ACH (Electronic Payment) Frequently Asked Questions

On September 15, 2017, the Federal Reserve began processing most ACH debits on the same day that they were transacted. Below are some FAQ’s regarding the change:



Which ACH debits are eligible to be same day?
Nearly all ACH debits will be eligible. These include both ongoing payments (e.g., a monthly debit for your utility bill) and one time payments. The only payments not affected will be international transactions and transactions above $25,000.

Will all online payments be processed same day?
No. It depends on the decision of the institution being paid. There is a cost to sending payments for same day processing.

For example: A major utility may decide it is cost effective to elect same day ACH processing. Members making ACH payments to that utility will see their payments post and clear same day. Alternatively, a local health club may decide that it is not cost effective to elect same day ACH processing. Members with ACH debits to that health club will not see their payments processed same day.

Will 1st Financial’s Debit Card payments clear my account faster?
No. 1st Financial’s Debit Card transactions do not follow the same process as ACH debits. They will not be affected. However, some Debit Cards from other institutions that link to your 1st Financial account (such as debit cards from Target or Nordstrom) may follow the ACH process. If so, they may clear and post same day.

Will my 1st Financial bill payments clear my account faster?
At this time, 1st Financial’s Bill Pay process is not changing. However, this may change in the future.

Will paper check payments be processed faster?
In some cases, yes. Some merchants may convert paper checks to ACH debits for processing and be affected by same day ACH processing. It depends on the institution processing your paper check.

Will payments for my 1st Financial credit card balances be processed faster?
At this time, payments to your 1st Financial credit card balance are not changing. However, this may change in the future.

Will recurring payments be subject to same day ACH?
It depends on the institution receiving the recurring payments. If they decide to process their payments using same day ACH, then the recurring payments will process same day.

Why is 1st Financial doing this?
The ACH network (the National Automated Clearing House Association, or NACHA) that manages the network is making these changes to improve payment efficiency. The new schedule affects all financial institutions, including 1st Financial.

Can 1st Financial continue to process payments according to the old schedule?
Whether or not a payment is sent for same day ACH processing is the decision of the institution being paid. It is not determined by 1st Financial. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, along with all U.S. financial institutions, is required by NACHA (the manager of the ACH network) to accept same day ACH processing. Therefore, 1st Financial is not able to retain the current debit clearing schedule.

What is 1st Financial’s Overdraft Policy for ACH payments?
If an ACH is presented to your account and your Available Balance is not sufficient to pay the transaction, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union will first attempt to make a transfer from a share savings and/or line of credit product if one has been set up as part of your overdraft protection options.

If the Available Balance in your Line of Credit and/or Share Savings account is insufficient to cover the overdraft, payment of the item will depend on whether or not your checking account has Courtesy Pay. Through Courtesy Pay, we may pay the item or return it unpaid at our discretion.

Regardless of whether or not we pay an item or return it unpaid, we will charge an overdraft or NSF fee of $29.50.  Although Courtesy Pay may allow you to avoid merchant return items fees, it is our most expensive option and should be used as a last resort.

How can I avoid overdrafts caused by same day ACH debits?
You should only make a payment if you have a sufficient Available Balance in your account to cover the payment. 1st Financial’s Online and Mobile Banking services provide you with account access on-the-go and can help you keep on top of your balances.

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