Ellen Cibula
Written by Ellen Cibula Payments, Finance, and AI Expert: Learn More

Are you looking to boost your business revenues in the upcoming year?

It’s time to start thinking about how you can accept ACH payments. If you haven’t heard, ACH (Automated Clearing House) is a secure electronic payment system enabling businesses or individuals to send and receive money between financial institutions. A study by NACHA showed that in 2022, over $72 trillion was transferred via the ACH Network, an increase of 5.6% over 2021. As someone with experience working at a payment processor, I know firsthand how much of an impact accepting ACH payments can have on business revenue in 2024 – and beyond.

With ACH, there are lower transaction fees than many other forms of payment processing, like credit cards and bank transfers. This means less overhead for your business. And when it comes to security, ACH offers top-level protection with its advanced encryption methods. This means transactions are safe and reliable every time.

Keep reading to learn more about how you can easily set up to accept payments today – so that you’re ready for success tomorrow!


Here are the steps for how to accept ACH payments:

  1. Select a payment processor
  2. Create an account with your processor
  3. Set up a business bank account
  4. Gather customer information
  5. Incorporate into your payment processing platform
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Understand Why Accepting ACH Payments Is Important for Your Business

Accepting Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments can be a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. They can bring several advantages, such as cost savings, improved cash flow, and heightened customer satisfaction. 

Cost-Effective Processing Fees

One of the main advantages of ACH transactions is their lower processing fees compared to credit card transactions. Credit cards generally levy a percentage-based fee on each transaction, which can accumulate rapidly for businesses with high sales volumes. For example, the average credit card fee is 2.5% of the transaction amount, while ACH transaction fees average about $0.30 per transaction. Over time, the difference in these fees can add up quickly.

On the other hand, ACH transfers usually have flat or per-transaction fees that are significantly lower than those associated with credit cards.

Faster Access to Funds

ACH transfers also provide quick access to funds. While traditional check deposits may take several days to clear and become available in your account, most ACH transfers are processed within one or two business days – allowing you to improve cash flow management and make better financial decisions.

Better Customer Experience

  • Ease of Use: Customers appreciate having multiple payment options when making purchases or paying bills online. By offering them an easy-to-use alternative like ACH payments alongside credit cards and PayPal options, you cater to their preferences while simplifying the checkout process.
  • Safety: Security-conscious customers often prefer using direct bank transfer methods such as ACH over credit cards due to the reduced risk of fraud and identity theft. Offering a secure payment option can foster trust between you and your customers.
  • Recurring Payments: ACH transfers are ideal for businesses that offer subscription-based services or require recurring payments from their clients. Automatic withdrawals make it easier for customers to manage their finances while ensuring timely payments for your business.

Increase Sales Opportunities

By offering ACH as an additional payment method, you open up new sales channels and attract more potential customers who may not have access to credit cards or prefer direct bank transfers. In turn, this could lead to increased revenue and growth opportunities for your business.

Key Takeaway

Incorporating ACH payments into your operations is a smart move that can benefit both your business and its clientele. With lower processing fees, faster fund availability, enhanced customer satisfaction, and expanded sales possibilities – there’s no reason not to consider accepting ACH transactions today.

Learn the Steps Involved in Setting Up ACH Payments

Setting up your business to accept ACH payments can be a straightforward process. Once you have chosen a payment processor, these steps will help ensure successful ACH payments for your customers.

  1. Select a Payment Processor: Choose a reliable payment processor to begin accepting ACH payments. Look for one that offers competitive fees and excellent customer support.
  2. Create an ACH Merchant Account with Your Chosen Processor: Once you’ve selected a payment processor, create an account with them. This typically involves providing basic information about your business and agreeing to their terms of service.
  3. Set Up Your Business Bank Account: To receive funds from ACH transactions, you must set up a designated bank account for your business. Open a business bank account if you don’t already have one, ensuring that it meets the requirements of your payment processor. Make sure it’s compatible with the requirements of your chosen payment processor.
  4. Gather Customer Information: When processing an ACH transaction, specific customer details are required, such as their name, bank routing number, and account number. You may also need authorization from the customer in writing or electronically before initiating any transactions on their behalf.
  5. Gather the Payment Details: Gather the necessary information for the payment before you send the payment to your payment provider.

Overall, ACH payments work by pulling funds directly from a customer’s bank account and transferring them to the receiving depository financial institution. This process is facilitated by the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), which oversees the ACH network.

Key Takeaway

By accepting ACH payments, you can expand your payment options and make it easier for customers to pay you. With the right payment processor and tools in place, the ACH payments process can be seamless and efficient for both you and your customers.

Explore Different Payment Processing Options for ACH Payments

When it comes to accepting ACH payments, businesses have several payment processing options to choose from. Each option has its own features and benefits for the specific needs of your business.

NACHA’s Direct Payment via ACH

NACHA’s Direct Payment via ACH is a widely used solution for businesses looking to accept electronic payments directly from customers’ bank accounts. This service provides a secure way of paying electronically with lower charges than those associated with credit card processing, making it an appealing option for numerous small businesses.

