A modern currency must meet the needs of a modern economy. Yet in an important way, the US dollar is failing: As currencies around the world become more user-friendly, it’s in danger of falling behind. The Federal Reserve is rightly working to remedy this, but the broader government must do more to ensure that the dollar remains competitive, within the country’s borders and beyond.
In recent decades, countries ranging from the UK to China have introduced payment systems enabling people to transact instantly, directly from their bank accounts and at extremely low cost, with everyone from friends to the phone company. By one estimate, this transition to real-time payments has boosted global economic output by $78 billion a year — meaning faster paychecks, smoother transactions and generally accelerated commerce.