DEFINITION of 'Division Of Reserve Bank Operations And Payment Systems – RBOPS'

Division Of Reserve Bank Operations And Payment Systems – RBOPS, is an entity under the Federal Reserve System that manages certain policies and operations of the Federal Reserve Banks pertaining to the payment system within the United States. The Division of RBOPS ensures policies and operations are maintained when the depository institutions require financial services from Federal Reserve Banks, the U.S. Treasury and other government agencies. The Board of Governors has granted the director of the Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems the authority to set accounting policies for the nation's Reserve Banks.

BREAKING DOWN 'Division Of Reserve Bank Operations And Payment Systems – RBOPS'

The U.S. payment system transmits more than $3 trillion each business day to pay for financial instruments, goods and services. The Division of RBOPS develops policies to ensure the efficiency and integrity of the U.S. payment systems, and conducts research to improve the systems.

Payment Operations

According to the Fed, as part of the Board's enhanced program for the supervision and oversight of payment systems, central securities depositories, securities settlement systems, central counterparties, and trade information warehouses, the division participates directly in the supervision of financial market infrastructures that are designated as systemically important by the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council as well as in more general oversight activities relating to domestic and foreign financial market infrastructures.

The division also develops policies and regulations to foster the integrity and efficiency of the U.S. payment and financial system; works closely with other regulators, central banks, and international organizations to improve the payment and financial system more broadly; and conducts research on various topics related to payment and clearing issues and financial market infrastructures.

This comes amid the increasing use of electronic payments and the decline of check writing. The other challenge is the rise of electronic fraud. 

The division is guided by the Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21), a federal law that was enacted in 2004. It allows checks to be processed without physically transporting a paper check from one place to another. Instead, an electronic image of the check can be used. This technology makes it less expensive for banks and other companies to process checks and also means that checks are cashed faster.

The delay that used to exist between the time you wrote your check and the time it was actually cashed was called a "float." Today, the only lag time between when you write a check and when it gets deposited is the amount of time it takes any check you mail to get through the postal system and be dealt with by the recipient or the amount of time it takes the recipient to actually submit the check to their bank. There may also be a slightly delay while the bank processes it after deposit.

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