Micro-Entries

Effective Date

Rule Status

Rule Status
Upcoming Rule

This Rule will define and standardize practices and formatting of Micro-Entries, which are used by some ACH Originators as a method of account validation.

Download our one-page overview of the Micro-Entry Rule and what it means to you.

Details

Details

This Rule will define and standardize practices and formatting of Micro-Entries, which are used by some ACH Originators as a method of account validation

This Rule will:

  • Define “Micro-Entries” as ACH credits of less than $1 and any offsetting ACH debits, used for the purpose of verifying a Receiver’s account

  • Standardize the Company Entry Description and Company Name requirements for Micro-Entries

  • Establish other Micro-Entry origination practices

  • Apply risk management requirements to the origination of Micro-Entries


This Rule will become effective in two phases

Phase 1 – September 16, 2022

  • The term Micro-Entry will be defined, and Originators will be required to use the standard Company Entry Description and follow other origination practices

Phase 2 - March 17, 2023

  • Originators of Micro-Entries will be required to use commercially reasonable fraud detection, including the monitoring of Micro-Entry forward and return volumes
     

 

Technical

Technical

The Rule will define “Micro-Entry” as a type of ACH Entry

  • A Micro-Entry would be “a credit or debit Entry used by an Originator for the purpose of verifying a Receiver’s account or an individual's access to an account.”

  • A credit Micro-Entry must be in the amount of less than $1.00

  • One or more debit Micro-Entries must not exceed, in total, the amount of the corresponding credit Micro-Entries

  • This definition accommodates the existing practices of offsetting the amounts of credit Micro-Entries with one or more debits, which nets the total verification practice to $0; and permits a debit offset to be greater than $1.00 only to offset the amounts of credit Micro-Entries


The Rule will standardize formatting for Micro-Entries

In the Company Entry Description field, the Rule will require the use of “ACCTVERIFY”

  • A standard description will make Micro-Entries more easily identifiable, and better enable ODFIs to apply any desired processing routines or other controls

  • Like other rules for the standardized use of the Company Entry Description, ODFIs will not be required to review, validate or correct an Originator’s formatting

The Company Name must be readily recognizable to the Receiver, and be the same or similar to the Company Name that will be used in future Entries

  • Permitted to have minor variations to accommodate processing needs

  • Mirrors the Company Name requirement from the recently approved rule on Reversals


The Rule will establish other origination requirements

An Originator that is using debit Micro-Entry offsets must send the debits and the corresponding credit Micro-Entries simultaneously for settlement at the same time

  • Better enables the simultaneous delivery of credit Micro-Entries and corresponding debit Micro-Entry offsets to RDFIs in the same file

The total amount of the credit Micro-Entry(ies) must equal to or greater than the value of the debit Micro-Entry(ies)

  • The aggregate total of the debits and credits cannot result in a net debit to the Receiver’s account

An Originator using Micro-Entries may initiate future Entries to the Receiver’s account as soon as the Originator’s process for validating the amounts of the Micro-Entries has been completed

  • The Originator is in the best position to know when the validation process is complete

  • A future Entry may not be originated simultaneously with Micro-Entries

  • ODFIs are not required to review or inspect files to enforce this


The Rule will apply risk management requirements to Originators

An Originator of Micro-Entries must conduct commercially reasonable fraud detection on its use of Micro-Entries, including by monitoring of forward and return volumes of Micro-Entries

  • The use of commercially reasonable fraud detection is intended to minimize the incidence of fraud schemes that make use of Micro-Entries

  • Monitoring forward and return volumes, at a minimum, establishes a baseline of normal activity

  • An Originator would not be required to perform an entry-by-entry review

 

Impact

Impact

Benefits

For RDFIs and their Receivers

  • Better enables identification of individual Micro-Entries

  • Better enables RDFIs to apply desirable processing routines and other controls

  • Better enables the receipt of corresponding debit and credit Micro-Entries to the same account at the same time

  • Reduces the potential of receiving fraudulently-initiated Micro-Entries


For ODFIs and their Originators

  • Better effectiveness of the Micro-Entry process for account validation

  • Better customer experience due to standardization of some aspects of the process and the standardization of the description


For the ACH Network as a whole

  • A more effective Micro-Entry process for account validation through the ACH Network

  • Addressing pain points of Originators, ODFIs and RDFIs

  • Improve the quality of this type of Entry in the ACH Network


Impacts

Originators

Originators will have to adopt the formatting conventions for Micro-Entries

  • Company Entry Description of “ACCTVERIFY”

  • Company Name requirement

Originators will have to observe the required timing and waiting periods

  • Must send credit and corresponding debit Micro-Entries (if using) simultaneously

  • Must wait to originate future Entries until the verification process is complete

Originators will need to conduct commercially reasonable fraud detection for Micro-Entries

  • Monitoring forward and return volumes of Micro-Entries

  • Other desired velocity checks or anomaly detection


RDFIs will consider:

  • Incorporating incoming micro-entry activity into existing fraud detection, AML, and money mule detection 

  • Treating corresponding credit and debit Micro-Entries the same when making post/no-post decisions (i.e., post both or return both)

  • Automating return processing, especially for administrative return reasons such as account closed or no account 

FAQs Section

FAQs Section
Coming soon

RFC Summary

RFC Summary

In 2020 Nacha issued for comment a set of proposals to amend the Nacha Rules to improve the capabilities of the ACH Network to validate and correct account information.  This package included proposals to standardize practices and formatting for the use of Micro-Entries.

75% of respondents supported the Micro-Entries portion of the proposal, to define, standardize and establish practices for Micro-Entries

More than 63% of RDFIs believe that standardization of Micro-Entries for account validation will benefit their institution and customers

Areas of comments/concern included:

  • The proposed description

  • The challenge for an ODFI to prohibit an Originator from sending live Entries prior to the Receiver validating the Micro-Entries

  • The need for monitoring and prevention of large quantities of fraudulent Micro-Entries

Changes from the RFC

  • The definition of “Micro-Entry” has been modified to more fully accommodate the practice of offsetting debits for a net $0 process

  • The standardized Company Entry Description has been changed from “VALIDATION” to “ACCTVERIFY”

  • The Company Name requirement allows for minor variations, and mirrors the requirement recently adopted in the rule on Reversals

  • A provision has been added requiring Originators that use debit Micro-Entries to send the debits and credits simultaneously in the same file

  • A provision has been added requiring Originators to use commercially reasonable fraud detection in relation to these transactions

This Rule does not require:

  • Originators to use Micro-Entries as a method of account validation

  • Originators that are using credit Micro-Entries to use offsetting debit Micro-Entries

  • ODFIs to actively monitor or inspect Originators’ files of Micro-Entries for compliance with the origination requirements