The ACH Network has seen significant increases in its utilization by both businesses and consumers. Learning how to harness this information real time will help your bank stay ahead of the competition. In 2018, the adoption of electronic payments reached new heights with an increase of over 1.5 billion additional payments registered with the NACHA service (the electronic payments association that implements and oversees ACH transactions). Although this increase in ACH transactions has been a trend for the past half-decade, the addition of more than 1 billion payments is still impressive.
ACH Transaction: The Numbers Breakdown
The following is a more in-depth breakdown of the numbers concerning the success of ACH transactions of late.
- The total transaction volume of 23 billion payments seen in the year 2018 was a nearly 7% increase over the previous year, and the highest one seen in the past decade (since 2008).
- These 23 billion payments translated to an impressive $51.2 trillion, which is about equal to the combined gross domestic products of the top three nations on Earth – the United States, the European Union, and China.
- Although the payment tally has been increasing consistently for the last six years, this total for 2018 still represented an unexpected boom and far outpaced the projected values.
Diving Into the Details of ACH Transactions
To get a better idea of the significance of this gigantic increase in this particular form of electronic payment, and how it stacks up against the alternatives, consider the volume of same-day ACH payments. With 178 million same-day payments in 2018, this represented an increase of a 137% when compared to the previous year:
2017: 130 million same-day ACH transactions
2018: 178 million same-day ACH transactions
The total amount from 2018 ACH transactions was nearly $160 billion, an 83% increase in the numbers from the year 2017. As remarkable as the above numbers are, the economic character of ACH transactions is slated to continue improving as NACHA is focused on the effectiveness of the Same Day ACH dimension to enhance its benefits to business and consumers.
The Impact of this Growing Method of Electronic Payments on a Business
As the systems behind ACH transaction payments become more robust, you can expect the analysis of consumer financial behavior to become increasingly prevalent. After all, there is already an increased competition between payment and debit systems. Financial institutions that can predict changes in consumer behavior are primed to pull ahead of their competition.
The impact of consumer behavior becomes especially important to a financial institution as it grows in size, requiring the financial institution to identify trends in consumer behavior data. Proper strategic decision making based on insight born from transactional data will see the size of the deposits grow for a financial institution.
NACHA: Major Points of Interest
- Although an emphasis on expediting and increasing the volume of same-day payments is the future of the ACH transaction, same-day payments comprised a modest percentage of the overall transactions in 2018.
- Same-day ACH payments were still a 137% improvement over the previous year. It is precisely this unprecedented level of growth that has NACHA placing such an emphasis on further improving same-day payments.
- Both Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) transactions experienced significant increases in the realm of digital commerce; notably, the preference for electronic means of payment over paper checks. For B2B, the increase was 9.4%, and for Person to Person (P2P), the number was a 32% increase.
- Overall, many more transactions occurred in the online space than the previous year, with a 14.2% increase.
- Direct deposits from employer to the bank account of an employee also saw a 4.4% rise, which is expected to grow considerably as more and more banks offer incentives for consumers to opt for this transactional method.
The increase in ACH transaction numbers are staggering and only expected to increase. With total business (B2B) transactions in the range of $35 trillion in 2018, the opportunity to analyze and make proper decisions based on ACH transaction data could mean the difference between close competitors in the financial services industry.
Rob Reale is an Associate Partner and National Sales Manager responsible for business development and sales at Insight Financial Marketing. Rob began working in the Mortgage Banking industry in 1990 and currently helps the financial service industry leverage unique and innovative solutions.