Conducting ACH Business with the Federal Reserve Banks
The Federal Reserve Banks are pleased to be selected as your institution’s ACH Operator. This page presents information covering some of the unique aspects of doing business with FedACH® Services.
There are a number of well-established resources available for training on ACH origination and getting started with an origination program. The Federal Reserve Banks do not intend to duplicate resources and have chosen instead to include an Additional Resources section at the end of this page to identify some of those resources.
As always, the Federal Reserve Banks stand ready to support your successful business operations. Please do not hesitate to contact any Federal Reserve Bank resource with questions.
The quickest way to find Federal Reserve Bank Financial Services contacts is by using the following resources.
- The Contact page contains a complete listing of all contacts by product areas
- The Find Your Contacts generates a custom listing for the ABA number entered
- FedACH® and Check Services Customer Support specializes in processing payments, testing and maintaining integrity of the FedACH and Check applications and assisting customers with related questions
- The Support Center specializes in assisting with FedLine® Solutions connection questions
Operating Circular 4
Operating Circular 4 provides the legal terms and conditions under which the Federal Reserve Banks provide ACH services. All financial institutions that utilize FedACH should be familiar with its content.
The Federal Reserve Bank’s financial services operating circulars are posted on FRBservices.org, under Rules and Regulations, Operating Circulars or accessed via the Operating Circulars page.
FedACH Participation Agreement
Financial institutions sign up for various FedACH Services, make service set up selections, and designate processing agents by completing the applicable parts of the Participation Agreement. Before a financial institution begins to originate or receive FedACH items through the Federal Reserve Banks, this agreement must be completed and signed by an individual on the institution’s Official Authorization List (OAL).
All sections of the FedACH Participation Agreement, completion instructions and a quick reference guide to the sections used to activate the various FedACH services are available at FRBservices.org, Forms, FedACH Services or via the FedACH® Services Forms page.
FedACH Processing Schedule
FedACH Transmission Windows, Target Distributions and Settlement Schedules are posted on FRBservices.org, under Operations Resources, FedACH at the Same Day ACH Frequently Asked Questions page.
Electronic Connections – FedLine Solutions
ACH items must be delivered to and received from the Federal Reserve Banks via an electronic connection. A financial institution may secure a connection capable of transmitting and receiving items or may choose to use the connection of a third party service provider for the transmission and receipt of items. Even if an institution itself does not maintain a connection capable of transmission and receipt, it can still monitor its FedACH activity and provide information services to its customers by securing an information only connection.
The Federal Reserve Banks’ FedLine Solutions provide a variety of capabilities. Please do not hesitate to contact the Support Center for assistance with understanding options or with service activation. You can find the Support Center contact information by using Find Your Contacts via the Contact page.
The connection options available are discussed in detail on the FedLine® Solutions page.
ACH Software Vendors
ACH software vendors can be helpful if an institution plans to do FedACH origination for multiple customers. Beyond facilitating ACH origination and receipt, the software often includes additional beneficial capabilities such as item warehousing and prenote tracking.
When choosing ACH software vendors, an institution should focus on its long-term ACH operating needs. Because ACH processing and regulatory environments change, it is best to choose software that can easily adapt to regulatory changes. It also is important to make sure the software vendor has a track record of promptly providing software updates when necessary due to processing or regulatory changes.
The ACH Software Vendor Considerations document is designed to assist an institution in the selection process. The document is located on FRBservices.org, under Operations Resources, FedACH Services Resources, Related Content or via the Considerations when Choosing an ACH Software Vendor (PDF).
Prior to sending the first FedACH file, an institution typically has a corporate customer send in a test file. This provides an opportunity to verify technical connectivity, format and processing procedures.
The institution should also plan to test with the Federal Reserve Banks to check file format and connectivity and to get a feel for how the process with the Federal Reserve would work. An institution can schedule to send/receive a data test file. Instructions for scheduling and setting up a test are provided on the FedACH® Services Testing Opportunities page.
The FedACH Service fees provide an institution with the information needed to price FedACH services or reconcile a billing statement. Fees are posted on the Service Fees page.
FedACH Value-added Services
To help your institution manage and make the most of its ACH activity, FedACH Services offers transmission services along with a variety of action-oriented information services.
- The suite of FedACH Risk® Management Services, serving both originating depository financial Institutions (ODFI) and receiving depository financial institutions (RDFI), are designed to provide your institution with the information it needs to monitor against ACH risk.
- The FedPayments® Reporter Service for FedACH® searches ACH transactions to find more than just the traditional payment-related financial EDI information. The service turns data from ACH items into actionable reports for use by internal operations and by your key business clients. Reports can be delivered automatically through an encrypted email channel.
Detailed information on all FedACH services can be found in the FedACH® Products & Services page.
The resources below are just a few of those available to institutions beginning or expanding an ACH origination program.
- Nacha - The Electronic Payments Association
- Nacha sets technical standards and provides the common rule set for ACH transactions. It supports the growth of the ACH Network by assisting in its development, administration and governance.
- Educational publications for purchase, including the Guide to ACH Origination, a comprehensive guide to establishing and maintaining successful ACH operations, are available on its website.
- Nacha Home Page (Off-site)
- Payments Associations
- Payments Associations provide ACH information and resources to financial institutions. There are 11 separate associations, and all serve the common cause of providing essential benefits to their members. These benefits include Nacha Operating Rules guidance and operational support, ongoing education and training, audit services, marketing tools and guidance, publication sales, and more.
- Center for Payments page (Off-site)