We know that having a full understanding of the ACH Network, ACH payments, and their attributes and advantages is important in successfully spreading the word. Below are some questions we’ve been asked throughout the process. We’ve categorized them to make it easier for you to find. If you don’t get your answer here, feel free to contact us at nachacommunications@nacha.org.

> NACHA Message Project
> Adopting and Usage
> Direct Deposit
> Direct Payment
> Defining Transactions

The NACHA Message Project

Q: Why did NACHA undertake this Message Project?

A: NACHA undertook this initiative to develop clear, powerful messaging to ensure a common understanding of the NACHA Operating Rules, the ACH Network, and ACH payments. Creating consistent messages, terminology, and phrasing helps all of us in the industry tell our story in a consistent and focused way.

Q: What is the purpose of the NACHA Message Project?

A: The purpose involves the definition, adoption, and consistent use of industry terminology to explain the ACH Network, ACH payments, and their attributes and advantages. We focused on the most important points to convey, and created concise, memorable, conversational language to blend what you want to say about how you support payments with what your customers and constituents want to hear.

Q: How can my organization support this effort?

A: The goal is to embrace the messaging, terminology, and phrasing and bring about an industry-wide adoption of all three, using “via ACH” to consistently tie ACH payments back to the ACH Network for all audiences.

Q: How did NACHA come up with Direct Deposit and Direct Payment?

A: Through data and information gathered from extensive research and focus groups, the industry reiterated to NACHA that Direct Deposit and Direct Payment are the most appropriate terms for all audiences.

Q: Are you reaching out to businesses to let them know about the messages, terminology, and phrasing?

A: Yes, we are working closely with industry organizations in Phase I of this rollout to get the industry on board with the messages, terminology, and phrasing. This will continue through 2011 and 2012.

Q: Are you reaching out to consumers to let them know about the messages, terminology, and phrasing?

A: Consumer outreach is part of Phase II of the rollout. Phase I focuses on getting the industry on board with adoption of the messages, terminology, and phrasing. A heavier consumer push will tie into the project in 2012.

Q: Is NACHA trying to brand the ACH Network?

A: No. In accordance with the NACHA Strategic Plan, we are working to simplify the understanding of the ACH Network and ACH payments for all audiences, with the goals of:

  • Creating a consistent, recognizable description and explanation of the ACH Network and ACH payments for all participants.
  • Demonstrating the effectiveness of the Rules, the value of the ACH Network and its key attributes, as well as underscoring the importance of private-sector rule making.

Q: Where can I get more information?

A: For more information, please contact NACHA Communications at nachacommunications@nacha.org.

^ return to top

Adopting and Usage

Q: How do I use the messages?

A: Messages to convey the attributes of the ACH Network and ACH payments should be used in publications, websites, speeches, testimony, presentations, media interviews, promotional materials, and as integrated marketing building blocks. They are meant to provide direction on core points, but do not have to be used verbatim.

Q: How do I use the terminology?

A: The specific terminology the industry has identified – “Direct Deposit” and “Direct Payment” – should be used for all audiences in context to help consistently communicate and explain ACH payments.

Q: How do I use the phrasing?

A: The phrasing “via ACH” should be used with terminology and branded ACH products and services to emphasize the role the ACH Network plays in Direct Deposit and Direct Payment, and underscore its attributes.

Q: What if I call my product a special branded name?

A: If you’re using your own branded product name, call it a Direct Payment product when verbally explaining what it is in a generic sense. You also can start adding “via ACH” to it. For example, the product SurePay becomes “SurePay via ACH,” or the product EZ Pay becomes “EZ Pay via ACH.”

Q: When should I use “via ACH”?

A: Use “Direct Deposit via ACH” and “Direct Payment via ACH” at every appropriate opportunity. Specifically, use the complete phrase “Direct Deposit via ACH” or “Direct Payment via ACH” like you would use an acronym – fully articulated at first reference in a written piece, speech, presentation, or other environment. Subsequent references can refer simply to “Direct Deposit” or “Direct Payment.” Use “via ACH” with special product names this way: “[Product Name] via ACH” when it is your own brand. “[Product Name] via ACH” can apply to enrollment forms, payment lists, drop-down menus, marketing pieces, or other items as appropriate.

Q: How should I use “via ACH”?

A: The ACH Network is the vehicle for direct account-to-account electronic transactions, and “via ACH” is used as the differentiating phrase that links ACH payments back to the Network.

Use “Direct Deposit via ACH” and “Direct Payment via ACH” like you would use an acronym – fully articulated at first reference in a written piece, speech, presentation, or other environment. Subsequent references can refer simply to “Direct Deposit” or “Direct Payment.”

Use “via ACH” with special product names this way: “[Product Name] via ACH” when it is your own brand. “[Product Name] via ACH” can apply to enrollment forms, payment lists, drop-down menus, marketing pieces, or other items as appropriate.

Q: What if my marketing team doesn’t want to incorporate “via ACH” or use the terminology and messaging?

A: We understand that this isn’t going to be an overnight process and not every organization will be able to implement changes immediately. We simply ask that you introduce and support the NACHA Message Project whenever possible and share this information with your marketing team for consideration. As your organization’s materials are revised and new products and materials created, we hope to drive usage of the messages, terminology, and phrasing. If your marketing team wants more information, they can contact NACHA Communications at nachacommunications@nacha.org.

Q: What if my organization needs specific resources not available on this website?

A: NACHA is in the process of developing additional materials, and we are happy to create and provide additional resources just for you. To place a request, please contact NACHA Communications at nachacommunications@nacha.org.

Q: How can I help spread the word about the NACHA Message Project?

