FedNow vs. RTP: A Detailed Breakdown for ACH Solutions

FedNow and RTP are both relatively new instant payment systems aiming to revolutionize ACH (Automated Clearing House) transactions in the United States. While they share the core functionality of enabling real-time funds transfers, some key differences set them apart. Here's a detailed breakdown:

Ownership and Operation:

  • FedNow: Owned and operated by the Federal Reserve Banks.
  • RTP: Owned by The Clearing House, a private consortium of major banks.

Transaction Limits:

  • FedNow: Default limit of $100,000 with the option for participating financial institutions to increase it to $500,000.
  • RTP: Higher default limit of $1 million with potential future increases.


  • FedNow: Launched in July 2023, it's a newer player with a growing adoption rate.
  • RTP: Launched in 2017, it has a more established presence with wider adoption among banks.

International Payments:

  • FedNow: Currently focused on domestic payments only.
  • RTP: Has plans to process some inbound foreign payments in the future.

Liquidity Management:

  • FedNow: Uses participants' master accounts held at the Federal Reserve Bank for settlement.
  • RTP: Requires prefunding by participating banks into a joint master account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This prefunding ensures immediate availability of funds for settlements.

Settlement Speed:

  • FedNow: Aims for near-instantaneous settlement (within seconds).
  • RTP: Similarly offers near-instantaneous settlement. Both systems boast very fast transaction times.

Network Interoperability:

  • FedNow and RTP operate on separate networks. This means a payment cannot be sent from one network to the other directly.
  • Work is ongoing to explore potential future interoperability.

Additional Considerations:

  • Fees: Both FedNow and RTP are likely to have fees associated with transactions, but specific pricing will depend on the financial institutions involved.
  • Use Cases: Both systems cater to a wide range of use cases where fast and secure funds transfer is needed, such as bill payments, payroll, and person-to-person payments. However, FedNow might be more attractive to government agencies due to its direct association with the Federal Reserve.

Choosing Between FedNow and RTP:

The best choice for you depends on your specific needs:

  • Transaction volumes and values: High-value transactions might benefit from RTP's higher default limit.
  • Need for international payments: If international payments are crucial, RTP's future capabilities could be a deciding factor.
  • Bank participation: Check which system your bank currently supports.


Both FedNow and RTP are significant advancements in the ACH landscape, offering real-time payment options to businesses and individuals. Understanding the key differences between them will help you choose the right system for your situation. Liftoff Solutions offers both RTP and FedNow for all clients and industries. 

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