It should be known that ACH (automated clearing house) and eCheck payments both fall under the term EFTs (electronic funds transfers), which are exactly what the name implies: funds being transferred electronically from one party to another.
The reason these terms are often used interchangeably is because they both are processed as ACH payments, but there are still differences that merchants should be aware of.
ACH payments are commonly used for recurring payments, direct deposits, and larger transactions, for which the information provided is stored to use in future payments.
On the other hand, eChecks are used for one-off payments, and the information provided for the transaction isn’t stored.
While the similarities between ACH and eChecks are noticeable, here’s a quick review:
Both are processed through the ACH network, both are EFTs, and both function between banking institutions.
To summarize, here’s a side-by-side comparison of eChecks and ACH:
|Frecuency||One Time Payments||Can be recurring|
|Processing Time||1-3 business days, but can take longer when verifying one-off transactions||1-3 business days|
|How Payments Are Carried Out||Through the ACH network||Through the ACH network|
Why implement ACH and eChecks into your business?
Today, ACH is considered essential to most businesses and companies: it’s very secure, it’s convenient for customers and merchants alike, and it generally cost less than credit card transactions. In fact, due to transfers occurring straight from the customer’s account, some fees can be avoided altogether.