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New Year/New ACH rules: How your RPA can help

By Jennifer Kirk, AAP, EPCOR VP Industry and Government Relations

In the ACH world, there is an abundance of acronyms thrown around. And while “RPA” is not one of those acronyms often spoken, it is a very valuable term to the ACH network. Because Corporate One provides free membership in EPCOR (an RPA) for members that have less than $20 million in assets, we thought we’d take a minute to review the value that an RPA partnership brings to you.

Defining an RPA

An RPA, or Regional Payments Association, is the trade organization in your area of the country, which specializes in payment-related education and support. RPAs are member-based and provide credit unions, banks, corporations, e-commerce companies and payments technology providers (in their footprint) reliable payments and risk mitigation education, information, support and national industry representation.

Same Day ACH webinars

Join us for parts two and three of our new Same Day ACH webinar series. Learn exactly what you need to know to prepare for the new same-day processing rules.

February 4:
RDFI considerations

February 11:
ODFI considerations

While each RPA is a separate association, the shared mission is to educate and provide information and resources to their members. As direct members of NACHA, RPAs help shape the ACH network and the NACHA Operating Rules and, as such, are best known for the ACH-centric education and information they provide to their members.

Understanding the benefits of RPAs

So, what does this mean to you? RPAs are the ACH, card, wire and check experts located right in your backyard! Most RPAs offer numerous educational opportunities for you to attend, including in-person seminars, workshops and conferences, webinars, and on-demand training.

Also, there is an overabundance of tools developed by RPAs to help your credit union send and receive payments. Want to get your Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) or National Check Professional (NCP) certification? RPAs offer prep programs to help you obtain these certifications and the continuing education courses needed to help you maintain them.

And, if you want an outside resource to assist with completion of your annually required ACH Rules Compliance Audit or Risk Assessment, RPAs have experts on hand to help you at a reasonable cost.

New ACH rules for 2016

Since RPAs offer premier education in ACH rules, I would be remiss not to remind you about a few new ACH rules this year that that are of utmost importance to your credit union.

Same Day ACH. Although the new same-day processing rule will be implemented in a phased approach, Receiving Depository Financial Institutions (RDFIs) will be required to accept same-day ACH credits beginning as early as September 23, 2016, in addition to the traditional ACH transactions RDFIs receive today. 

In phase one (of three total phases), Originating Depository Financial Institutions (ODFIs) may opt to send ACH credit entries with an effective entry date of the same day the entry is sent. There will be two ACH file distribution deadlines, which, if the ODFI meets, the settlement date assigned by the ACH operator will be the same day as the ACH entry is sent.

  • The Federal Reserve Bank has announced that the distribution deadlines for files with Same Day ACH entries will be 10:30 a.m. ET and 2:45 p.m. ET. These files will be distributed to the RDFIs by noon ET and 4:00 p.m. ET, respectively. 
  • RDFIs who receive and ODFIs who originate Same Day ACH entries will also receive two additional settlements from the ACH operator at 1:00 p.m. ET and 3:00 p.m. ET in addition to the 8:30 a.m. ET settlement for traditional ACH.

Unauthorized entry fee. The ACH network wants to rid itself of unauthorized entries, and the new strategy is to fine ODFIs that send unauthorized entries. In a nutshell, for every ACH transaction returned as R05, R07, R10, R29 or R51, the ODFI will incur a fee of $4.50. Fees will begin on October 3, 2016, for entries that were originated as early as August 1, 2016.

On the other side of the transaction, RDFIs will begin to see a refund in the amount of $4.50 for every return made using the return reason codes R05, R07, R10, R29 and R51. This refund to the RDFI is to partially compensate for the costs imposed when preparing and sending the ACH return.

Did you know?

  • EPCOR offers a plethora of ACH, check, card and wire education. Register for the EPCOR Electronic Resource License for as little as $150 and receive a library of payment systems on-demand education for your entire staff. Call 800-500-0100 or email memserve@epcor.org to obtain your Electronic Resources License. 
  • EPCOR hosts more than 50 Payment Systems Update in-person events in locations all over the Midwest. Payment Systems Update is your one-stop shop for new payment system rules and regulations. Visit www.EPCOR.org to register for a Payments Systems Update class near you.
  • Not a member of an RPA? Visit https://www.nacha.org/members/regional-payments-associations to see which RPA is ready and willing to help you today!