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ACH Network Volume Surpasses One Billion Payments

The number of payment transactions processed by the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network exceeded one billion in 2001, a new record according to executives at a recent NACHA conference.

Annual transaction volume on the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network increased by more than one billion payments for the first time in 2001, according to statistics released by NACHA at its annual conference.

The volume of ACH payments in 2001 exceeded 7.99 billion, up 16.2 percent from 2000. The value of these payments was $22.2 trillion, representing a 9.2 percent increase. The transaction growth rate for 2001 increased substantially over the 12.4 percent rate for 2000.

"The year 2001 was an outstanding year for ACH participants," according to Janet C. Boyst, chair of NACHA's board of directors and senior vice president and group executive at Wachovia Bank.

ACH payments include direct deposit of payroll, Social Security benefits and tax refunds, direct payment of consumer bills, business-to-business payments, federal tax payments, and e-check and e-commerce payments.

Commercial use of ACH payments increased by 17.4 percent, from 6.03 billion in 2000 to 7.08 billion in 2001. Inter-bank ACH payments increased by 17.6 percent, from 4.36 billion to 5.13 billion. Onus transactions--payments that remain within a single financial institution--grew by 16.9 percent, from 1.67 billion in 2000 to 1.96 billion in 2001.

The federal government's ACH volume increased by 7.4 percent in 2001, from 848 million to 910 million payments.

Direct Deposit

The number of direct deposits in 2001 increased by 11.6 percent over 2000, from 3.3 billion to 3.7 billion payments. Direct deposit is used for payroll, expense and travel reimbursement, pension and annuity payments, interest payments, retirement and mutual fund distributions, Social Security, veterans and other government benefits, and tax refunds. The value of these direct deposits was more than $4 trillion, an average of $1,110 per transaction. Excluding federal government payments, the average direct deposit was for $1,195.

Direct Payment

The number of direct payments in 2001 totaled 2.6 billion, a 17.6 percent increase over 2000. A direct payment is a pre-authorized debit that uses the ACH Network, and is typically used for recurring bills such as mortgages, loans, utilities, investments and charitable contributions. The value of these payments was $1.6 trillion, an average of $631.

Corporate Payments

Use of the ACH Network for corporate payments, which include business-to-business payments, cash management transfers, government vendor payments and federal tax payments, rose from 1.2 billion transactions in 2000 to 1.4 billion in 2001, an 11.9 percent increase. The value of these payments was more than $16.3 trillion, an average of $11,812 per payment.

Financial EDI

Financial electronic data interchange (EDI), the electronic exchange of payments and payment-related information or documents in standard EDI formats between business partners, increased from 129 million payments in 2000 to 143 million in 2001, a 10.8 percent increase. Use of EDI addenda records, the payment-related remittance information that accompany payments, increased by 17.0 percent, from 353 million EDI records in 2000 to 413 million in 2001.

E-Checks

More than 200 million e-check payments were made in 2001. An e-check is an electronic debit to a consumer's checking account that is initiated at the point-of-sale, on the Internet, over the telephone, or via a bill remittance sent through the mail, and is processed using the ACH Network.

In 2001 there were 88.7 million e-checks originated at the point-of-sale, 74.6 million originated on the Internet, and 8.7 million originated via the telephone. Millions of other e-check payments were originated during pilot projects for both telephone and remittance payments.

In addition, NACHA statistics also show that 23.2 million re-presented check entries were processed through the ACH Network. A re-presented check entry is a returned consumer check that is re-presented for payment electronically rather than through the paper check collection system.

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