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ACH payment processing time (how long do ACH debit payments take?)

Brad Ewin
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Last editedMay 20221 min read

ACH debit is not an instant payment method. Payments may take more than 3 working days to clear on your bank account. Let’s take a brief look at the typical timeline of processing an ACH debit.

How long do ACH Debit Payments take? The timeline:

Day 0

  • ACH file submitted to your bank

  • Bank processes file and sends to the ACH network

Day 1

  • File is available to your customer’s bank

  • Customer’s bank receives file and debits their account

  • Funds credited to ODFI

Day 2

  • Payment failure cut-off - the payer’s bank has two days from the transaction date to notify the ACH network of any failures.

Day 3

  • Your bank receives notification from ACH network and communicates with you.

The time of day you initially submit the ACH file to your bank is important, as ACH debit payments only get processed at three times throughout the business day. Different banks may have different cut-off times for receiving ACH files - if you submit after the cut-off time, your request is not likely to be processed until the next day. Check with your bank for their specific cut-off times.

For various reasons, the process to collect an ACH debit may fail (and thus potentially take longer). Common reasons for failure include:

  • The ACH file is submitted in an incorrect format

  • The customer has insufficient funds in their account

  • The customer’s payment details are incorrect

How long does it take for ACH Payments to appear in the receiver's account?

ACH payments are typically available to the receiver within 3 days. Depending on the time of day that the request is made, this can take longer due to the batched processing employed in ACH transfers.

When an ACH transfer request is submitted, it’s added together to a larger batch of files which are processed at intervals throughout the day. It’s also important to note that ACH transfer processing only occurs during business days. If you send a bank transfer on a Friday, you’ll need to factor in the weekend days and the usual three-day processing time.

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Is it possible to collect 'Instant' ACH payments?

The ACH network makes it difficult to achieve truly instant transfers, though same-day processing closes the gap. However, you do have additional instant transfer methods to choose from.

Read more about instant ACH payment solutions.

What about same-day ACH processing?

Previously only applicable to ACH credit payments, Nacha has now enabled same-day processing capabilities (under the name Same Day ACH) for “virtually all types” of ACH payments - including ACH debits and credits.

Same-Day ACH has four notable limitations compared to ordinary ACH payments:

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