Same Day ACH Frequently Asked Questions
Updated as of March 23, 2022
Federal Reserve Financial Services is committed to providing the answers and information you need. Answers to many of our customers' most frequently asked questions can be found using the links below.
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For more information on the ACH Rules change providing for Same Day ACH, please see Nacha's website (Off-site).
Same Day ACH Expansion Phases
- What is the key difference in each of the expansion phases?
- September 20, 2019 implementation date — established additional funds availability standards for ACH credits
- March 20, 2020 implementation date — increased the Same Day ACH dollar limit to $100,000
- March 19, 2021 implementation date — created a third Same Day ACH processing window that expands Same Day ACH availability by two hours
- March 18, 2022 implementation date — increased the per-payment maximum from $100,000 to $1 million
- Does the federal government participate in Same Day ACH?
With the publication of a final 31 CFR Part 210 rule (Off-site) the Treasury confirmed its support for the Nacha changes regarding the $1,000,000 limit for Same Day ACH payments. The Treasury can originate and receive payments up to $1,000,000 at any of the Same Day ACH processing windows.
- Will an ODFI be assessed the Same Day Entry fee, as defined in the Nacha Rules, for submitting to FedACH an ACH transaction with a federal government RTN?
An ODFI will be assessed the Same Day Entry fee only for forward items that are processed and settled as Same Day ACH items, whether commercial or government
- Are ACH returns with a federal government RTN as the ODFI or RDFI eligible for Same Day ACH?
Yes, returns associated with a federal government RTN are eligible for same day settlement if they are not future-dated and are received by FedACH within one of the processing windows for current day settlement.
- Are state government agencies participating in Same Day ACH?
Yes, ACH participants may originate and receive same day ACH entries to and from a state government agency.
Same Day Entry Fee and Accounting
- How is the Same Day Entry Fee collected?
As provided by the ACH Rules, a Same Day Entry Fee per transaction is assessed to ODFIs and credited to RDFIs to cover the RDFIs' costs of enabling and supporting Same Day ACH. The Same Day Entry Fee is collected by the ACH operators on behalf of the RDFIs and settles to ODFIs and RDFIs on a monthly basis.
- Is any portion of the Same Day Entry Fee retained by the ACH operators or Nacha?
No portion of the Same Day Entry Fee is retained by the ACH operators or Nacha.
- Does the Fed settle Same Day Entry Fees for transactions between customers of FedACH and The Clearing House?
The Federal Reserve Banks will settle the Same Day Entry Fees for all inter-operator transactions as well as intra-operator transactions where both the ODFI and RDFI are FedACH customers. The Clearing House (TCH) will settle only its intra-operator transactions (where both the ODFI and RDFI are TCH customers).
- How will customers be able to identify Same Day ACH transactions on their Federal Reserve accounting statements?
The origination and receipt of Same Day ACH items are separated from the non-Same Day ACH items by use of unique accounting transaction codes. Furthermore, the totals are separated by credits and debits.
- Is the $1,000,000 value limit applied to a single item or to a batch?
The $1,000,000 value limit applies to a single item. No single item over $1,000,000 will be eligible for same day settlement. Additionally, a $2,500 value limit will be imposed on items with an SEC Code of RCK (Re-Presented Check Entries) or XCK (Destroyed Check Entries).
- What happens if a batch submitted for same day settlement contains one or more item(s) over the value limit?
All items in the batch will be processed, and the item(s) over the limit will be assigned the next business day's settlement date, whereas the remaining items will receive same day settlement.
Returns, Notifications of Change (NOCs), Prenotifications and Reversals
- Are all return entries eligible for same day settlement?
All electronic return entries received prior to the 4:45 p.m. ET deadline, including credits and debits, all SEC codes, all dollar amounts, both commercial and government, are eligible for same day settlement, regardless of whether the forward entry was processed as a same day entry.
- Will returns be charged the Same Day Entry Fee?
Whether processed and settled same day or not, return entries will not be assessed the Same Day Entry Fee.
- Can notifications of change (NOCs) be settled same day, and will they be assessed the Same Day Entry Fee?
NOCs, or those entries bearing the "COR" standard entry class code, are eligible for same day processing and will not be assessed the Same Day Entry Fee. Per the ACH Rules, notifications of change settle at the earliest opportunity.
- Can prenotification entries be settled same day, and will they be assessed the Same Day Entry Fee?
Prenotification entries are forward entries and are eligible for same day settlement whether they are debits or credits and do not bear the "IAT" standard entry class code. Prenotification entries will be assessed the Same Day Entry Fee
- Are reversal entries eligible for same day settlement?
