FIS launches its own real-time payments network, RealNet, as demand for faster money movement rises


FIS is betting on real-time payments being the next logical step for the company.

FIS is launching its own real-time payments network, RealNet. Real-time payments adoption is on the rise as commerce shifts digital. FIS will first focus on B2B use cases, before rolling out products catered toward consumer and governments. See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Real-time payments, like credit cards or ACH, are just another way to move money. And while countries like the UK and India have mature real-time payments networks, the US has historically lagged.

Largely, that’s because real-time payments are relatively new, and require substantial tech builds. But in 2020, real-time payments adoption in the US took off, as cash usage fell and businesses faced a renewed focus on getting paid quicker.

Real-time payments differ from methods like cards and ACH in that they settle and clear in real time. They’re always on, and they’re irrevocable.

But to facilitate real-time payments, new rails have to be built, which is no easy lift.

However, FIS, the financial-services infrastructure giant, announced Wednesday plans to launch its own real-time payments network, RealNet.

“When you look at how commerce is going to grow, real-time payments are going to be the payments of choice in the future,” Raja Gopalakrishnan, EVP of global real-time payments at FIS, told Insider.

While use cases for consumers in the US are relatively nascent, business-focused opportunities are emerging. And that’s where FIS will start, offering its RealNet software to businesses like insurers, small banks, and merchants.

A US-based merchant with international suppliers and customers, for example, could use RealNet to pay back vendors and receive payments in multiple currencies around the world. And an insurer could review claims and process payments through RealNet, as opposed to sending checks in the mail.

Sending money internationally or paying back suppliers has historically been a headache for businesses. Many B2B payments are still made via checks, and the ones that are digital typically run