Recurring debit payments, in which consumers give companies their bank or card account numbers to "pull" money out for regular bills, are a jury-rigged solution for a system built in the 1970s, says consultant Dave Birch. There is no need to replicate this setup in the modernized payment system that the Federal Reserve is nudging banks to create, Birch argues. "Push" payments, which require an active step by the accountholder each and every time, are more secure and easier to manage, he says.

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