Friday, August 25, 2017

Federal Reserve to Begin Same Day ACH Debits on 09-15-2017

A big change is coming on 09-15-2017 that will affect those consumers who have been using a bit of "float" time on their checking transactions. In the past, consumers have written checks on the day that they will be paid that night. Payrolls and other direct deposits that post in the evenings are being posted for recipient access by the following business morning. In the past, these checks written would never be presented for payment in the same day unless a merchant physically brought the check to the financial institution. That all changes on 09-15-2017. The Federal Reserve will then be processing same day Automated Clearing House (ACH) debits several times during each business day. This means that a check written at 10:00 AM could be presented electronically to the financial institution for payment that same afternoon. This only applies to those merchants who will convert checks written to an ACH debit as a means of receiving their money. The big box retailers will most certainly do this but smaller, local merchants probably will not at least not at the beginning of this change. 

This will also apply to any debit authorizations given over the telephone or Internet. If you authorize a debit from your account with a merchant that morning, it is possible that your checking account will be debited that afternoon for the transaction amount. Again, there is a cost for a merchant processing multiple debit files throughout the day so not all merchants will utilize the availability. 

The problem for consumers is that they will not know which merchants (1) Convert written checks to ACH debit drafts, and (2) Process multiple debit authorization files throughout the day.

The best advice is to maintain a practice of only authorizing transactions on your checking account for funds that are already in place within the account, or available from an overdraft source. Legally, funds are already supposed to be in the account at the time of the transaction. Online home banking, mobile apps, and audio response systems are all available to verify available balances before transactions are performed. 

Please remember that this same day ACH debit change is coming from the Federal Reserve and will affect all financial institutions. Also know that same day ACH credits (deposits) began a year ago to speed up deposits coming into accounts.