The news that CO-OP Financial Services and FIS are going tointegrate and expand their Sprig and PayNet systems into a real time person-to-person paymentnetwork will mean different things to different network users, apayment expert said.

The move will elevate as many as 48 million U.S. consumers to alevel of banking that has been enjoyed in the rest of the world fordecades, said Gareth Lodge, a U.K based senior analyst for paymentsfor Celent, an international banking consultant firm. And, headded, the deal will challenge all participants in the U.S. paymentsystem with a new way of operating.

“People in the U.S. don't realize it, but people in the U.K andother parts of the European Union have been able to send money backand forth for little or no cost for about 30 years,” he said.

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