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NACHA Stats Show Nearly 5% Growth for the ACH in 2014’s Holiday Quarter

All things considered, the holidays were kind to the ACH. Transactions on the automated clearing house network grew 4.7% in the final three months of 2014 compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, while dollar volume moved by the network climbed 4.9%, according to statistics from NACHA, the governing body for the ACH.

Volume for the quarter totaled approximately $10.3 trillion on about 4.72 billion transactions, Herndon, Va.-based NACHA said. The figures refer to network traffic but do not include so-called on-us transactions, where the two parties to the transaction are customers of the same bank.

Cross-border activity was especially lively, with transactions using the ACH’s International ACH Transaction application rising 27.7%, to 17.2 million. This volume was also up a hefty 17% from the third quarter. One of the ACH’s newer applications, IAT went live in September 2009 and has been growing briskly.

Among the e-check codes, WEB continued its march toward the 1 billion mark in quarterly transactions, with 961 million payments in the October through December period. That’s up 12.7% from the year-ago quarter and 6.7% over the third quarter. WEB includes online bill payments and mobile transactions.

TEL, which includes telephone-initiated payments, also enjoyed robust growth, rising nearly 9% year-over-year to 106.8 million transactions.

But results were mixed for e-check applications involving the conversion of consumers’ paper checks to electronic formats. POP, which allows cashiers to convert checks at the cash register, fell 11.5% from the year-ago quarter to 90.3 million transactions, though volume rose 2.7% from the third quarter. BOC, a similar application that lets stores bundle checks and convert then in back offices, fell nearly 9%, to 41.9 million payments. Again, though, volume was up over the third quarter, with a 4.5% bump.

ARC, meanwhile, continued a long descent. This application, in which billers convert checks collected in lockboxes, fell 8.2% year-over-year and 0.8% from the third quarter, to 382.9 million transactions. ARC has been affected in recent years by a general movement among consumers away from using checks to pay bills and toward online and mobile bill payment.

The mainstays of the ACH, prearranged payment and deposit (PPD) transactions, continued to grow at a healthy clip, despite their bulky volume. PPD debits, where billers collect payments electronically from consumers according to pre-arranged terms, rose 5.3% to 872.3 million transactions. These payments are common with, for example, health clubs, homeowners’ associations, and charities.

PPD credits, which include payroll direct deposit from employers, grew 3.7% to 1.45 billion transactions, accounting for nearly one-third of all ACH traffic.

Source: Digital Transactions