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ACH / eCheck Transaction Timing

The ability to take online payments directly from a bank account (instead of through a credit card) is often called eChecking or ACH. ACH stands for Automated Clearing House, which is the network used for this type of financial transaction in the United States. While "eChecking" is a convenient term, the same process can be used for savings accounts.

The timing of these ACH transactions is more complicated than it is for credit card transactions. We'll give you the bottom line here, and then more specifics and some examples.

The bottom line for eChecking (ACH) transactions:

  • Each donation (and any recurrences) will take place on the target date or the following business (banking) day. Recurring giving is usually processed at 2:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time. 
  • Transactions placed after 4:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time will begin processing the next business day.
  • Donations via eChecking (or savings accounts) are affected by the hours of service for the banking industry and individual banks.
  • An eChecking transaction may not be reflected on the bank account involved for two business days.

 More specifics:

  • Since the system works with the banking industry, it is dependant on banker's hours. So for an ACH transaction typically nothing happens on weekends and holidays or on weekdays after 4:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time. The transactions are just held in the system. This timing can also be affected by the hours of individual banks.
  • The system that works with ACH typically requires two business days of processing time before it shows up on the bank account. So when ACH transactions are created or have been scheduled ahead of time (such as a recurring donation), the transaction status will change to "In process" on the scheduled processing date. In-process transactions cannot be cancelled.
  • Keep in mind that the ACH system can reverse transactions as much as two weeks after it posts. Reports will display the transaction on the date that it posts to the user's account, and any reversal would show up as an additional entry.

A few examples:

The following chart provides specific examples of how this typically works.  

 Type of example When transaction is entered by user (US Eastern Time) When it shows up on user's bank account Explanation
Simple Tuesday at 10:00 AM Thursday Simple two days of processing
Evening Tuesday at 5:00 PM Friday Processing didn't start until Wednesday
Friday Friday at 10:00 AM Tuesday Processing on Friday and Monday
Friday evening Friday at 5:00 PM Wednesday Processing on Monday and Tuesday
With Monday holiday Friday at 5:00 PM Thursday Processing on Tuesday and Wednesday
Scheduled or recurring donation Tuesday, January 10 at 10:00 AM - Scheduled for 10th of each month Thursday, January 12 Processing begins on Tues. Jan 10th as scheduled, then typical processing time

 

 EChecking (ACH) Contributions in Elexio Database and Portal

Contributions made through Portal will show up in Database records (by the end of the day) on the date the transaction is scheduled. In Portal, the transaction will initially show as "pending" and that status will be updated after the transaction actually clears the bank.

Planned contributions (for example, a recurring donation scheduled for next month) do not show in Database records until the scheduled transaction date. They are available for viewing or editing by the Portal user in the Portal Giving area. 

When using the Database report FCR3301 Contribution Detail, make sure to include both fields Date Given and Bank Deposit Date since both dates are relevant for different tax or accounting purposes.  The Bank Deposit Date will show as blank on the report until the transaction has cleared the bank.  The FCR3305 Bank Reconciliation Report is intended to be used for bank reconciliation for online transactions and electronic checks.  Please note that bank deposit dates on FCR3305 are supported for the Vanco merchant account and for Elexio FPS, but that it is recommended that FPS clients use the superior "400x" reports in the Financial Processing Services folder on the Reports tab of Elexio Database instead since they are built specifically for FPS .

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