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Take On Payments, a blog sponsored by the Retail Payments Risk Forum of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, is intended to foster dialogue on emerging risks in retail payment systems and enhance collaborative efforts to improve risk detection and mitigation. We encourage your active participation in Take on Payments and look forward to collaborating with you.

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December 20, 2021

The Retail Payments Risk Forum staff are taking a little break. We’ll be back next week (December 27).

November 22, 2021

We Are Thankful For…

Two years ago, prior to Thanksgiving, I asked each Risk Forum member to provide me the one thing they were thankful for in payments. This year, I posed a bit of a different question to my colleagues and asked them what payment innovation they are most thankful for. Without further ado, the Risk Forum presents our 2021 Thanksgiving week "What payment innovation are you thankful for?" list.

  • Nancy Donahue, project manager: I'm thankful for innovation in voices contributing to payments because it's through these different and diverse viewpoints that the industry develops solutions that are inclusive of all consumers!
  • Claire Greene, payments risk expert: I am thankful for the electronic receipt of bills and automatic bill pay. As a payments expert who doesn't want to think about her personal payments, I remember the monthly stack of envelopes on my dining room table.
  • Scarlett Heinbuch, payments risk expert: I am thankful for the innovation of dongles and payments apps that make it easy for small businesses and individual sellers to accept credit card payments.
  • Douglas King, payments risk expert: I am thankful for innovation in payroll that makes my payday afternoons more flexible through the ability to receive my paycheck via direct deposit. Prior to direct deposit, I distinctly remember receiving a check at my job and then heading to a bank only to wait in a long teller line on Friday afternoons with others to deposit our paychecks.
  • Dave Lott, payments risk expert: I am thankful for the ability to make contactless payments with my debit card at stores and gas pumps as it is much faster.
  • Sally Martin, senior business analyst: I am also very thankful to be able to schedule payments electronically, either once or as many times as I want out to infinity. Keeps me honest and doesn't allow me to rob Peter to pay Paul as easily. Also, I don't have to think about doing it every month when the due date comes along.
  • Catherine Thaliath, project management expert: I am thankful for digital wallets that make it convenient to store my credit cards, boarding passes, concert tickets, loyalty cards, etc., all in one place!
  • Jessica Washington, payments risk expert: I am thankful for mobile deposit capture. When I do get lucky enough for someone to give me money (outside employer) and it is a check (whah, whah) I love that I can pop that moolah into my account right after I open the mail or birthday card.

And we are thankful for YOU, our readers of Take On Payments and supporters of the Risk Forum. We sincerely appreciate your comments, kudos, and criticism, and hope that you all find value in the information we provide and share. As we enter into these crazy last weeks of 2021, we wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season.

November 1, 2021

Diversity and Inclusion in US Currency

My interest in coins started at a young age. My grandfather would share his coin collection with me and point out the details: the dimes and quarters made with real silver before 1964, and the wheat backs on the pennies (1909–58). He took pleasure in showing me the buffalo nickel (1913–38) with the Native American image on its front.

My grandfather was proud of his Cherokee roots from North Carolina. His profile resembled the image on the coin, and I remembered feeling proud because, from my child’s viewpoint, I thought it was him.

Images on US currency that reflected his heritage meant something to him, which I understood to mean that Native Americans were included and honored in our nation’s monetary system.

These memories came to mind when I saw two recent news stories about greater diversity in our inclusion initiatives. The first announced that poet Maya Angelou’s image is going to appear in a new American Women’s Quarters series, a four-year program starting in 2022. The other women will be astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, Cherokee Nation chief Wilma Mankiller, educator/women’s rights activist Nina Otero-Warren, and film star Anna May Wong.

The second announced that the Federal Reserve Board joined the Central Bank Network for Indigenous Inclusion to help raise awareness of economic and financial issues with Indigenous economies. The network is a collaboration with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Te Pūtea Matua), the Bank of Canada, and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Other participants include the Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the Economic Education Partnership with Indian Country at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

While these new initiatives are notable, there are examples from the past. The first appearance of an identifiable woman on a bank note was in 1865 with the image of Pocahontas, featuring her baptism, printed on a $20 note. The next woman to appear on a bill was Martha Washington, on a $1 Silver Certificate in 1886. Harriet Tubman’s likeness is proposed to take Andrew Jackson’s place on the $20 bill, currently projected for 2030.

As for coins, in 1979 Susan B. Anthony was the first identifiable woman to appear on a coin in 1979, in this case a $1 coin. The Sacagawea golden dollar issued in 2000. Then in 2020, Elizabeth Peratrovich appeared on the $1 coin as part of the Native American $1 coin program, which began in 2009.

Remembering my grandfather’s pride at seeing his heritage reflected in our nation’s coins made an impact on me at a young age. When we discuss financial inclusion in our payments systems, noting the diverse images that appear on our coins and currency as a reflection of our society, our norms, and our values can be an important part of the discussion, along with tangible efforts to open the dialogue for all groups within our nation. What do you think?