NACHA Takes Steps towards Same-Day ACH Settlement

NACHA, previously the National Automated Clearing House Association and the organisation that manages the automated clearing house (ACH) network,  announced that it is taking steps to bring ubiquitous, same-day ACH settlement to the US.

Over the past year, NACHA has been outlining the parameters and requirements of a same-day capability for the ACH network. Currently, the network only allows for single, next-day settlement. But through a ‘phased approach’, NACHA plans to introduce multiple, same-day settlement options that would be available for virtually any network transaction.

“A phased implementation enables us to introduce new capabilities more quickly, and then continue to build over time, creating value for all participants at each step along the way,” said NACHA president and chief executive officer (CEO) Janet Estep.

NACHA is proposing incremental functionality that would include multiple, new settlement windows, and greater certainty around faster funds availability. The first implementation phase would enable same-day ACH credits for payroll, person-to-person (P2P) payments and expedited billpay. The second phase would introduce same-day ACH debits and enable consumer bill payment for utility, mortgage, loan and credit card payments. The third phase is aimed at improving the service level across the ACH Network and reducing counterparty risk by adding a second same-day settlement and accelerating funds availability.

“The concept of phased implementation is the result of thoughtful exploration of feedback we received over the past year,” said Estep. “This is the next step to help create a rule proposal for the industry to enable same-day ACH through the NACHA rulemaking process.”

In an effort to inform future rulemaking, NACHA is launching a study to assess costs and potential transaction volume for same-day ACH. The study will attempt to gauge what receiving same-day payments will cost receiving depository financial institutions (RDFIs), and will explore ACH volume potential through detailed interviews and inputs. The information gathered will inform rulemaking that NACHA believes could occur as early as this autumn.

Estep noted that while ACH network participants have been supportive of same-day settlement, all parties must thoroughly prepare for implementation. “The study and phased approach provide the foundation needed to fully embrace and execute same-day ACH,” she said. “The network has always served as a foundation upon which we can build and innovate to meet the growing needs of today’s users and those of tomorrow. The time is right to move the industry forward.”

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