What is ACH?

ACH Almost Certainly Touches your Life

When you wake up on a Friday and see that your salary was automatically deposited to your bank account, that’s ACH.

When you pay a bill online and save the hassle of writing and mailing a check, or set your mortgage, car loan and other recurring payments to automatically pay on the day of the month you choose, that’s ACH.

Those are just some of the ways that tens of millions of Americans use ACH, or the Automated Clearing House Network. Whether you know it as Direct Deposit, direct pay or electronic check, ACH is at your service handling everything from Social Security and salaries to mortgage and credit card payments and more. Just set it and forget it—no more worrying about getting payments in on time.

In fact, in 2018 ACH moved nearly 23 billion electronic payments, making the ACH Network one of the largest, safest and most reliable payment systems in the world.

What are the advantages of ACH? Take Direct Deposit via ACH as an example:

  • Your hard-earned salary is in the bank on payday. There’s no need to pick up a check and take it to the bank (where they might even put a hold on the funds).
  • Getting a tax refund? Even the IRS website says “the best and fastest way to get your tax refund is to have it electronically deposited for free.”

Paying bills is also easy with Direct Payment via ACH:

  • From credit cards to mortgage payments to car insurance and more, direct payment ends the worrying about whether your check will arrive on time—or worse, get lost or stolen in the mail.
  • Electronic payments pass through fewer hands than a paper check, making it a safer, more confidential way to do business.
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ACH Network Statistics

In 2018, the ACH Network processed nearly 23 billion payments, marking the fourth consecutive year in which it added more than 1 billion new payments. Those include Direct Deposit via ACH of salaries, dividends and Social Security and other government benefits, and Direct Payment via ACH for bill payments including utilities and mortgages, as well as charitable giving, tuition, subscription services, and person-to-person (P2P) and business-to-business (B2B) payments. The total value of these payments exceeded $51.2 trillion.

ACH Network's History

In 1974 people carried dimes to make calls from payphones and copies were made on a mimeograph. A lot has changed, and so has Nacha and the ACH Network. The network continues to grow and provide greater services to consumers and businesses.