Skip to content
Go to GoCardless homepage
Pricing
LoginSign up

How to Accept ACH Payments Online

While it may be the most important part of your business, learning how to accept payments can also be one of the biggest challenges. From figuring out invoices to taking online payments for e-commerce, there are a whole number of different processes that you need to master in order to successfully collect revenue for your business.

It’s also important to know how to accept ACH payments, which is an acronym that stands for automated clearing house. Basically, this is a way to accept online payments by transferring funds from one bank account to another, replacing traditional methods such as checks, wire transfers and card payments. Keep reading to find out more about how to accept ACH and the implications for your business.

What is an ACH payment?

Before learning how to accept ACH payments online, it’s important to first establish what is meant by this. The acronym ACH stands for automated clearing house, which is the name of the network via which the funds are transferred. The transaction can also be referred to as an electronic funds transfer, or EFT for short.

In simple terms, this just means that you customers are able to transfer money directly from their bank account into yours. This is often done via an eCheck, which is one of the transactions that uses the ACH network. Although this might seem quite similar to debit card payments, there are different requirements if you want to accept ACH as they are processed through different providers.

How to accept ACH payments

There are various steps that you must complete if you want to accept ACH payments:

  • First of all, you need to set up a merchant account that will allow you to use the ACH network. In order to do this, you’ll have to provide some details to the provider such as tax information and the number of years that your business has been operating.

  • Once you have your merchant account, you’re ready to accept ACH payments. The next stage is to get authorisation from your customers, either by signing a contract or order form, or by submitting an online payment form. Of course, the customer will also have to provide their payment details.

  • Once you have received authorization and payment information from the customer, you can submit this and process the payment through your payment processing software.

Can I accept ACH payments free?

Many people who are new to ACH ask themselves: “can I accept ACH payments free?” Unfortunately, you will usually have to pay processing fees when you accept these payments. These fees come in various forms, and may be charged as a flat fee or perhaps as a percentage of the overall transaction cost.

In some cases, if you are already accepting credit card payments, then your merchant may offer you ACH processing for no additional cost.

The advantages of ACH payments

You might be wondering why you should choose to accept ACH payments. Well, there are various advantages to using this payment technology:

  • ACH payments are cost-effective, and the associated fees are much smaller than those for credit card transactions.

  • Speed and convenience. ACH payments are not subject to the same delays that often occur with credit card payments.

  • There is less chance that an ACH payment will be disputed by the customer, offering you an extra level of protection against fraud.

  • ACH payments are well suited for recurring payments, as eChecks can be set up with an authorised billing schedule. This means that both you and the customer don’t need to do anything after the initial agreement has been made.

We can help

GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

GoCardless is used by over 60,000 businesses around the world. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

Learn moreSign Up

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Contact sales