ACH volume grows to more than 25 billion payments and $43 trillion

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Following four consecutive quarters of more than 5 billion electronic payments in each quarter – a first for the ACH Network – overall volume in 2016 amounted to 25.6 billion transactions,[1] according to new statistics released by NACHA — The Electronic Payments Association.

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ACH volume grows to more than 25 billion payments and $43 trillion

This represents an increase of 5.3% over 2015 volume, and is the third consecutive year in which volume grew by a billion transactions or more over the previous year. Additionally, $43.7 trillion was transferred over the ACH Network last year, an increase of 5.1% compared to 2015.

“2016 marked a significant year for the continued evolution and growth of the ACH Network,” said Janet O. Estep, president and CEO of NACHA.

“With the implementation of Same Day ACH, we have added to the robust capabilities of the Network, now enabling not only next-day payment capabilities, but same-day capabilities as well.

The added attribute of speed provides additional flexibility and options to a system that has the capacity to process credit and debit transactions, payments and robust information together, domestic and international transactions, business and consumer payments, and more. And it is this versatility that makes ACH payments a valued payment type, and supports the continued growth of the ACH Network.”

Same Day ACH Payments

With the launch of Same Day ACH credits in September of last year, this payment type was responsible for more than 13 million credit transactions totalling nearly $17 billion. Same-day Direct Deposits made up 52% of Same Day ACH volume; business-to-business (B2B) transactions made up 32% of Same Day ACH; person-to-person (P2P) payments constituted 13.5% of same-day volume; and consumer bill payments made up the remaining 2% of Same Day ACH volume.

“The volume figures show strong use of Same Day ACH in its first few months of activity, and broad use,” said Estep. “Like traditional ACH transactions, Same Day ACH has many of the same robust application capabilities and the numbers show that businesses and consumers are taking full advantage of it. When Same Day ACH debits become available in September of this year, we expect to see this trend continue, and anticipate even stronger and more variety in the use of Same Day ACH.”

Credit and Debit Transactions

In 2016, the ACH Network processed almost 12 billion debit transactions, which constitute 58% of overall ACH Network volume. While the volume of debit transactions validates its value to end users, credit transactions are important payment types for businesses and consumers, with credit transactions also growing by more than 5% in 2016.

“ACH debit transactions are a safe and valued payment type, as evidenced by the businesses and consumers who use it to pay millions of bills each month,” said Estep. “ACH credits also serve as an effective payment option, providing the security and control that Network users want with respect to their payments. It is these options and flexibility that make the ACH Network an attractive option to all those making and receiving payments.”

B2B Payments

B2B transaction use was not only strong among same-day transactions, but traditional ACH transactions as well. B2B credit payments grew significantly with CTX credits increasing 5.6% and CCD credits by 5.1%.

Additionally, businesses leveraging the Network’s ability to send payments and information together increased within these categories. More than 2.1 billion addenda records were transferred over the Network through CTX and CCD transactions, an increase of almost 9% over 2015. Healthcare payments via ACH, a specific CCD transaction, grew 15.6% to almost 242 million transactions.

B2B payments now make up roughly 15% of overall ACH Network volume.

Consumer Payments: Direct Deposit via ACH and P2P  

In addition to B2B transaction growth, the ACH Network saw growth in transaction categories in which consumers serve as the recipient of the payment, specifically Direct Deposits via ACH, P2P payments, and online payments.

Direct Deposits are credit transactions that include all transfers of funds from a company or government agency into a consumer’s account. In 2016, the Network transferred 6.1 billion Direct Deposits, an increase of 5.1% over 2015. Direct Deposits now make up 30% of overall ACH volume.

P2P payments, a WEB/online credit payment, saw growth as well. P2P payments increased 38.5 to almost 79 million transactions.

Online Payments

In addition to WEB credits, WEB debits, another online transaction type, saw increases as well. In 2016, the ACH Network transferred 4.6 billion WEB debits or online transactions, marking an increase of 12.7% over 2015. Combined, WEB credits and WEB debits make up 23% of overall ACH Network volume.

Network Quality Indicators

To help ensure the continued integrity and vitality of ACH payments, NACHA employs a comprehensive risk management strategy to help support and maintain ACH Network quality.  Through this strategy and other risk management initiatives, the overall Network unauthorized debit return remained low at 0.03% in 2016.

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