With Same-Day ACH Fully Phased in, NACHA Plans Higher Limits and Other Enhancements

March 19 2108 Jim Daly 35 mins ago Automated Clearing House, Competitive Strategies, Featured, Transaction Processing

With the third and final phase of same-day automated clearing house payment processing now in effect, ACH governing body NACHA is turning its attention to improving the program through higher transaction limits, adding a later processing window, and other changes.

Same-day ACH transactions currently are capped at $25,000. Herndon, Va.-based NACHA on Friday said that among “additional enhancements being developed” is a $100,000 cap. The planned change comes in the wake of complaints that the current limit is too low.

“Banks and credit unions have met, and in many cases exceeded, the March 16 date for faster-funds availability,” says NACHA’s Larimer.

Higher limits, please,” implored an executive with an investment firm while attending NACHA’s annual payments conference last April in Austin, Texas. The executive noted that many of her clients trade securities in amounts exceeding $25,000. Bankers and executives with other companies, such as a payroll processor, also said the current limit could divert transactions away from same-day ACH channels.

A second enhancement is a later processing window. Conference speakers last year also strongly supported that idea, especially for same-day debits. With the advent of same-day credits, the ACH network began processing with two windows, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Anticipating the likely volume growth that would come when same-day debits went live in September 2017, several speakers said they’d like to see more windows during the day to even out the flow and better suit the West Coast, which is three hours behind the East Coast. Others said more submission times would encourage more usage.

Other enhancements NACHA is considering include providing even faster funds availability for many same-day ACH credits and other traditional ACH credits, and the feasibility of ACH processing on weekends and bank holidays. NACHA didn’t say when the possible changes would take effect, and a spokesperson was unavailable Monday morning.

The third phase of the same-day program required by last Friday that banks and credit unions that receive same-day ACH credit payments make funds available to their depositors by 5 p.m. local time.

“Banks and credit unions have met, and in many cases exceeded, the March 16 date for faster-funds availability,” Jane Larimer, NACHA’s chief operating officer, said in a news release. “This marks the smooth launch of all three phases of same-day ACH in the U.S., providing a ubiquitous faster-payments option for businesses, government agencies, and consumers.”

In 2017, same-day ACH transferred $87 billion through more than 75 million transactions, with growth of more than 50% in the fourth quarter, NACHA reported. “This growth, coupled with the results of recent surveys of banks, credit unions, and businesses, all point toward continued adoption of same-day ACH in 2018,” the association said.

Same-day ACH’s Phase 1 saw credit transactions go live in September 2016, followed by debits in Phase 2 a year later.