ACH payment volume increased by more than 475 million transactions in 2009, bringing year-end total transaction volume to 18.76 billion, a 2.6 percent increase over 2008 activity, according to NACHA, the electronic payments association. Year-over-year comparisons demonstrated strong volume increases in ACH native electronic payments — direct deposit, consumer internet transactions, and B2B transactions — and in back office check conversion. In addition, NACHA is reporting a continued positive trend in risk mitigation, witnessed by the ongoing decline in the unauthorized debit volume.
While ACH volume continues to increase, unauthorized debits have been on a multi-year downward trajectory. The number of ACH debits returned as unauthorized in 2009 declined 9.6 percent over 2008. These transactions constitute 0.02 percent of total network volume.
ACH native electronic payments (non-check conversion transactions) increased by 4.15 percent in 2009, showing an increased preference for non-check, fully-electronic, payment options. These payments constituted 12.19 billion transactions on the ACH Network.
Direct deposit continues to deliver a big chunk of network volume. For 2009 year-end, there were 4.54 billion direct deposit payments, an increase of 4.9 percent over 2008, despite the 10% unemployment rate.
B2B transaction volume was up to more than two billion payments in 2009, an increase of 3.2 percent over 2008. The largest growth was in corporate trade exchange transactions, which carry business remittance information along with the payment. These payments increased by 9.19 percent over 2008, reaching more than 60 million transactions. In addition, the number of B2B addenda records with the remittance information increased by 8.52 percent year-over-year. The increases in this transaction volume and addenda records with remittance information demonstrates that growth continues for companies using the ACH Network for transmitting robust information.
Overall, year-end 2009 consumer Internet transactions were up 8.75 percent to nearly 2.4 billion payments. Internet-initiated volume has been on an upward trajectory which continued through the close of 2009 with a substantial 9.7 percent increase over 2008. NACHA and ACH Network participants have continued to manage risk well on these transactions. Year-over-year comparisons show a significant 13 percent decline in the number of unauthorized web debits, with an overall unauthorized rate of return at a nominal 0.04 percent.
Back Office Conversion continued its growth pattern as more companies seek ways to streamline administrative tasks for processing checks presented by their customers. In 2009, BOC transaction volume more than doubled (104.56 percent) over 2008, resulting in 160.5 million transactions.
Comparing 2008 and 2009, total federal government ACH transactions increased by 5.52 percent to 1.21 billion transactions, while dollars increased 7.22 percent to $4.29 trillion. The Treasury's Financial Management Service has released data that indicates that the federal government saves $0.925 for every ACH credit used instead of a check. In 2009, there were 1.08 billion government ACH credits, representing a $1 billion cost savings for the federal government.
NACHA will release the top 50 originators and receivers lists later in April.