Friday, February 4, 2011

New NACHA rule will streamline remittance processing

By Mark Brousseau

Hoping to make automated clearing house (ACH) processing more appealing to businesses – especially smaller ones – NACHA is doing away with its outdated opt-out provisions for Accounts Receivable Check (ARC) Conversion and Back Office Conversion (BOC) transactions.

The new rules, which will be effective March 18, reverse a longstanding policy that requires billers and merchants to let consumers choose not to have their checks converted to electronic debits. Merchants and billers will still have to give notice to customers that their checks will be converted.

NACHA sees the rules change as particularly important as smaller merchants and billers look at adopting ACH payments as an alternative to remote deposit capture (RDC), which allows businesses to create images of checks and deposit them electronically to a financial institution.

With ARC, billers are able to convert paper checks they receive from consumers at designated lockboxes into electronic transactions. With BOC, merchants can batch consumer checks throughout the day and convert them later—typically, in a back office rather than at the point of sale—into electronic debits. While ARC and BOC opt-out rates have been marginal, typically running well under 1 percent of all consumers, the handling of these exception items was a big hassle for billers.

“This is a step in the right direction for businesses,” says US Dataworks Product Manager Leilani Doyle. “Businesses no longer are required to offer opt-out indicators on their remittance documents or worry about honoring an opt-out provision, if they don’t want to. This simplifies remittance processing. But the fact is, a miniscule number of opt-outs have been requested since the ARC rule was introduced. And, consumers are only becoming more comfortable with electronic payments.”

What do you think?

1 comment:

Lisa Trivette said...

Was the rule that would increase the dollar limit for ARC entries from $25,000 to $50,000 approved? Thank you.