The Dos and Don’ts of ACH Payments Processing

Even if your business doesn’t currently accept ACH payments, you’ve probably already used them personally…perhaps without even realizing. The ACH network — or Automated Clearing House — was developed as a replacement for paper checks. An ACH payment is simply an electronic payment sent from one bank account to another, using the same information that you would with a check.

ACH has become a popular payment method for recurring bills like utilities, cable, mortgages, and other similar services. Many businesses are now offering ACH as a payment method alongside credit cards, especially businesses that sell subscription-based goods or services.

More than 90% percent of the value of all domestic electronic payments travel through the ACH network, moving about $43 trillion annually in 23 billion financial transactions. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why ACH is an important consideration for businesses.

And you can start right here, with this list of ACH dos and don’ts to learn more about the benefits and limitations of ACH payments.

ACH Dos

Count on lower transaction fees: Generally, ACH transaction fees are lower than the fees associated with card transactions. Your payment processor will have more accurate details.

Offer ACH for larger tickets: ACH payments are most often used on items with a higher price point, or on recurring transactions. In fact, the larger your average ticket, the more you might save on processing fees.

Verify accounts: Verifying that a bank account is open and has sufficient funds before processing an ACH payment can help prevent errors or a non-sufficient funds issue. Ask your payment processor about account and check verification services to gain access to these helpful tools.

Compare ACH to paper checks: ACH payments are essentially electronic checks, but they are also faster, cheaper, and more reliable than checks. You can view ACH as a more efficient digital replacement for the outdated transfer of paper.

ACH Don’ts

Expect instantly visible money transfers: ACH transactions are generally slower to post than card transactions. However, new rules from NACHA (National Automated Clearing House Association) now say that ACH transactions must be processed by the next business day, with same-day ACH growing in popularity as well.

Use ACH as a replacement for other payment methods: While ACH might be worth adding to the roster of payments methods accepted by your business, it should not replace other payment methods. With today’s emerging payment technologies, consumers have developed preferred payment methods, and offering an assortment helps you please more customers.

Dismiss ACH as a payment option: More and more consumers are using ACH, perhaps not for smaller everyday purchases, but certainly for recurring bills and larger purchases. Dismissing it as a payment option might deter customers who prefer using ACH from doing business with you.

Are you ready for ACH?

Getting set up to accept ACH payments is simple when you have the help of a payment processor like Forte. Our Support team can answer your questions about the process so you can dive in well-informed. Call us at 866-290-5400 to get started today.

Or if you’re not ready to take the leap yet, you can read more about ACH on our blog.

  • See the entire product suite