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US ACH payment growth in 2012; fastest growth in online payments

Total ACH payment volume grew to over 21 billion transactions in 2012, up 4.19 percent over 2011, according to NACHA the Electronic Payments Assocation.

Growth rates for the different types of payment varied considerably:

  • native (started off as electronic) payments increased 6.38 percent over 2011 (These payments now make up 85 percent of total ACH Network volume.)
  • check initiated transactions decreased by 6.75 percent.ACH credit payments (7 bn), an increase of 5.4 percent over 2011
  • ACH debit payment volume grew by 3.3 percent in 2012.
  • ACH Credit Payments Grew Faster than Debit
  • consumer-initiated entries, or CIE credit payments used primarily to pay bills, grew by 7.6 percent in 2012
  • business-to-business (B2B) transaction categories, which enable B2B credit payments and the use of addenda records for remittance purposes, grew by 5.1 percent
  • Direct Deposits via ACH, another credit payment, also saw significant growth. In 2012, there was a total of 5.1 billion Direct Deposit via ACH transactions, representing a 5.4 percent increase over 2011.
  • WEB transactions — those transactions made when authorization to debit an account is given via the Internet or a wireless network — increased 10.2 percent and now make up 17.6 percent of total ACH Network volume.

Network Quality is Improving

Overall ACH Network return rates experienced a decrease in 2012, from 0.98 percent to 0.97 percent.  The unauthorized debit rate decreased to 0.0298 percent in 2012 from 0.0300 in 2011, marking 10 consecutive years of decline.

The penetration of ACH in the USA is still low, and the growth rates are minimal compared to the UK Faster Payments service. In fact, the UK's ACH (BACS) is declining at almost the same rate that the USA's is increasing. The USA is seriously behind the curve in mass payments.

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