‘Speed, efficiency’ of global payments system needs improvement, Yellen tells G-20

Work should continue to improve the speed and efficiency of payments systems as the world grapples with the outcome of the coronavirus crisis, which moved many to work and conduct commerce online, according to a letter sent Thursday by the Treasury secretary to her counterparts in the “Group of 20” (G-20), a collection of top finance officials from the U.S., the European Union and 18 other nations.

“The pandemic has moved much of work and life online,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote to the G-20 members. “The G-20 should continue to support work on digital payments at the Financial Stability Board and standard-setting bodies.”

The letter from Yellen largely focused on urging her fellow finance officers to “go big” in developing responses to the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis, as well as outright stopping the virus. However, the letter also makes a point of addressing and improving digital payments systems.

“We must invest in efforts to help people adapt to this increasingly digital world,” Yellen wrote. “I believe we can improve the speed and efficiency of our payment systems while mitigating potential risks, including their use for malign and illegal activities.”

Other issues addressed in Yellen’s letter include climate changes, challenges in corporate taxation, and support for low-income countries in their response to the pandemic.

Letter from Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen to G20 Colleagues