time.

The retail giants TGT, -1.07% WMT, -1.39%   are among the companies urging the Fed to develop a service to settle interbank transfers in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Such a service could ultimately eliminate the lag between when consumers use debit cards to pay for items and stores receive the funds.

The Federal Reserve in October announced potential actions to help develop a faster payments system in the U.S., including creating a real-time settlement service. Walmart, Target and trade groups including the National Retail Federation have been in discussions with the Fed regarding faster payments for years, according to people familiar with the matter.

The system could solve a problem that has long vexed retailers. Merchants largely rely on card networks including Visa Inc. V, -0.04%   and Mastercard Inc. MA, -0.53%   that provide the rails for consumer card transactions, as well as banks and other companies that process the transactions and provide funds to the stores. Merchants often have to wait one to three days to receive funds from debit-card purchases. Payments for purchases made on a Saturday can take until Tuesday to arrive.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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