|Part of a series on financial services|
An automated clearing house (ACH) is a computer-based electronic network for processing transactions, usually domestic low value payments, between participating financial institutions. It may support both credit transfers and direct debits. The ACH system is designed to process batches of payments containing numerous transactions and charges fees low enough to encourage its use for low value payments.
The first automated clearing house was BACS in the United Kingdom, which started processing payments in April 1968.
In the U.S. in the late 1960s, a group of banks in California sought a replacement for check payments. This led to the first automated clearing house in the US in 1972, operated by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
BACS operated from the beginning on a net settlement basis. Netting ACH transactions reduces the amount of deposits a bank must hold.
ACHs process large volumes of credit and debit transactions in batches. ACH credit transfers are initiated by the payer and include payments such as: direct deposits, payrolls, retail payments and vendor payments. ACH direct debit collections are initiated by the payee with pre-authorization from the payer; ACH direct debits include consumer payments such as utility bills, insurance premiums, mortgage loans, and other types of bills. Transactions received by the bank during the day are stored and transmitted in batches to the ACH. ACHs are net settlement systems, so settlement may be delayed for days, and there is some settlement risk. ACHs may allow for the transfer of a limited amount of additional information along with payment instructions.
ACH payments contrast with real-time gross settlement (RTGS) payments which are processed immediately by the central RTGS system and not subject to any waiting period on a one-to-one basis. ACH systems are typically used for low-value, non-urgent transactions while RTGS systems are typically used for high-value, urgent transactions.
This section describes in a generic way the typical operation of an ACH system. Each ACH system has its own specifics; see, for example, quick facts for the NACHA ACH Network in the United States and its terminology.
There are various ACH systems around the world. The World Bank identified 87 systems in their 2010 Survey and 98 systems in their 2012 survey, while other sources have made qualitative analysis of a smaller number of ACH systems.
|Argentina||COELSA (Compensadora Electrónica)|
|Australia||Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS)|
|Austria||Payment Services Austria GmbH (PSA)|
|Bahamas||Bahamas Automated Clearing House (BACH)|
|Bangladesh||Bangladesh Automated Clearing House (BACH)|
|Belgium||Centre for Exchange and Clearing (CEC)|
|Canada||Retail System, known formally as the Automated Clearing Settlement System (ACSS), run by Payments Canada|
|Cayman Islands||Cayman Islands Automated Clearing House|
|Chile||Centro de Compensación Automatizado (CCA)|
|China||China National Advanced Payment System (CNAPS) Bulk Electronic Payment System (BEPS)|
|Colombia||ACH-Colombia and |
|Croatia||Financial Agency (FINA)|
|the Czech Republic||CERTIS (Czech Express Real Time Interbank Gross Settlement System)|
|Denmark||Eurogiro and |
|Europe||a pan-European automated clearing house for the Single Euro Payments Area, STEP2|
|Greece||DIAS Interbanking Systems|
|Hungary||InterGIRO2 GIRO Zrt|
|Hong Kong||Interbank Clearing Limited|
|India||National Automated Clearing House and |
National Electronic Funds Transfer
|Iran||PAYA system (Paayaa, پایا)|
|Italy||Banca d'Italia, |
|Mexico||SICAM (Sistema de Camaras)|
|Morocco||GSIMT (The Moroccan Interbank Remote Clearing System)|
|Moldova||National Bank of Moldova|
|Netherlands/ Germany/ Italy||equensWorldline|
|Nigeria||Nigeria Automated Clearing System (NACS)|
|Norway||Norwegian Interbank Clearing System (NICS)|
|Pakistan||National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) ACH|
|Poland||Krajowa Izba Rozliczeniowa (KIR)|
|Portugal||Sociedade Interbancária de Serviços (SIBS)|
|Peru||Camara de Compensacion Electronica (CCE)|
|Republic of Macedonia||Clearing House KIBS AD Skopje (KIBS)|
|Romania||TransFonD SENT ACH|
|Saudi Arabia||SARIE with both RTGS and ACH|
|Singapore||eGIRO which is part of Singapore Automated Clearing House|
|Sweden||Bankgirocentralen BGC AB|
|Switzerland||Swiss Interbank Clearing|
|Taiwan||Taiwan Clearing House|
|Ukraine||National Bank of Ukraine's System of Electronic Payments|
|United Kingdom||Bacs Payment Schemes Limited|
|United States||Federal Reserve Bank's FedACH and |
The Clearing House's Electronic Payments Network, underpinned by NACHA's ACH Network
|Venezuela||Cámera de Compensación Electrónica (CCE)|
In addition, there are various ACH associations such as the European Automated Clearing House Association.
There are various usages of ACH systems; the terminology related to different types of transactions varying in different countries. Most ACH payment systems support the following types: