ACH Network Prospers Through Economic Uncertainty

Author

Michael W. Kahn

Michael W. Kahn

Nacha

Between inflation, market swings, crypto issues and more, the U.S. has weathered an uncertain economic situation in 2022. One bright spot: the modern ACH Network, which has continued growing despite some of the setbacks the economy has seen.

Look at the numbers: Through the end of the third quarter, 22.4 billion payments flowed through the ACH Network, valued at $57.3 trillion. Those are respective increases of 3.3% and 6.5% from the same time in 2021. 

One of the big stories of this year is Same Day ACH. Boosted by the March increase in the per payment limit to $1 million, Same Day ACH, volume is up 18.7% year to date, with nearly 516 million payments. The value of those payments has soared nearly 86% to more than $1.25 trillion. 

Another big story is Business-to-Business (B2B) volume, up 13% so far this year, continuing a trend that began early in the pandemic. From 2019 through 2021, B2B saw 33% growth. It’s no surprise when you look at some figures. 

First, the Federal Reserve’s commercial check volume fell 23% between the second quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2022. Second, figures from the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) show that from 2004 to 2022, B2B check payments fell 48 percentage points for disbursements and 45 percentage points for collections.

One additional noteworthy event for 2022 is September’s introduction of Late Night ACH. All receiving financial institutions now receive ACH files from each ACH Operator—the Federal Reserve and The Clearing House—by 11:30 p.m. ET on business days. This is accelerating delivery of ACH payments that would otherwise be received the next business morning.

By Nacha’s estimates, an average of nearly 10 million ACH payments per day were delivered in these new files on Monday through Thursday in the first seven weeks of service. During that time, Friday night volume averaged more than 50 million ACH payments per Friday.

“The ACH Network is a modern, industrial-strength electronic payment system that is well-positioned to provide efficient, reliable and fast payments for consumers, businesses, governments and nonprofits,” said Michael Herd, Nacha Senior Vice President, ACH Network Administration.