February 04, 2021

ACH Network Sees Record Growth in 2020 to 26.8 Billion Payments

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2 Billion New Payments Added as Pandemic Accelerates Shift to Electronic Payments

Payment volume on the ACH Network experienced record growth in 2020 as the pandemic accelerated the nation’s shift to electronic payments.

The 26.8 billion payments made on the ACH Network in 2020 is an increase of 8.2% over 2019, while the value of those payments, $61.9 trillion, is up 10.8%. A record of more than 2 billion new payments were added in 2020, and the growth rate is the highest since 2007. The 2020 results also mark the sixth consecutive year in which payment volume climbed by more than one billion, and the eighth year in a row with a value increase of more than $1 trillion.

“As the world was turned upside-down by COVID-19, the modern ACH Network rose to the challenge to help keep vital payments moving quickly and accurately among American consumers, businesses, and government agencies,” said Jane Larimer, Nacha President and CEO. “Today’s ACH Network is truly industrial strength, handling large volumes of Direct Deposits for Economic Impact Payments, unemployment benefits, and assistance payments for other organizations and institutions in the U.S.”

Several core ACH payment categories grew in 2020 by more than 10%:

•    Direct Deposit of salaries and wages, benefits and assistance payments, and other disbursements from organizations to individuals, increased 12% to more than 8 billion payments;
•    Internet-initiated consumer payments for bills, account transfers, and other payments increased 15% to more than 7.7 billion payments;
•    Person-to-person payments and transfers increased 42% to 218 million;
•    Business-to-business payments for supply chain, vendor payments, bills and other transfers increased by almost 11% to 4.4 billion.

By contrast, the volume of ACH payments initiated by a paper check (i.e., check conversion) declined by more than 21%, and now accounts for less than 4% of all ACH payments.

Adoption of Same Day ACH continued in 2020, with payment volume rising 39% to 347 million. The $460 billion total value of Same Day ACH payments is up 86% from a year earlier and reflects in part the increase of the maximum amount of a Same Day ACH payment to $100,000, which took effect in March 2020. 

“Ongoing adoption shows that Same Day ACH is a significant contributor to meeting the nation’s demand for faster payments,” said Larimer. “The expansion of Same Day ACH continues on March 19, 2021. The ACH Network will extend the hours for submitting Same Day ACH payments, and banks and credit unions will provide same day funds availability for these new Same Day ACH payments.”

An infographic with 2020 results is available for download as a PDF.

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