ACH Payment Processors

You can choose a payment processor that provides ACH payment processing. Here are some tips on how to select a processor:

Tips When Choosing a Processor:

  • Evaluate the fees associated with each provider: Some providers may charge setup fees or monthly maintenance costs in addition to transaction fees.
  • Consider the integration options: Make sure the payment processor can easily integrate with your existing software and tools, such as accounting systems or e-commerce platforms.
  • Research customer support: Look for a provider that offers responsive and helpful customer service in case you encounter any issues during setup or ongoing use of their services.
Key Takeaway

Businesses have various payment processing options for accepting ACH payments, such as NACHA’s Direct Payment via ACH and other payment providers specializing in ACH.

Tips and Tricks to Streamline the ACH Payment Process

Streamlining your business’s ACH payment process can save time, reduce errors, and improve customer satisfaction. Here are some tips and tricks to help you optimize this essential aspect of your financial operations.

Automate Your Invoicing System

Using an automated invoicing system can save time and diminish the possibility of human-induced mistakes. Many accounting software platforms offer features that allow you to create recurring invoices for customers with ongoing payments or subscriptions, ensuring timely billing without manual intervention.

Use a Reliable Payment Processor

Selecting a reliable payment processor is crucial for efficient ACH processing. Look for providers with robust security measures, transparent pricing structures, excellent customer support, and integration capabilities with popular accounting software platforms.

Implement Robust Security Measures

Ensure the security of sensitive data during ACH transactions by implementing encryption protocols such as SSL/TLS and two-factor authentication. Ensure data security by implementing strong safety measures to protect confidential information and personal details during the transaction process.

Train Your Staff on ACH Best Practices

Providing employees with proper training on ACH best practices can help minimize errors and improve overall efficiency. Ensure that all staff members handling financial transactions are familiar with the correct procedures for processing ACH payments, including handling rejects.

Monitor Transactions Regularly

To identify potential issues early, regularly monitor your business’s ACH transactions by reviewing reports from your payment processor or accounting software platform. This will allow you to spot trends in transaction volumes, detect unusual activity indicative of fraud, and address any customer concerns promptly.

Key Takeaway

Streamlining your ACH payment process can save time, reduce errors and improve customer satisfaction. To optimize this essential aspect of your financial operations:

  • Automate invoicing systems
  • Use reliable payment processors with robust security measures in place
  • Train staff on best practices for processing payments
  • Monitor transactions regularly to identify potential issues early.

Pros and Cons of ACH Payments

As with any payment method, there are both advantages and disadvantages to accepting ACH payments for your business.

ACH Payments Pros

  • Lower transaction fees: One of the main benefits of using ACH payments is that they typically have lower transaction fees than credit card processing. This can help businesses save money on payment processing costs.
  • Faster settlement times: With advancements in technology and banking regulations like Same Day ACH implemented by NACHA, funds from an approved transaction can be available within one business day or even faster, depending on your bank’s policies.
  • Better cash flow management: By accepting recurring billing through direct debit (an essential feature of many subscription-based services), you’ll have more predictable revenue streams, which helps with budgeting and forecasting for future growth.
  • Increase customer satisfaction: Many customers prefer paying directly from their bank account instead of using a credit card due to security concerns or avoiding debt accumulation. Offering this option may improve customer retention rates and attract new clients who value convenience and flexibility in payment methods.

ACH Payment Cons

  • Potential delays due to insufficient funds or incorrect information: ACH transactions can be returned for various reasons, such as insufficient funds in the payer’s account or incorrect bank routing and account numbers. Cash flow could be adversely affected by delays in obtaining payments.
  • Not feasible for point-of-sale systems: ACH transactions are generally not initiated by POS systems in retail locations. For several reasons, point-of-sale (POS) systems are not ideal for processing ACH payments. POS systems are designed to handle instant transactions, not requiring a waiting period for funds to clear. ACH payments can take several business days to settle, which is not feasible for most retail businesses. Because of its complexity, ACH payment processing requires a different set of tools than what POS systems provide.
  • Limited international support: Although ACH is widely used within the United States, there are better solutions for businesses dealing with international clients due to its limited global reach. Alternative EFT transfer methods like wire transfers or cross-border payment platforms should be considered in such cases.


The National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) governs the rules for accepting ACH payments. Key requirements include:

  • Obtaining proper customer authorization.
  • Using secure data transmission methods.
  • Adhering to transaction limits and settlement timeframes
  • Following guidelines on handling returns and reversals.

Yes, ACH payments are considered safe as they use a highly secure network overseen by NACHA. The system employs multiple layers of security measures such as encryption, authentication protocols, and regular audits to ensure data protection. However, businesses should also implement security practices like solid access controls and fraud detection tools.

The drawbacks of accepting ACH payments include slower processing times compared to credit cards (1-2 business days), potential fees charged by payment processors or banks for transactions or returns/reversals, increased administrative tasks related to customer authorizations management, and susceptibility to occasional human errors due to manual entry processes.

No, you cannot directly accept ACH transfers through PayPal. However, you can use PayPal’s subsidiary company Braintree, which supports various payment options, including direct bank transfers via its Bank Transfer API feature.


Accepting ACH payments can benefit your business in many ways, including faster and more secure transactions, lower fees than credit card payments, and the ability to set up recurring payments. Setting up ACH payments involves a few simple steps, such as verifying your bank account information and selecting a payment processing option that suits your needs.

Streamlining the ACH payment process can save time and reduce errors. However, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of ACH payments before deciding if it’s right for your business.

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