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Fed Prepares for Next Phase of Payments Security Effort as Secure Payments Task Force Concludes

March 1, 2018

The Secure Payments Task Force will conclude its efforts in March with a final publication consisting of a collection of educational materials outlining the lifecycles and security profiles of today’s primary payment methods, the Federal Reserve announced on Thursday.

Task force participants will transition into the Federal Reserve’s FedPayments Improvement Community, established to provide stakeholders with opportunities to engage in the Federal Reserve’s ongoing payment improvement initiatives. As described in the September release of Federal Reserve Next Steps in the Payments Improvement Journey, the enhanced FedPayments Improvement Community is designed to allow payments industry participants to tailor their involvement in Federal Reserve efforts based on interest, expertise and availability.  As part of the community, task force participants will have opportunities to participate in work groups as they are established, to provide input into payments improvement efforts, and to attend online and in-person events. 

“The Federal Reserve is grateful for the commitment demonstrated by these 200 industry leaders, and we are proud of the important work they’ve done to identify and establish payment security priorities,” said Esther George, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, who is leading the Federal Reserve’s payments improvement initiatives. “There is more work ahead, and we are counting on the payments community to continue to bring dedication and expertise to the pursuit of a more secure payment system.”

Established in June 2015 in support of the Federal Reserve’s Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System, the task force has engaged more than 200 financial institutions, consumer groups, payment service providers, financial technology firms, merchants, government agencies, and others interested in payment security improvement efforts.

“The task force has been a useful forum for bringing all voices to the table to discuss the very real and challenging security threats we face in the payment system,” said Ken Montgomery, the Federal Reserve’s payments security strategy leader and chief operating officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. “This transition recognizes the intensity of the task force work effort over the last three years and provides greater flexibility for large numbers of stakeholders to continue participating in our improvement efforts.” 

Since its establishment, the Secure Payments Task Force has:

  • Identified key security improvement priorities of payment identity management, data protection, and information sharing to help reduce risk and fraud;
  • Developed an online reference for payment fraud and risk information-sharing data sources, including  intelligence reports, payments fraud trends, best practices and/or benchmarks;
  • Documented payment lifecycles and security profiles (to be published in mid-March on to educate stakeholders and provide perspectives on the lifecycles of the most common payment types, including security methods, identity management controls, sensitive data involved, and relevant laws and regulations, as well as challenges and improvement opportunities related to each payment type;
  • Contributed to the development of security-related faster payments effectiveness criteria and assessment of faster payments solution proposals for the Faster Payments Task Force;
  • Provided feedback to the Federal Reserve on expanding fraud data reporting, resulting in an enhancement of the Federal Reserve’s Payment Study.

 “The work completed in the past three years facilitates understanding and adoption of today’s best practices and lays important groundwork for future collaboration to address payment system vulnerabilities,” Montgomery said.

Later this year, the Federal Reserve expects to initiate new collaborative industry work groups to advance the work begun by the task force, informed by a planned study to analyze payment fraud and security vulnerabilities, assess potential approaches to mitigate them, and identify misalignment of incentives that may hinder progress.

The Federal Reserve has a wide-ranging participatory role in the payments system, helping to ensure efficiency, integrity and accessibility. The Federal Reserve promotes these qualities as a leader, catalyst for change and provider of payment services to financial institutions and the U.S. Treasury. Additional information about the Federal Reserve’s Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System, is available at

Media Contact:

Dan Wassman
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
P: (312) 322-2374
Doug Tillett
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
P: (312) 322-5201 (Office)
P: (312) 493-8088 (Mobile)
Susan Stawick
Board of Governors
P: (202) 452-2955

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