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How much of a technology challenge are same-day ACH payments?

It’s a valid question. NACHA’s recent proposals for comment have placed same-day ACH payments front and centre.

The idea of same-day transaction is not a new one, but this is the first time that ACH payments have been considered for the same-day treatment, and clearly shortening the window for transferring funds has implications for basic transaction processes and the technology that support them.

The UK’s Faster Payments scheme stands as a cautionary example. Both popular among customers, and successful in raising revenues for banks that chose to participate, the technological investment was considerable. However, NACHA’s proposals mandate adoption of the scheme by all originating and receiving banks in the U.S. and so it has, understandably, opted for a simpler, more implementable scheme design that relies on existing network infrastructure - in contrast to the UK’s new-build network. As a result, the investment required from banks will be considerably lower, particularly for those that have already made the move towards a more agile payments platform.

Nonetheless, banks should be bringing together technology, business and fraud teams now to start the process of preparing for the new ACH regime, looking at the experience and lessons learned from similar deployments elsewhere, and ensuring that any technology investments will deliver on the business opportunities that same day ACH payments present. 

They should not underestimate the changes to operational processes and risk management that same day ACH will entail.  Early planning, involvement of all stakeholders and rigorous project management will help them ensure success and reap the benefits from product enhancements and additional volumes resulting from the scheme.

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