Circular
Steps to Facilitate Development of Electronic Check Presentment in the U.S.
September 20, 2000
Circular No. 11275

To All Depository Institutions and Others Concerned in the Second Federal Reserve District:

The following statement was issued September 7 by the Federal Reserve Board:

A Federal Reserve System Committee today outlined a series of cooperative steps the Federal Reserve and the private sector can take to remove barriers to the development of electronic check presentment in the United States.

The steps were identified at a workshop conducted by the Payments System Development Committee on June 29 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The actions, described in a short paper distributed this month to workshop participants, include:

  • Further consideration of legal changes that would reduce legal barriers to the electronic collection or return of checks, while protecting the rights of consumers or others that wish to receive paper checks.
  • Further efforts to develop and implement technical standards for exchanging electronic or paper substitutes for checks.
  • Follow-up discussions between the Federal Reserve and the banking industry on the business case for electronic check presentment.
  • Discussions of new operational concepts involving electronic check presentment and check imaging and of potential ways to test the concepts.
  • Preparation of educational materials to inform depository institutions and the public about electronic check presentment.

The co-chairs of the committee, Board Vice Chairman Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., and Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Cathy E. Minehan, emphasized that the initiatives described in the paper were cooperative steps the Federal Reserve can take with the private sector. Some of the ideas will be refined further as the initiatives proceed, they said.

The formulation of the committee was announced in July 1999. The other members are Governor Edward W. Kelley, Jr., of the Federal Reserve Board and First Vice President Jamie B. Stewart Jr. of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. First Vice President Patrick K. Barron of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is a liaison to the committee from the System's Retail Payments Office.

The Committee's paper is printed on the following pages.