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ACH Debit for Consumers

Pros and Cons of ACH Debit Programs


Wondering if you should use ACH debit to make your payments? It makes things easier, but ACH debit can also lead to problems. Learn the pros and cons of ACH debit programs so you know what to expect.

Types of ACH Debit Service

There are a few different types of ACH debit services. Some service providers automatically take money from your account each month if you sign up for their ACH debit program. They initiate the transfer and you do nothing. Others allow you to transfer money only when you want to - so you’re in control of when ACH debits take place.

Benefits of ACH Debit

Making payments with ACH debit makes your life easier. By signing up for the service, you can let things happen automatically and electronically. You’re more likely to pay important bills on time, so you reduce the risk of messing up your credit.

Some of the most popular reasons to use ACH debit are:
  • No need to remember to make payments
  • No need to write checks (which you'll have to re-order once they're gone)
  • No need to get payments in the mail and pay postage
  • No need to wait for the postal service to deliver items or worry about lost items
  • Easier to track payments since payee names appear on your bank statement or financial software
  • Easier on the environment (checks and envelopes use paper, and transporting them uses fuel)

Pitfalls of ACH Debit

While ACH debit is an excellent choice for some of your most important bills, there are a few drawbacks:

  • You hand over access to (and information about) your bank account
  • A business may accidentally bill the wrong amount
  • You might overdraw your account if you don’t keep enough money available, or if the business bills too much
  • You may forget what you’re paying for if you don’t actually see the bills come through
In exchange for the convenience you get with ACH debit programs, you have to give up some control.
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