May 16, 2024

Automating ACH: Banks and Credit Unions Eliminate Rejected Files and Slash Error Handling by Half

by Kent Brown and Blake Herring in Banking Core Integration , Payment Management 0 comments

The Automated Clearing House (ACH) network, established by Nacha and operated by The Federal Reserve and The Clearing House Electronic Payments Network, serves as a crucial infrastructure for managing electronic payments and collections in the U.S. Despite its reliability for handling transactions such as bill payments and direct deposits, the traditional ACH system is confronting significant challenges in an era that demands greater digital agility and operational efficiency from financial institutions (FIs).

The Challenges

Many customers need help with outdated and inflexible ACH processing systems that hinder rather than facilitate efficient transaction handling. These challenges typically stem from two main areas:

Core Vendor Integration: Often, customers encounter challenges when integrating traditional core banking solutions from vendors such as Fiserv, Jack Henry, or FIS into modern digital banking environments. While core platforms are robust, reliable, and essential to the FI’s operation, they can lack the flexibility and advanced interfaces that today’s digital banking demands. Enhancing transparency and control can sometimes be challenging, affecting operational efficiency and accuracy.

Manual Entry Woes: As an alternative, some FIs have resorted to manually uploading ACH files using Federal Reserve services such as FedLine. This process is not only labor-intensive but also fraught with risks of human error, leading to potential financial discrepancies and reputational damage.

The Solution: PortX Payment Manager

To address these challenges and revitalize their ACH processing, banks and credit unions utilize Payment Manager, part of our Fintech Hub platform designed to simplify connectivity and streamline operations through advanced Open and Reuseable Core Banking APIs (ORCA). Payment Manager bridges the gap between various financial systems without being tied to any specific core banking framework.

Key Features of Payment Manager:

API-Driven Initiations: Leveraging the flexibility of Open and Reusable Core Banking APIs (ORCA), Payment Manager enables partners and clients to initiate ACH requests directly through a digital interface, accelerating the agility and responsiveness of the process.

Automated Processing: The solution automates the parsing and validation of each ACH file, incorporating integrated OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) checks to ensure compliance and reduce the risk of errors.

Direct Federal Reserve Uploads: Utilizing advanced connectivity APIs, such as ORCA, FIs can securely and efficiently transfer ACH files directly to the Federal Reserve, ensuring faster processing times and enhanced reliability.

Results and Impact

Our customers consistently report transformative results from implementing Payment Manager to optimize their ACH processing. This tool has proven effective in enhancing transaction management systems and has unlocked several key benefits to their operations:

Boosted Operational Efficiency: Customers report that automation and streamlined processes alone have the potential to reduce time spent on error handling by more than 50%.

Increased Reliability: The direct uploads and automated validation processes have improved the timeliness and accuracy of ACH transactions.

Enhanced Transparency and Control: With better visibility into the lifecycle of each ACH request, FIs enjoy advanced control over operations, leading to fewer service issues and increased customer satisfaction.

Reduction in Errors: Payment Manager can identify nearly all scenarios that could lead to file rejection, thus significantly reducing the volume of returned requests. Validation allows us to prevent most errors associated with ACH transactions. However, it’s worth noting that outside factors at the financial institution can make it challenging to fully control the volume of returned requests.

Why This Matters to FIs

For community banks and credit unions, modernizing legacy systems like ACH is critical for keeping pace with technological advancements and remaining competitive in a market increasingly driven by innovation and digital-first strategies. Payment Manager modernizes and transforms ACH processing into a more flexible, cost-effective, and efficient operation, ready to meet the demands of today’s fintech partners and digital-savvy consumers.

Our customers have addressed the inefficiencies of the traditional ACH system and positioned themselves as forward-thinking institutions prepared to face future challenges. This use case underscores our commitment to helping financial institutions modernize payment infrastructures and improve operational workflows. If you want to learn more about Payment Manager and automating payment channels, start a conversation with our team today.

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