Both debit and credit reversal files are eligible for same day ACH settlement, and the Same Day Entry fee will be incurred by the ODFI.
- Can a FedACH subscriber use the "Derive Returns and NOCs" function to create returns the same day a forward item settles?
The derived returns function within the FedLine Web® Solution cannot currently be used to derive returns for Same Day ACH forward entries on the same day the forward entry settled. Current functionality does not make item-level information available until the next processing day. If an RDFI wishes to return a Same Day ACH forward entry for settlement on the same day it is received, a return file will need to be created and submitted to FedACH Services by the final Same Day ACH input deadline of 4:45 p.m. ET. Paper returns received by the 8:00 a.m. ET deadline will settle on the same day as well.
- How important is the effective entry date?
The effective entry date is critical. Assuming the file is submitted by the appropriate deadline, it is the effective entry date field that triggers same day settlement for eligible transactions. The current processing day date in the effective entry date field is interpreted as an intentional indication of the desire for same day settlement. In addition, a batch will be eligible for same day settlement whether the effective entry date field contains the current processing date or is invalid or stale. This means that a batch could be unintentionally settled as same day, and the appropriate Same Day Entry Fee will be assessed.
- How can customers ensure items not intended for same day settlement are processed properly?
Customers should include a future date in the effective entry date field to ensure future-day settlement. As a reminder, per the ACH Rules, a credit entry may be dated no more than two days in the future while a debit entry may be dated only one day in the future.
Stale-dated forward entries, if submitted after 4:45 p.m. ET and prior to 2:15 a.m. ET, will not settle same day and will not be assessed the Same Day Entry Fee.
Same Day ACH Transaction Transmission and Settlement
- Will Same Day ACH transactions be included with non-Same Day ACH transactions in the outgoing file transmissions?
Same Day ACH items and non-Same Day ACH items may be included within the same outgoing file transmission. Separation of batches will continue to occur at the settlement date/SEC code level and outgoing file transmissions may include both forward and return entries.
- How are file identification modifiers used for outgoing files? (e.g., the "A" file, the "B" file)
The file ID modifier is a unique code within each output file that begins with "A" with the first distribution to an institution and increments by a letter for each subsequent output file created. The first file - the "A" file - will be transmitted by 12 noon ET and is an accumulation of those entries submitted between 3 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. ET. If no entries are submitted within this first window for a receiving point, no file will be distributed for that receiving point. Additionally, if the entries processed during any window exceed the item maximum established for one file, a receiving institution may receive more than one file - an "A" file and a "B" file from the same distribution. The second delivery - or what would typically be a "B" file - will be based on the 10:30 - 2:45 p.m. processing window. The third delivery - or what would typically be a "C" file - will be based on the 2:45 – 4:45 p.m. ET processing window. If no entries are submitted within a given window, there will be no file distribution.
Therefore, the output file modifier is dependent on a combination of what distribution created the file and the number of entries processed for the receiving institution during a particular processing window. One institution's "A" file may be delivered at the same time as another institution's "B" file. In addition, file group sort options chosen by the financial institution as designated in their FedACH® Participation Agreement will dictate how many and what type of output files the financial institution receives.
- Can a customer expect its output files to be delivered with sequential file ID modifiers (e.g., A, B, C, D)?
Generally speaking, output files will be delivered to customers in the order in which they are created and the file ID modifiers will be sequential. Any return entries submitted prior to the third window input transmission deadline of 4:45 p.m. ET will be processed and settled at 6 p.m. ET, along with any forward items received in that same window. Originating depository financial institutions (ODFIs) should be aware that the file distributions received prior to the 6 p.m. ET settlement time may contain return entries.
- Does FedACH Services include an identifier to distinguish in which settlement window the transactions will settle?
The file transmission deadlines (10:30 a.m. ET, 2:45 p.m. ET, 4:45 p.m. ET, and 2:15 a.m. ET), and same day item eligibility dictate settlement date and time. FedACH does not add a file identifier to distinguish settlement. However, the deadlines, accounting and settlement codes on the Advices will separate the Same Day and non-Same Day ACH items.
- Will there be any new outgoing files distributed as a result of Same Day ACH?
With the implementation of the third Same Day ACH window, a new outgoing file will be created as a result of the 4:45 p.m. ET input transmission deadline with 6 p.m. ET settlement. Outgoing files associated with this processing timeframe may contain forward and return entries.
- Is an ODFI allowed to request an extension on Same Day ACH deadlines?
Extensions on Same Day ACH deadlines will not be allowed.
- How does Same Day ACH impact return deadlines?
A return entry that is future-dated will not settle same day, regardless of submission time. A return entry that contains either a current, stale or invalid date will be processed and settled the same day if received by 4:45 p.m. ET.