A: The easiest way is to start using the messages, terminology, and phrasing in your presentations, your organization’s materials, and your day-to-day interactions. You can also direct colleagues and industry peers to this website (direct.nacha.org) for the latest tools and resources.

Q: Where can I get more information on any of these topics?

A: Check back at this site (direct.nacha.org) for the latest industry tools and resources. Or, for more information, please contact NACHA Communications at nachacommunications@nacha.org.

Q: What is the timeframe for making these changes?

A: We understand that this isn’t going to be an overnight process and not every organization will be able to implement changes immediately. We simply ask that you introduce and support the NACHA Message Project whenever possible and share this information throughout your organization. As your organization’s materials are revised and new products and materials created, we hope to drive usage of the messages, terminology, and phrasing. If your organization wants more information, you can contact NACHA Communications at nachacommunications@nacha.org.

^ return to top

Direct Deposit

Q: How do you define Direct Deposit?

A: Direct Deposit is the deposit of funds to a consumer’s account for payroll, employee expense reimbursement, government benefits, tax and other refunds, and annuities and interest payments. It includes any ACH credit payment from a business or government to a consumer. This definition reflects the traditional industry uses of Direct Deposit.

Q: How has the definition of Direct Deposit changed?

A: The definition of Direct Deposit remains unchanged and reflects the traditional industry uses of the terminology appropriate for all audiences, as supported by extensive research and focus groups.

^ return to top

Direct Payment

Q: How do you define Direct Payment?

A: Direct Payment is the use of funds for making a payment. Individuals or organizations can send or receive a Direct Payment as an ACH credit or debit.

Q: How has the definition of Direct Payment changed?

A: The definition of Direct Payment has been expanded to include all ACH payments that are not Direct Deposits – not just recurring payments. The expanded definition simplifies terminology for the end user.

Q: Should Direct Payment be used in reference to both ACH credits and ACH debits?

A: Yes, Direct Payment refers to all ACH payments – both debit and credit – that are not Direct Deposits. The expanded definition simplifies terminology for the end user.

Q: Should Direct Payment be used in reference to both recurring and one-time payments?

A: Yes, the definition of Direct Payment has been expanded to include all ACH payments that are not Direct Deposits – not just recurring payments. The expanded definition simplifies terminology for the end user.

Q: Should Direct Payment be used in reference to bill payments, online purchases, purchases made through alternative payment solutions, and purchases made through online banking?

A: Yes, the definition of Direct Payment has been expanded to include all ACH payments that are not Direct Deposits – not just recurring payments. The expanded definition simplifies terminology for the end user.

Q: In the expanded definition of Direct Payment, where does check conversion fit?

A: Check conversion is a kind of Direct Payment. While there are nuances to check conversion, it ultimately is an ACH payment that is not a Direct Deposit.

Q: How should P2P payments be handled?

A: P2P payments should be handled as Direct Payments from one consumer to another.

Q: Is there a special term for mobile payments?

A: No, mobile payments are one type of Direct Payment.

^ return to top

Defining Transactions

Q: What terminology should be used for a refund payment?

A: For a consumer account, it’s a Direct Deposit. For example, if the consumer buys an item online using Direct Payment, and then decides to return the item, the consumer receives a Direct Deposit of the refund from the seller. This is because the definition of Direct Deposit includes any ACH credit payment from a business or government to a consumer.

For a business account, it’s a Direct Payment. For example, if the buyer is a business that buys an item online using Direct Payment from a business account, and then decides to return the item, the seller makes a Direct Payment of the refund to the buyer’s business account. It’s a Direct Payment because it’s a business account, and the traditional definition of a Direct Deposit applies to a consumer account. This is consistent in government tax refunds as well, because Direct Deposit has always been defined in the context of a consumer – not a business – account.

Q: If a consumer makes a tax payment, is that a Direct Deposit or a Direct Payment?

A: It is a Direct Payment. The consumer is paying the government, which does not exemplify the traditional definition of Direct Deposit.

Q: What if I use the ACH Network to fund a payroll card or offer an ACH closed-loop debit card to make a purchase at the point-of-sale?

A: The definitions for Direct Deposit and Direct Payment still apply. The funding of the employee payroll card is made by Direct Deposit. A purchase using an ACH closed-loop debit card at the point-of-sale debits the associated DDA account by Direct Payment.

Q: What if I know my customer/audience wants the distinction between an ACH debit and an ACH credit, which “Direct Payment” does not address?

A: Direct Payment refers to all ACH payments – both debit and credit – that are not Direct Deposits. The expanded definition simplifies terminology for the end user. However, we realize there are audiences who are more sophisticated and want to make the distinction between ACH credit and ACH debit, in which case we recommend you use Direct Credit Payment or Direct Debit Payment.

Q: What if I know my customer/audience wants to speak in very specific SEC codes?

A: Direct Payment refers to all ACH payments – both debit and credit – that are not Direct Deposits. The expanded definition simplifies terminology for the end user. However, we realize there are audiences who are more sophisticated and want to use specific SEC codes, in which case we recommend you use Direct Deposit or Direct Payment on the first reference to drive home the correct terminology. Here are two examples of correct usage: “Mobile payments are Direct Payments using the WEB SEC code.” Or, “PPD+ transactions, or Direct Deposits, are still growing in volume on the ACH Network.”

Q: How is terminology handled when a third-party solution provider is involved?

A: The Direct Deposit and Direct Payment definitions still apply. Don’t think about the payment as funds flow; think of it as either a Direct Deposit or a Direct Payment. If the ACH payment is not considered a Direct Deposit, it must be a Direct Payment.

^ return to top
FAQs

Q: Where can I get more information?

A: For more information, please contact NACHA Communications at nachacommunications@nacha.org.

Go to all FAQs