U.S. banks and credit unions processed more than 13 million same-day payments between Sept. 23, the launch date for recent improvements to the automated clearing house system, and the end of 2016.

That's according to new data from Nacha, the industry-owned group that administers the decades-old electronic payment network. Nacha said that direct deposit transactions accounted for 52% of the same-day payments, while business-to-business payments accounted for another 32%.

Janet Estep, Nacha's president and CEO, said in a press release that the group is "very encouraged" by the early performance of the same-day system.

Nacha president and CEO Janet Estep championed a 2012 same-day payment plan that was rejected by the group's members, then rallied support for a retooled plan that was approved in 2015.

Under the new system, banks have the ability to send certain electronic payments on the same business day, rather than the following business day, which has long been the only option. The changes rolled out in September only enable same-day service for payments where the sender is crediting the account of the receiver.

Starting in September 2017, banks and credit unions will start enabling the same-day debiting of funds.

Nacha has estimated that by 2027, there will be 1.4 billion same-day transactions per year. For the sake of comparison, 23 billion payments were made on the automated clearing house network in 2014.

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Kevin Wack

Kevin Wack

Kevin Wack is a California-based reporter for American Banker who covers the U.S. consumer finance industry.