By Maria Bruno-Britz
According to NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association (Herndon, Va.), nearly 16 billion automated clearing house (ACH) payments were made in 2006, a 14.5 percent increase over 2005.The nation's financial institutions originated 15.4 percent more ACH payments in 2006 than in 2005. The number of these payments was 14.9 billion, a jump of more than 2 billion over 2005, and valued at $30.3 trillion. Inter-bank ACH payments--those sent from one financial institution to another--increased by 16.5 percent in 2006; on-us payments increased by 12.2 percent.
The remaining ACH payments were originated by the Federal government, which exceeded 1 billion ACH payments in a year for the first time. The Federal government's ACH volume was up 2.8 percent over 2005, and valued at $3.5 trillion.
On the consumer payments side:
• NACHA estimates that 7.5 billion to 8.0 billion consumer bills were collected via the ACH Network in 2006, including pre-authorized debits, Internet and telephone payments, and checks converted into ACH payments. • Annual volume for Accounts Receivable (ARC) check conversion grew by an estimated 700 million payments to 2.8 billion, an increase of 32 percent. ARC accounted for 35 percent of financial institutions' ACH transaction growth in 2006.
• Internet-initiated ACH payments (WEB) grew by an estimated 35 percent to 1.8 billion. NACHA estimates that 85 percent of Internet-initiated ACH payments are to pay bills online and 10 percent are to transfer funds.
• The number pre-authorized, automatic bill payments--or Direct Payment--increased by 6.1 percent to 3.3 billion payments.
• Direct Deposit is still the most widely used type of ACH payment. The number of Direct Deposits in 2006 increased by 5.5 percent to 4.7 billion payments. The average dollar amount of a Direct Deposit was $1,325.
ACH payments include Direct Deposit of payroll, Social Security benefits and tax refunds, Direct Payment of consumer bills, bill payments by Internet and telephone, check conversion, business-to-business payments, and Federal tax withholdings.