- When will forward reject items with a current day effective date settle?
Forward reject items with a current day effective date will settle on the date they are received by FedACH Services, assuming all other same day criteria has been met.
Overall Edits and Reject Process
- What will the operator process look like for editing and rejecting batches/files?
- There will be no changes to the current batch and file rejection procedures.
- For a forward entry to be processed and settled same day, it must adhere to the following:
- Cannot be an IAT or ENR standard entry class code
- Cannot exceed $1,000,000; cannot exceed $2,500 for RCK and XCK
- Input file must be received by the same day submittal deadline
- Effective entry date field in the batch header record must not contain a future date (field may contain current, invalid, or stale date)
- All of the above conditions must be met in order for the entry to be processed and settled same day. If an entry does not meet any ONE of the conditions, the entry will be processed, but settlement will not occur until the next business day. In this case, no Same Day Entry Fee will be assessed.
- The ACH Rules specify that an optional indicator (company descriptive date field of the batch header record) can be used by the originator to inform the ODFI of its desire to settle the batch same day. Will the operators edit this field?
The operators will not edit the optional same day indicator located in the company descriptive field of the batch header record. Operators will not rely on this field to determine same day eligibility.
- The ACH Rules specify that a return entry must not settle prior to the settlement of the corresponding forward entry. Do the operators ensure that this does not occur?
FedACH does not verify that the original forward entry has settled prior to a corresponding return entry. However, based on the ACH Rules, the return entry should be constructed using the same batch header information as the original forward entry. Therefore, the effective entry date on both the forward entry and the return entry should be the same. If the return entry is constructed correctly, the return entry will settle no sooner than the original forward entry.
- How does the FedPayments® Reporter Service for FedACH complement Same Day ACH for reporting and reconciliation?
The FedPayments Reporter Service contains several valuable reports to assist with reconciliation and research. Reports that contain Same Day ACH indicators include:
- ACH Originated Batch Report (Excel format)
- ACH Originated Entries Detail Report (Excel format)
- ACH Received Entries Detail Report (Excel format)
- How does the FedACH Risk® RDFI Alert Service complement Same Day ACH for transaction monitoring and risk mitigation?
RDFIs can set up batch-level criteria to receive alerts at each distribution window for any batches settling same day.
- How does the FedACH Risk Origination Monitoring Service function with Same Day ACH for transaction monitoring and risk mitigation?
ODFIs can set dollar thresholds at the RTN or Company ID level in the FedACH Risk Origination Monitoring Service, which, when exceeded, will result in batches pending for review and release.
- In order to qualify for same day settlement, the ODFI must manually release any pended batch(es) prior to the same day transmission deadline of 4:45 p.m. ET or activate the Same Day Auto-Release feature in the service.
- If a pended batch is released after 4:45 p.m. ET, the entries in the batch will receive next day settlement even if the entries otherwise qualified for same day settlement.
- If the pended batch is not released before the end-of-day, the FedACH Risk Origination Monitoring end-of-day default will be applied at the 2:15 a.m. ET deadline. If the default is to release the batch, then settlement will occur at 8:30 a.m. ET next business day for any entries that otherwise qualified for same day settlement.
- In order to have entries qualify for same day settlement, batches that will require monitoring should be transmitted to FedACH in a timely manner. Submitting files prior to 4:30 p.m. ET should allow the FedACH Risk Origination Monitoring Service to complete monitoring of the batches contained within a file prior to the final 4:45 p.m. ET Same Day deadline.
Advices and Balancing
- Are same day forward items included on the institution advices?
Each time an advice is created, it reflects the dollars settling at that given settlement window. The first advice (#1) created for the day will reflect both return and forward settlement that will be available at 1:00 p.m. ET; the second advice (#2) will reflect the settlement for forward and return entries available at 5:00 p.m. ET; the third advice (#3) will reflect forward and return entries settling at 6:00 p.m. ET; the fourth advice is only for prefunded origination settlement, and the end-of-day advice (#5) will reflect those entries settling one or more days in the future that will post at 8:30 a.m. ET on the settlement date.
- Will settlement advices always agree with FedACH output files?
Not necessarily. Because FedACH® will distribute items available for any given delivery regardless of the associated settlement time, it may be necessary to use information from multiple advices to balance to the output files received. FedACH advices will, however, always balance to the information posted in the Federal Reserve Banks’ Accounting System. For additional details on advices and balancing, please refer to the FedACH Services Settlement Tips document posted in the Same Day ACH Resource Center.
- Are sample scenarios available for Same Day ACH?
Sample Scenarios are available and have been updated to reflect the March 18, 2022, changes to the Same Day ACH dollar limit.