Same-day ACH debit shows sharp preference for bill pay

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The first round of data is in following the Sept. 15 launch of same-day ACH debit payments, providing a snapshot of what Nacha expects will be a growing channel.

More than 2 million same-day ACH debits went through during the first 11 processing days following the launch, averaging more than 178,000 per day and $650 per payment, Nacha said in a Wednesday press release.

Payments from consumers to businesses dominate, accounting for 94% of volume—presumably for immediate bill payments. Business-to-business payments make up the remaining volume, a category Nacha predicts will expand as more banks develop their own processes for same-day ACH debits.

“These numbers suggest that this faster payments option that enables same-day processing of virtually any ACH payment will meet the growing demand to move money and information more quickly,” said Jane Larimer, Nacha’s chief operating officer and general counsel, in the release.

In alignment with the Federal Reserve’s roadmap for adopting faster payments in the U.S. Nacha is rolling out same-day ACH payments in phases. Same-day ACH for credit payments launched on Sept. 23, 2015.

Observers noted that the initial data may not be conclusive, but it suggests the payment method is off to a good start.

"Billers and bill-payment services were also active users when credits rolled out, so I suspect it was easy for them to include debit transactions as an option," said Sarah Grotta, director of debit and alternative products at Mercator Advisory Group.

It's still too early to know how same-day ACH debit payments will factor into banks' broader offerings, Grotta suggested.

"What will be very telling is where the market sets pricing for this premium service, how FIs manage their underwriting to determine which clients can use same-day and how much volume they're allowed, plus how aggressively it's marketed," Grotta said.

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