February 05, 2020

Now is the Time to Prepare for the ACH Contact Registry


Michael W. Kahn

Michael W. Kahn


This time, it’s not optional. 

On July 1, 2020, the ACH Contact Registry opens for business. Unlike the existing voluntary contact database, participation is mandatory. A new Nacha Operating Rule requires all financial institutions using the ACH Network to register contacts for ACH operations and fraud/risk management. 

It’s obligatory for good reason. 

“At the end of last year there were just shy of 1,400 financial institutions in the database,” said Amy K. Morris, Nacha Senior Director, ACH Network Rules. And when you consider there are some 10,000 FIs, “that does not provide enough reach to really provide value to the industry.”

Indeed, Nacha and the Payments Associations have heard how difficult it can be finding the right person at another FI—often in situations where time is of the essence. 

With the ACH Contact Registry, “We’re going to have a much higher value resource,” Morris told the Feb. 4 Nacha webinar “Complying with the New ACH Contact Registry.”

While the Registry opens just before Independence Day, the middle of winter is the time to start thinking about it, said Shelly Sipple, Senior Director, Certifications & Continuing Education, at EPCOR.

“We’ve got to gather the contact information first,” said Sipple. While it’s not onerous, it needs to be carefully considered. For both ACH operations and fraud/risk management, every FI will have to register either primary and secondary contacts, or a department contact. 

“Don’t forget: Those phone numbers and email addresses need to be monitored and answered during your institution’s normal business hours,” Sipple told the webinar. So if someone’s on vacation or out sick, someone else must be available. 

And the Registry isn’t a “one and done” thing.

“Make sure you are keeping it current. Update that contact information as changes occur,” said Sipple. Under the Rule, Registry updates must be made within 45 days of any change. 

Sipple recommends reviewing your organization’s contacts annually. “Maybe you do this as part of your annual ACH Audit?” she suggested. 

“It’s going to be incumbent on each of us to make sure we’re keeping that information current.”

The complete 90-minute “Complying with the New ACH Contact Registry” webinar includes an on-screen walk-through of the portal, and has in-depth details about complying with the new Rule. Click here to visit Nacha.org and purchase the webinar recording. The webinar is worth 1.8 continuing education credits for AAPs and APRPs.