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Preparing for the third Same Day ACH window: Stale-dated entries

What is a stale-dated Automated Clearing House (ACH) entry you ask? Great question!

In an ACH batch/file, the Effective Entry Date field of the Company Batch header record is critical. It is this field that triggers same day settlement for eligible transactions. The current processing day in the Effective Entry Date field is interpreted as an intentional indication of the desire for same day settlement. However, as many financial institutions may recall from earlier phases of Same Day ACH implementation, an ongoing scenario exists in which an invalid or “stale” date in the Effective Entry Date field will trigger same day settlement (provided all other requirements for same day settlement are met).

What’s changing with the new third processing window?

Effective March 19, 2021, a third processing window will be available for Same Day ACH with an input processing deadline of 4:45 p.m. ET and settlement at 6 p.m. ET. We understand that there are still significant volumes of ACH transactions being originated with stale dates.

For a number of reasons, originating depository financial institutions (ODFIs) have elected to hold those files for release after the 2:45 p.m. ET processing deadline as a way to avoid “inadvertent” Same Day ACH processing. Starting March 19, 2021, those files will be processed as Same Day items unless ODFIs choose to delay releasing those files until after 4:45 p.m. ET and avoid same day settlement and the associated fee of 5.2 cents per transaction.

Holding ACH files for transmission until after 4:45 p.m. ET is not a recommended solution, and ODFIs might wish to consider working with their originators to resolve the occurrences of stale-dated entries so that inadvertent same day settlement is no longer a challenge.

With fewer than six months remaining until the implementation of the third Same Day ACH processing window, we strongly encourage each of our FedACH® Services customers to begin reviewing their origination volume to avoid any unwelcome surprises on their billing statements for March 2021 and beyond.

The FedPayments® Reporter Service for FedACH Services offers an ACH Originated Batch Report that provides detail such as stale-date indicators and originator information for both debit and credit entries. The report is available in an Excel® spreadsheet format and can be automatically generated on a daily and monthly basis.

For additional information on the March 19, 2021, implementation, please visit the Same Day ACH Resource Center.


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