“The ACH network has actually been in a state of continuous change and growth for the past 40 years,” said Jan Estep, president and chief executive (CEO) of NACHA, during the opening general session. “For those who say that the ACH Network is 40 years old, implying that it has not adapted – they’re wrong. The system, which started in 1974 to support payroll for US Air Force personnel, today moves over 80m transactions per day, every day of the year.”
The next step in the ACH Network’s evolution is clearly ubiquitous same-day ACH settlement. Estep discussed NACHA’s new phased approach to achieving this. “This is functionality that the industry needs,” she said. “At this time, we are reaching out, asking for information on the ability to implement costs and volume that can bring some clarity to network participants.”
NACHA plans to issue and request for comment (RFC) later this year to gather further input from industry stakeholders. “We engage, we adapt and then we advance to move the industry forward,” said Estep.” Same day ACH is clearly just one example of how we’re working to support the industry and innovation.”
Payments Innovation Alliance
Another way NACHA attempts to provide that support is by creating opportunities for stakeholders to collaborate and innovate. Estep announced the Payments Innovation Alliance, which replaces existing NACHA councils. The Alliance aims to bring together a diverse set of global stakeholders for discussion, debate, education, networking and special projects to support the ACH Network and the global payments system.
“We want to facilitate meaningful dialogue between diverse parties so that you can think about new ways to use payments, create frictionless solutions, and really think about exploring these in different ways than you have in the past.
NACHA said in a statement that the Alliance will hold three in-person meetings per year, two in the US and one outside North America, as well as hold frequent virtual meetings. The group will focus on projects that identify and test new payments ideas and solutions, network with payments system leaders around the globe. The Alliance will also author thought leadership pieces, including white papers.
Corporate practitioners interested in joining the Alliance can download a brochure at the NACHA website.
NACHA also announced that ACH volume increased 4% in 2013 to 22bn electronic payments. A total of US$38.7 trillion was transferred over the ACH Network last year.
Business-to-business (B2B) payments in particular saw substantial growth in 2013. B2B transactions increased 6.7%, with corporate trade exchange (CTX) volume growing by 10.6% and corporate credit and debit (CCD) volume growing 6.6%. Addenda record use also rose, increasing almost 10% in both transaction categories. Some CCD growth is attributed to the healthcare payments via ACH rule, which became effective in the US in September 2013.
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