Changes Ahead Mean a Better Experience on the Modern ACH Network


Michael W. Kahn

Michael W. Kahn


Moving the modern ACH Network forward to provide users with the best possible experience is one of Nacha’s most important goals. That’s why the ACH Network is always evolving, and this year will be no different.

“2021 is going to be a year full of some great Rules changes, things that help drive our ACH Network forward, increase our volume, and keep it the safe, reliable ACH Network that we all know and love,” said Debbie Barr, Nacha Senior Director, ACH Network Rules Process.

During the Jan. 7 webinar “Six New Rules That Will Impact Your Organization’s Future,” Barr and co-presenter Amy Morris, Nacha Senior Director, ACH Network Rules, offered an in-depth look at what ACH Network participants should expect this year—and how to prepare.

March 19 is the first big day to have circled on your calendar, with two Rules changes taking effect, including an enhancement to Same Day ACH.

“We were able to work with our Operators and there will be two additional hours added to the banking day for submitting Same Day ACH files,” said Barr. The new third window’s 4:45 p.m. ET deadline will be especially useful for West Coast financial institutions. It will help all FIs with returns, as the 4 p.m. return window is rolled into the later Same Day ACH window. “No matter what you return, it can go as a Same Day entry,” said Barr.

March 19 is also the effective date for a new Rule making it explicit that “account validation” is part of a “commercially reasonable fraudulent transaction detection system” for screening WEB debits.  It applies to the first use of an account number, or changes to the account number, but is neutral when it comes to any specific methods or technologies for accomplishing it. 

“It really is up to the ODFI to determine how do you feel your WEB Originators or Third-Party Senders are compliant with this Rule,” said Morris, noting that the purpose of the Rule is to “help prevent fraud on the ACH Network” and “protect quality transactions.”

There’s a triple play coming June 30 with three new Rules: one on Supplementing Data Security Requirements; another which limits the time for RDFIs to make warranty claims against ODFIs’ authorization warranties; and a third addressing improper use of reversals. 

Finally, September 17 is when the Meaningful Modernization Rules takes effect. It’s actually a set of five different Rules aimed at simplifying and improving the ACH user experience. 

“We don’t want somebody to have a fantastic idea about how to use the ACH Network, but because they themselves or their company is very risk averse, and they don’t see it written in black and white in the Rules, they shelve it,” said Morris. Meaningful Modernization, she said, will add flexibility, while “providing the clarity that people need to feel like they can innovate around the ACH Network and around the authorization process.”

The complete 90-minute webinar “Six New Rules That Will Impact Your Organization’s Future” has full details about the upcoming Rules changes. You can purchase the webinar recording on The webinar is worth 1.8 continuing education credits for AAPs and APRPs.