April 06, 2020

The ACH Network is Ready to Deliver Stimulus Payments


Jane Larimer

Jane Larimer

President and CEO


Unprecedented is a good word to describe what we’ve been living through in recent weeks. The challenges facing Americans are unlike anything in recent memory. For so many who find themselves in financial trouble, federal stimulus money can’t come fast enough. 

As stewards of the modern ACH Network, Nacha wants you know that the ACH Network is ready to get that money into the bank accounts of the people who need it. It’s a lot of money that the government will be sending out. And the ACH Network has the proven abilities the situation requires. 

In 2019 alone, the ACH Network moved 24.7 billion payments valued at $55.8 trillion. While the stimulus package is an extraordinary event, the ACH Network can handle it.

The ACH Network is the only retail electronic payment system that can deliver money to every household that has a bank account, and to those that use reloadable prepaid accounts. 

The federal government knows the proven value of the ACH Network. Since 2013 it has required Social Security payments to be made using Direct Deposit via ACH in almost all circumstances. Social Security paid out $988.6 billion in 2018, with 99% of benefit payments made by Direct Deposit. The days of Social Security checks being stolen out of mailboxes have vanished, along with the need for seniors and the immobile to take benefit checks to the bank.

The modern ACH Network infrastructure has many other tools available to the federal government to make its payments process effective and efficient. Since 2016, the ACH Network has offered the option for the same-day delivery and funds availability for Direct Deposits and other ACH payments. Regardless of whether this option is used, the 10,000 U.S. banks and credit unions that will receive stimulus payments by Direct Deposit will follow the government’s specific instructions in making these funds available to Americans.

The ACH Network provides the federal government with the option to accept enrollments for Direct Deposits directly from banks and credit unions. The ACH Network also provides the government the ability to test whether account information is valid before sending actual money. In addition, the ACH Network delivers notices from banks and credit unions to federal agencies about incorrect account information, so that errors can be fixed and not repeated.

Throughout the coronavirus national emergency, the ACH Network has operated normally. That includes all Direct Deposits, with any payment entered into the system getting where it needs to go on time. It will be the same with stimulus payments.

As soon as the government is ready to go, so, too, is the modern ACH Network. Those of us who make up the ACH Network—banks, credit unions, ACH Operators, processors, and associations—have proven our capabilities time and again, as we will do here.