What are the cost differences between ACH and check payments?

ACH payments are less expensive for the payer than sending checks. Cost savings estimates vary and depend on transaction volume, but using ACH payments saves money on postage, check stock, envelopes, office supplies and labor.

To send a check may cost between $1.95 and $5.40 per check. ACH payments range from $.40 to $.80 per transaction and include a unit-price based on volume, as well as a file-processing charge. (To obtain specific ACH fee information, please contact your bank.)

According to a ARO2C Disbursements Benchmark survey, participants reported the median cost of a check payment was $5.14, versus $1.38 for an ACH payment. However, 11 percent of the respondents said they used ACH payments for 50 percent or more of their disbursements.

From the point of view of the payee, ACH payments go straight into the payee’s bank account, relieving AR from having to deposit a check. Cost savings here would depend on AR’s deposit process, whether it uses a lockbox or remote deposit capture versus having to physically deposit the check. (Also with ACH, there is no float-time waiting for the check to clear.)

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