September 5, 2020
5 Min

ACH as a Customer Payment Strategy


ACH transactions have skyrocketed, hitting nearly 25 billion payments representing over $55T in value in 2019. Nacha has introduced new tools to speed up ACH payments and effectively prevent fraud. And ACH is less expensive and more secure than card payments, while solutions like Trustly are even chargeback-free since they offer guaranteed payments. Yet, the majority of online retailers haven’t adopted ACH for customer payments. 


In our recent webinar hosted by Merchant Risk Council, “Advances in ACH Payments: ACH as a Customer Payment Strategy,” we sat down with Luis Guzman from Nacha and Craig McDonald from Trustly to unpack the benefits of ACH for e-commerce merchants. Discover the big takeaways, including answers to your questions about real-time payments, ACH refunds, and more: 


ACH payments are becoming faster and more secure

The modern ACH network is thriving thanks to innovations around same-day payments and improvements to account validation. 


Same Day ACH payments

Longer submission window: Beginning March 19, 2021, Same Day ACH transactions can be submitted two hours later. This is especially advantageous for merchants on the West Coast. 


WEB Debit Account Validation Rule

Beginning March 19, 2021, ACH Originators will be required to validate account information for WEB debit entries. This update will add an additional layer of protection to ACH payments. 

The new rule is neutral regarding specific methods, but possibilities include: 

  • An ACH prenotification 
  • ACH micro-transaction verification 
  • Commercially available validation service 


But the ACH paradox remains 

ACH is the most ubiquitous payment network in the United States, and virtually “free” compared to card processing costs. But Trustly estimates that ACH is offered by less than 5% of online retailers. Reasons range from a generational decline in check usage to poor user experience (UX), and unknown returns exposure.

Although there’s massive untapped potential for ACH adoption, Trustly’s Online Banking Payment solution is bridging the gap.


How Trustly’s Online Banking Payments enhance ACH 

Trustly’s Online Banking Payment (OBP) solution builds off the robust ACH Network to deliver a seamless e-commerce experience. Unliked card payments, our OBP solution offers:

  • Low processing costs, below card debit
  • Guaranteed payment and no chargebacks
  • High approval rates and no false positives 
  • Embedded strong customer authentication (SCA)
  • Evergreen accounts without card expiration issues


For merchants reeling from the 31% increase in chargebacks since the COVID-19 shutdown began, guaranteed payment couldn’t come at a better time. Chat with one of our Trustly payment specialists to learn more about Online Banking Payments.


Q&A: What merchants want to know about ACH payments via Trustly 


Q: Will Trustly implement Real-Time Payments (RTP) in the near future? What’s your opinion of RTP vs. ACH?


McDonald: From a cost perspective, [ACH] can’t be beat. When you combine Trustly’s Online Banking Payments with ACH, merchants get what they want out of RTP, which is something that’s real-time, has a great user experience, is low-cost, and non-repudiable.


And because Trustly is managing and absorbing all your chargebacks, it ticks all those boxes. The only thing that’s missing is getting funds instantaneously. We are working towards a solution that supports real time payments in the future for certain use cases. 


Q: How are refunds managed when a consumer decides to return their goods?


McDonald: For the original transaction that was authorized and settled, the merchant has a transaction ID they use to request a full or partial refund. That transaction will be packaged up and put in a submission file for daily settlement via the ACH Network. In the future, we may support real-time payments for refunds. 


Q: If the ACH debit entry was returned with a code of insufficient funds (NSF), what can a merchant do?


McDonald: The beautiful thing about Trustly’s offering is that it doesn’t matter what the return code is, the merchant never has that value debited from their settlement account. Trustly absorbs that upfront cost and we will represent that cost later, but the merchant won’t be hit with liability for that NSF. 


Q: Do merchants have fraud thresholds they must remain below for Trustly to take on chargebacks?


McDonald: No, we don’t have any threshold. We go into a relationship with a merchant with eyes wide open. We look at metrics for their transaction portfolio, like returns, chargebacks, and fraud rate, and have that understanding going in.


Click here to watch the full webinar and get all of our ACH insights. (Note: You must be a Merchant Risk Council member to access this recording.)

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