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What does "ACH" mean?

ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. 

The Automated Clearing House (ACH) is a network utilized by American banks to make digital deposits and withdraws from personal and business bank accounts. This network has been in existence for almost 50 years, and is the backbone for digital payments in our country. If you use any of the following services, you likely engage with the ACH network:

  • Direct deposit of your paycheck

  • Social security payments

  • Mortgage payments

  • Credit card payments

  • Healthcare payments

ACH is typically the term used for any "bank to bank" transfer between a business and consumer, or between businesses. The back-end network is very storied. In the early 70's, each state created their own ACH network. Over the years, those networks consolidated into the NACHA, or National Automated Clearing House Association. NACHA is what governs all rules/regulations surrounding ACH payments in the states, but NACHA does not physically manage the network. 

The networks that transmit this sensitive data are managed by the the Federal Reserve, and the Clearing House. As a government entity, the Fed is naturally designed to be unbiased. The clearinghouse is represented by over 1000 member-banks, and exists solely to act as an intermediary to physically "move the money".

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