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What are the payment rails in the US?

In the US, common payment rails include ACH (Automated Clearing House), FedNow, checks, RTP (real-time payments), wire transfers, and card networks like Visa and Mastercard.

An example of the flow of funds for an ACH payment

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Payment rails are the underlying systems and networks that facilitate the movement of funds between parties in financial transactions.

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"Rails" in payments refer to the infrastructure facilitating money transfer. It's the pathway for funds between financial institutions.

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A payment gateway connects merchants and payment processors, while payment rails are the actual systems moving money. Gateways facilitate transactions over different rails.

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No, PayPal is not a payment rail; it uses various payment rails like ACH, card networks, and internal transfers.

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No, Stripe is not a payment rail but employs various rails, such as ACH and card networks.

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The most popular retail payment method in the US is card payments, especially credit and debit cards.

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SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is not a payment rail itself but a messaging network facilitating secure communication between banks globally.

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Wire transfers are generally faster than ACH. While ACH transactions may take 1-2 business days, wire transfers often occur on the same day.

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Blockchain is not a traditional payment rail but a decentralized ledger technology. However, certain blockchain networks, like those supporting cryptocurrencies, can be considered as alternative payment rails with unique features.

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