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ACH Volumes Continue Their Hot Streak With Nearly 6% Growth in the Third Quarter
December 14, 2016

By Jim Daly

Continuing the stepped-up growth rate it’s seen for nearly two years, the automated clearing house network’s transaction volume grew 5.7% in the third quarter, slightly better than the second quarter’s 5.6% growth.

The third quarter was notable for marking the start of same-day ACH processing. The latest quarterly report from ACH governing body NACHA does not break out same-day volumes, which didn’t begin until Sept. 23, just a week before the quarter’s end. Herndon, Va.-based NACHA, however, reported in mid-November that the first full month of same-day ACH met its expectations, with a total of 3.8 million transactions worth $4.98 billion. Same-day ACH currently is available only for credit transactions, but will become an option for debit transactions on Sept. 15, 2017.

In the third quarter, meanwhile, the ACH moved $11 trillion in payments on a total of 5.11 billion transactions versus 4.83 billion a year earlier. This total excludes on-us transactions, which are those that take place between payors and payees whose accounts are housed at the same financial institution.

Among 14 major payment types, WEB credits, which consist of person-to-person payments, led in growth, posting 20.2 million transactions up 29.2% year-over-year, although growth was off from 39% in the prior quarter. P2P is a hot development category in payments, with PayPal Holdings Inc.’s Venmo service capturing Millennials and banks and processors beefing up rival services.

WEB debits, which consist of online and mobile purchases, grew 16% to nearly 1.18 billion transactions. The PPD debit category for prearranged bill payments such as health-club memberships saw 945.5 million transactions, up 6.2%.

Another fast-growing transaction category was IAT, for international ACH payments. IAT volume grew 15.7% year-over-year, up from 12% in the second quarter, to 21.2 million transactions.

The so-called e-check family of transaction codes that convert paper checks to ACH payments continued its steep decline as consumers switch to electronic bill payments and purchases. The ARC code, for check-based bill payments sent to lockboxes, saw volume slip 6.7% to 335.6 million. POP, for point-of-purchase check conversions, declined 14.8% to 65 million transactions. And the BOC code, for conversion of checks received at the point of sale in a retailer’s back office or at its processor, dropped 14.6%, almost as much as POP, to 30.9 million transactions.

The TEL code for telephone-based ACH payments continued growing, posting 129.5 million transactions, up 10.2%.

NACHA officials were unavailable for comment on the third-quarter report.

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