The Federal Reserve has appointed three economists to a task force investigating the future of the payment system.

"This type of research is critical to the public policy debate on payment system issues inside and outside the Federal Reserve system," said St. Louis Fed president Thomas C. Melzer, who heads the central bank's Financial Services Policy Committee.

While details are still being worked out, St. Louis Fed spokesman Charles Henderson said Thursday that the group will examine technological developments and security concerns.

"We don't intend to indicate what banks should and should not do," Mr. Henderson said. "We want to allow the marketplace to set some standards. But we want to be involved from a policy standpoint."

The task force will be led by James Thompson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

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