ACH payments are electronic payments made through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network. Using this method of payment (as opposed to paper checks or credit card payments) can help reduce errors, speed things up, and save money and resources.
You may be more familiar with ACH than you think: if your employer pays you through direct deposit or you pay bills electronically out of your checking account, ACH payments are at work.
Basics of ACH Payments
ACH payments are simply electronic transfers from one account to another. Common uses include:
- A customer pays a service provider
- An employer deposits money to an employee's account
- A consumer moves funds from one bank to another
- A business pays a supplier for products
Because they’re electronic, ACH payments use fewer resources (paper, ink, fuel to transport checks, etc). In addition, ACH payments make it easier to keep track of your finances. Instead of generic check information on a bank statement ("Check #3509 for $45.82" - what was that for?), you see the payee's name if you’ve used an ACH payment. Then it’s easier to categorize the transaction with your financial software.
ACH payments can be electronic from start-to-finish, or they can happen when a paper check is converted and processed electronically.
- To see how paper checks become electronic, read Overview of Electronic Checks
Why Businesses Like ACH Payments
Businesses benefit from ACH payments. There’s no need to wait for customers to write checks and have them lost in the mail. Electronic payments are received more quickly and reliably, and there’s no need to forward checks to the bank and wait for processing. What's more, it costs less for businesses to use ACH than it costs to accept a credit card payment.
- Learn more about how businesses use ACH: ACH Processing Basics
Why Consumers Like ACH Payments
Consumers also benefit from ACH payments. There’s no need to write checks and get them into the mail on time. If using automatic ACH payments, they do not need to keep an eye out for bills - everything runs on autopilot - for better or worse.
- Learn more about how consumers use ACH: ACH Debit for Consumers