Total ACH payment volume grew to over 20.2 billion transactions in 2011, up 4.35 percent over 2010, according to statistics released by NACHA — The Electronic Payments Association. ACH payments moved a total of $33.91 trillion over the Network in 2011.
According to NACHA, the steady growth of the Network can be attributed to the expansion of the use of native electronic payments, increased use of online payments by consumers, and the escalating use of the ACH Network for vendor payments and business-to-business transactions.
Native Electronic Payments
Native electronic payments – those payments which start as an electronic payment (i.e., non-check conversion applications) – increased 5.31 percent over 2010. According to NACHA, the statistics reflect an ongoing trend of increasing preference for fully electronic payments.
“These statistics show that more and more consumers and businesses are making the conscious decision to use electronic payment options over paper checks or cash,” said Janet O. Estep, president and CEO of NACHA. “As advancements within the payments industry continue, ACH payments also continue to adapt to meet various needs of both consumers and businesses alike.”
Consumers’ Use of Direct Payment via ACH
WEB transactions – or Direct ACH debit payments made when authorization is given via the Internet or a mobile device – also continued on an upward trajectory. WEB transactions increased 9.45 percent and made up 16.67 percent of total Network volume. NACHA estimates that 80 percent of these transactions are to pay bills via companies' or billing services' websites.
Direct Payment via ACH for Business-to-Business Transactions
In 2011, business-to-business transactions saw steady growth as well. CTX and CCD transactions – or those business transactions enabling the use of addenda records – increased 12.69 percent and 4.89 percent, respectively, over 2010. This shows that businesses are embracing the core competency of the Network to transmit payments plus information, as they realize the value of straight through processing.
Network Quality Indicators
Even though Network use is increasing, the volume of returned transactions remained flat when compared to 2010. Overall, the Network return rate decreased 2.0 percent to 0.98 percent of transactions in 2011. The volume of debit transactions returned as unauthorized declined even more: 3.14 percent from 2010. The unauthorized debit return rate for 2011 remained steady at 0.03 percent.
For more information on ACH Network volume, visit http://www.nacha.org/ACHntwkstats
In a notice dated February 24, 2012, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced, that in an effort to improve efficiency; reduce government and industry costs; and enhance the ability of investigators, analysts, and examiners to gain better and more timely access to information; that it is adopting a requirement that all financial institutions subject toBank Secrecy Act (BSA) reporting use electronic filing (E-Filing) for certain FinCEN reports beginning no later than July 1, 2012.
BSA E-Filing, which is provided free of charge, offers streamlined BSA information submission; faster routing of information to law enforcement; greater data security and privacy compared with paper forms; long-term cost savings to institutions, individuals, and the government; and ensures compatibility with future versions of FinCEN reports. Effective July 1, 2012, institutions must submit FinCEN reports electronically unless they are eligible to request a temporary exemption as identified in the final rule.
For more information about the benefits of using BSA E-Filing, please review the E-Filing Section on FinCEN's Web site. FinCEN is committed to working with financial institutions to increase their understanding of the value of E-Filing and has issued a brochure that highlights its benefits. For other technology-related questions specific to E-Filing, please call the BSA E-Filing Help desk at 1-866-346-9478.