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If you are wondering what all the buzz is about concerning ACH, you’re not alone. Studies show that 4 out of 5 Americans are thrilled at the prospect of ACH becoming more a part of their everyday life.* If you haven’t been privy to the excitement, not to worry! Let me give you a quick rundown of what you’ve missed so far. These are the most common questions I get asked at parties (as you can tell, I attend all the best parties):

What does ACH stand for?

You might think it stands for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, but you’d be wrong. I think you are confusing ACH with Superman. ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. ACH is a banking network that coordinates electronic payments and automated money transfers and is a way to move funds between banks without using paper checks, wire transfers, credit cards, or cash.

Who uses ACH?

Well, if you use apps like CashApp, Zelle, or Venmo, or you use your bank’s bill pay service, or you are one of the 82% of Americans** that gets paid through direct deposit…you do. These are all examples of the wonder of ACH in action. If you’ve ever sent money to someone using something other than a check, credit card, or cash, you likely used the ACH network. Millions of people use it every day to safely and securely send and receive money. Some ACH transactions require action on your part (like when you pay me for that lunch I took care of when you “said” you forgot your wallet), using the Cash App. Other transactions can happen automatically, like when you sign up for AutoPay to pay your cable bill.

How does ACH differ from Credit Cards?

This question probably deserves its own podcast, but the short answer is twofold: 1) The source of the funds is your bank account, rather than a credit card, and 2) the processing fees are much cheaper. This is why many businesses (especially online) prefer ACH to Credit Cards because it saves them thousands of dollars each year in processing fees.

Is it secure?

Yep.

No, really. Is it secure?

Absolutely. ACH is federally regulated with similar rules to PCI DSS (which governs the Credit Card industry). There is a myriad of rules and regulations that merchants must follow to accept ACH transactions, such as keeping all personal information encrypted. Let’s put it this way, here’s the list of top 50 Originators (senders) and Receivers (receivers) of ACH funds in 2020, along with relevant volume. The behemoths on this list aren’t using ACH this extensively unless it is secure. If you are comfortable paying with your credit card, you should be comfortable paying with ACH.

I own a business that accepts Credit Cards and I’d like to start accepting ACH, what should I do?

If you are an UltraCamp customer, the answer is simple: Go to the My Settings Wizard and open up the Client Payments tab. In the ACH section, change the radial button to “Yes, I’d like to accept ACH” and follow the ensuing prompts. If you aren’t an UltraCamp customer, the first step is even simpler: click here and let’s talk. ACH allows your clients to pay for camp in a way they are accustomed to while saving you money on processing fees. It’s a win-win. I hope you enjoy the party.

* – This is not, strictly speaking, true. But imagine if it was? 4 out of 5 Americans can’t agree on almost anything! This could unite the country in ways hitherto unimagined!

** – Ok, this stat is actually real. And it’s as of 2016, so the actual percentage is likely higher.

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