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The final countdown: Third same-day ACH processing window is open

Mar 19, 2021
By: Chris Hewitt

In a year filled with changes that have no doubt impacted daily operations, we continue to need to be agile and plan ahead because it seems the only constant in our lives is change.

Even when we know change is coming, deadlines can sneak up on us. NACHA’s third window for same-day ACH processing and settlement took effect on Friday, March 19.

In this last phase of the same-day processing implementation, additional same-day ACH entries will need to be processed and settled up to two hours later in the day than they are currently. This may require adjustments to accommodate sending and receiving ACH files in the third window. Some areas for consideration include potential changes to staffing needs and schedules, updates to documented policies and procedures, and revisions to internal controls to ensure compliance (including core and ACH system posting, settlement and reconciliation).

Depending on geographic location and time zone, the deadlines will vary, highlighting the importance of considering your individual institution’s current processing procedures and determining what, if any, additional changes need to be made. The processing deadlines are standardized in Eastern Time, but they adjust as you move west through the Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones, so being aware of the relationship between the deadlines, your institution’s daily processing cutoff and your standard staff schedules will be crucial because you may have less time than you think to ensure files received in the third window are processed and settled on time.

It’s not all bad, though. This third window creates additional opportunities for enhanced speed of processing for same-day entries, which could be an advantage for those institutions offering same-day ACH services for their originators. With so many delays occurring in the postal service, companies everywhere are realizing the need to send and receive payments faster. After all, no one wants to hear, “The check is in the mail.”

More information can be found here or by talking to your Wipfli ACH professional.

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Author(s)

Chris Hewitt, CIA
Senior Internal Auditor
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