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What is Fedwire?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2016
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The newly designed Fedwire system is a national tool for businesses involved in the Federal Reserve financial network. Almost 10,000 banks are part of this domestic system. Fedwire helps one bank wire funds to another bank. The Federal Reserve uses this technology to assess credit, and help to implement the movement of capital within the country.

The Federal Reserve is the private company that provides a centralized U.S. banking system. Federal Reserve banks help to administrate the country’s financial policy. Other banks must hold stock in Federal Reserve banks. Although critics see the Federal Reserve as a privately owned interest, those close to it often disagree, stating that the Federal Reserve is a unique blend of public and private administration that is not owned by a single private party.

Banks use Fedwire to allow for “real time gross settlement” of funds. What Fedwire facilitates is the concrete transfer of funds in a short period of time. This basically follows from the idea of automating financial transfers into something that can happen quickly.

One use of this “real time gross settlement funds transfer system” is in payments made from financial entities to the SEC or Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC oversees activity on Wall Street and regulates the stock market. Companies and banks must routinely pay fees to the SEC. Some of them can do this through FedWire.

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The creators of the U.S. real time settlement system say that it “plays a critical role in the implementation of United States monetary policy.” Generally, a bank that has an account with a Federal Reserve bank can become a FedWire participant. The system helps to ensure swift delivery of funds, and also searches for problems with syntax that could hold up a transaction. Institutions use different “tags” and protocols to make sure they are setting up standardized transactions over the electronic network.

The Federal Reserve’s electronic fund settlement system is similar to others in other countries. Some nations have their own similar financial networks, and others are being proposed. Financial settlement tools help with administration of domestic money transfers to bring a domestic financial system into the 21st century, where so much of money and wealth is represented through digital and automated technologies.

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