Year-Over-Year Transaction Volume Up 2.6 Percent
Growth Experienced in Direct Deposit, B2B Payments and Consumer Internet Transactions, Positive Trend Continues in Unauthorized Debits
ACH payment volume increased by more than 475 million transactions in 2009, bringing year-end total transaction volume to 18.76 billion, a 2.6 percent increase over 2008 activity, according to NACHA—The Electronic Payments Association. Year-over-year comparisons demonstrated strong volume increases in ACH native electronic payments — Direct Deposit, consumer Internet transactions, and B2B transactions — and in back office check conversion. In addition, NACHA is reporting a continued positive trend in risk mitigation, witnessed by the ongoing decline in the unauthorized debit volume.
Network Risk Indicators
While ACH volume continues to increase, unauthorized debits have been on a multi-year downward trajectory. The number of ACH debits returned as unauthorized in 2009 declined 9.6 percent over 2008. These transactions constitute 0.02 percent of total Network volume.
“The trend we’re seeing with unauthorized debits is a direct result of new NACHA rules and other enforcement efforts that went into effect in 2008,” said Janet O. Estep, president and CEO of NACHA. “Analyzing the data, we see the absolute volume of unauthorized debits dropped following the implementation of the Network Enforcement Rule and the Company Name Rule. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of targeted rulemaking and risk-management practices.”
Native Electronic Payments
ACH native electronic payments (non-check conversion transactions) increased by 4.15 percent in 2009, showing an increased preference for non-check, fully-electronic, payment options. These payments constituted 12.19 billion transactions on the ACH Network.
Direct Deposit continues to deliver a critical piece of Network volume. For 2009 year-end, there were 4.54 billion Direct Deposit payments, an increase of 4.9 percent over 2008.
“In the difficult economic environment of 2009, the ACH Network continued to see steady volume growth, including Direct Deposit transactions,” indicated Estep. “Notwithstanding a 10 percent unemployment rate, Direct Deposit volume increased nearly 5 percent in 2009. This exemplifies its ongoing adoption, including the potential increase in the use of split deposit for savings. These figures reinforce that Direct Deposit offers value for all parties – consumers, businesses, and their financial institutions.”
Business-to-Business (B2B) Payments
B2B transaction volume was up to more than two billion payments in 2009, an increase of 3.2 percent over 2008. The largest growth was in corporate trade exchange transactions, which carry business remittance information along with the payment. These payments increased by 9.19 percent over 2008, reaching more than 60 million transactions. In addition, the number of B2B addenda records with the remittance information increased by 8.52 percent year-over-year. The increases in this transaction volume and addenda records with remittance information demonstrates that growth continues for companies using the ACH Network for transmitting robust information.
Consumer Internet Transactions
Overall, year-end 2009 consumer Internet transactions (including WEB and CIE) were up 8.75 percent to nearly 2.4 billion payments. Internet-initiated (WEB) volume has been on an upward trajectory which continued through the close of 2009 with a substantial 9.7 percent increase over 2008. Additionally, NACHA and ACH Network participants have continued to manage risk well on these efficient transactions. Year-over-year comparisons show a significant 13 percent decline in the number of unauthorized WEB debits, with an overall unauthorized rate of return at a nominal 0.04 percent.
Back Office Check Conversion
Back Office Conversion (BOC) continued its growth pattern as more companies seek ways to streamline administrative tasks for processing checks presented by their customers. In 2009, BOC transaction volume more than doubled (104.56 percent) over 2008, resulting in 160.5 million transactions.
International ACH Transactions (IAT)
The fourth quarter of 2009 provided the first full-quarter transaction data for IAT. Combined with the nine banking days in Q3 where IATs were available, the year-end total for IAT was 1.7 million with a dollar value of $7.4 billion.
Comparing 2008 and 2009, total federal government ACH transactions increased by 5.52 percent to 1.21 billion transactions, while dollars increased 7.22 percent to $4.29 trillion. The United States Department of the Treasury’s Financial Management Service has released data that indicates that the federal government saves $0.925 for every ACH credit used instead of a check. In 2009, there were 1.08 billion government ACH credits, representing a $1 billion cost savings for the federal government.