The ACH network marked a record-setting quarter as its volume skyrocketed in the first few months of 2021. According to Nacha, which oversees the direct deposits and payments network, ACH saw a quarterly volume of 7.1 billion payments, an 11.2 percent increase over the first quarter of 2020. Those payments were valued at $17.3 trillion, almost 19 percent higher than last year.
“While these have been some of the most challenging times we have seen, the modern ACH Network has again shown itself to be not only resilient, but industrial-strength,” Jane Larimer, Nacha president and CEO, said in a news release. “The ACH network is doing its part to get Americans the assistance they need while keeping billions of other payments moving seamlessly.”
What broke the records? First off, ACH recorded more than 118 million payments per day in February, the highest daily average for a month. Then in March, ACH volume reached 2.7 billion payments, the largest monthly volume in the network’s history, thanks in large part to the 110 million direct deposit stimulus payments to taxpayers from the federal government. As of the end of March, the government had sent out 127 million payments totaling $325 billion, a majority of them made through direct deposit.
According to Nacha, the continuing migration from checks to ACH has continued for American businesses, with B2B ACH payments rising 17.3 percent to 1.2 billion. The number of same-day ACH payments passed the one-billion milestone, transferring more than $1 trillion in value.
“Ongoing adoption and surpassing the one-billion-payments mark show that Same-Day ACH is a significant contributor to meeting the nation’s demand for faster payments,” said Larimer. “Our next enhancement, increasing the per-payment limit to $1 million in March 2022, is another step to expand the reach of Same-Day ACH.”