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What is ACH ?

ACH – An acronym used to identify the Automated Clearing House Network.

The Automated Clearing House Network
The Automated Clearing House Network is at the center of commerce in the U.S., moving money and information from one bank account to another through Direct Deposit and Direct Payment via ACH transactions, including ACH credit and debit transactions; recurring and one-time payments; government, consumer and business-to-business transactions; international payments; and payments plus payment-related information. Each year it moves more than $41 trillion and 24 billion electronic financial transactions. As such, the Automated Clearing House Network is now one of the largest, safest and most reliable payment systems in the world, creating value and enabling innovation for all participants.

ACH Network: Quick Facts

  • The Automated Clearing House Network is a batch processing system in which financial institutions accumulate  Automated Clearing House transactions throughout the day for later batch processing.
  • Instead of using paper to carry necessary transaction information, such as with checks, Automated Clearing House Network transactions are transmitted electronically, allowing for faster processing times and cost savings.
  • The ACH Network processes two types of transactions: Direct Deposits via Automated Clearing House and Direct Payments via Automated Clearing House .
  • Direct Deposit via ACH is the deposit of funds for payroll, employee expense reimbursement, government benefits, tax and other refunds, and annuities and interest payments. It includes any Automated Clearing House credit payment from a business or government to a consumer.
  • Direct Payment via Automated Clearing House is the use of funds to make a payment. Individuals or organizations can make a Direct Payment via Automated Clearing House as either an Automated Clearing House credit or Automated Clearing House debit.
    • A Direct Payment processed as an Automated Clearing House credit pushes funds into an account. An example of this is when a consumer initiates a payment through his/her bank or credit union to pay a bill.
    • A Direct Payment processed as an ACH debit pulls funds from an account.  An example of this is when a consumer establishes a recurring monthly payment for a mortgage or utility bill, and his/her account is debited automatically.
  • ACH credit and ACH debit transactions process quickly.  Settlement, or the transfer of funds from one financial institution to another to complete the transaction, generally happens next day.
  • Specifically, the NACHA Operating Rules require that ACH credits settle in one to two business days and ACH debits settle on the next business day. Recent enhancements to the NACHA Operating Rules now enable same-day settlement of virtually all ACH transactions.

ACH Network: 2016 Quick Statistics

  • Automated Clearing House Network volume grew to more than 25 billion electronic payments, an increase of more than 5 percent over 2015
  • The total dollar value of ACH Network transactions was more than $43 trillion, an increase of more than 5 percent over 2015
  • There were 4.7 billion WEB transactions, which account for 23 percent of overall ACH Network volume
  • The volume of B2B transactions increased 5.2 percent over 2015
  • There were 6.1 billion Direct Deposits, an increase of more than 5 percent over 2015

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