Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
-What are ACH payments?
In short, ACH is an electronic payment alternative to credit cards and paper checks. The Automated Clearing House (ACH) network is the same safe, secure, and reliable system used by hundreds of thousands of companies for processing direct deposit payroll, loans, mortgages, utility bills, insurance premiums, and the Federal government for benefit payments and social security.
ACH has been in use for over 30 years and is an extremely safe private network that is not part of the Internet. Through First ACH, ACH payments are available as an alternate method of payment that can also offer convenience, savings, and features that make accepting paper checks seem archaic.
- Have I used or experienced ACH before?
Probably. Have you ever paid a bill by check over the phone or online? If so, you have used ACH. Are your paychecks direct deposited to your bank account? If so, you are receiving payment via the ACH network. These are just a couple of examples of ACH in action in your daily life.
- Can I send and receive ACH payments through First ACH?
Absolutely, that is what we do!
- Are there any minimum or maximum transaction dollar amounts?
We have no established standard limit.
- Can I process payroll and vendor payments via First ACH?
Yes, First ACH supports those types of transactions.
- How long would it take for me to receive funding after I debit an account?
The funds will be released 2 business days after the effective date of the transaction. Click here for a graphic timeline of the funding process.
- What kind of software or equipment do I need?
No specialized hardware or software is required. All you need is a working computer with an Internet connection.
- Are transactions secured?
Absolutely. All transactions occur using our secure servers located in our secured data center with controlled access. We use a 128-bit SSL encrypted sessions, mask bank account numbers to protect your transactions, and exceed all requirements as set forth by NACHA, the governing body that regulates the acceptance and transport of ACH transactions. First ACH is also certified through Verisign, an industry leader in the provisioning of web security services.
- Are there any hidden costs?
No. Any and all fees are listed on the price plans.
- Why choose First ACH?
Because we are committed to you, your business, and providing the greatest value and quality we can offer anyone in the ACH payments industry. To learn more about why we are the best solution for your business – click here. If you would like to see our pricing – click here.
- What is check guarantee, and does First ACH provide check guarantee services?
Check Guarantee is a service in which merchants are charged a fee in return for receiving a guarantee of payment on a check received for goods or services rendered, even those that are returned or rejected. You can think of it as a payment insurance program where the check accepted by the merchant can be evaluated with industry verification systems to determine whether or not the check writer has a recorded history of writing bad checks. If the check is approved, the merchant will be authorized by the check guarantee provider to accept the check and the funds are then guaranteed.
It is important to note, however, that the check guarantee provider will often charge a litany of fees for their service. These fees include, but are not limited to:
- Discount fee on all checks accepted
- Per item transaction fee
- Monthly minimum fee
- Statement fee
- Sign up/application fee
- Programming fee
In addition to fees, the processor also may require additional customer information to be collected and strict processing procedures followed in order for a guaranteed check to be eligible for payment. Collection of a guaranteed payment typically requires a claim to be filed after the check has been rejected. This claim process often requires a great deal of time and patience before coming to fruition.
Consider as well that if a merchant processes several rejected payments, the provider may drop the merchant from the program or even cancel their service entirely.
Given the aforementioned facts, First ACH does not offer a check guarantee program as we believe the high cost, risk, and complication of the service simply does not fit our business model, nor has it proven to be a viable and affordable solution for merchants. Our goal is, and will remain, to offer our customers simple, low cost, high quality, payment processing solutions.
First ACH Features
- Can I process more transactions than the number of free transactions allowed in a solutions plan?
Yes. Each plan has a set number of transactions that we will process for you for free. If you process more transactions that month, you will simply pay the transaction fee listed under that plan for each additional transaction processed.
- What are the user licenses used for?
User licenses are for access to the First ACH Payment Gateway by users. If you require that multiple users access the interface at the same time, you will need a license for each user.
- Is the discount rate really 0%?
Yes, it is 0% for qualified businesses.
- What is the difference between RCK and NSF?
NSF, or Non-Sufficient Funds, is a reason for a transaction rejecting. RCK is the process by which a check rejected for NSF can be re-presented to the bank electronically via First ACH.
- Can you provide an example of when a NOC Fee might be applied?
Example: Your customer’s bank routing number changes due to a bank merger. The bank will continue to process transactions presented with the old routing number for a period of time and will simply respond with a NOC, which provides First ACH with the updated information. We in turn update the appropriate information within our systems and also notify you of the change so that you may update your records. A fee is applied to your account for an amount ranging from $2.00 - $5.00, depending upon the plan you are using.
- Can you provide an example of when Rejects / Credit Return fees might be applied?
Example: You enter a debit into the system for $100 to one of your customers. When the transaction is processed, the customer’s bank responds that the transaction was rejected because the account has been closed. A fee is applied to your account for an amount ranging from $4.00 - $5.00, depending upon the plan you are using.
- What is the NSF Fee Rebate?
If a transaction you initiate is rejected for NSF, we will automatically generate an NSF fee against the account holder for the maximum allowable by law. If the NSF fee is collected, we will rebate $5 of it to you. ARC rebate and RCK rebate are the same concept only applied to ARC and RCK transactions.
- What do you mean “if” the NSF fee is collected?
There is no guarantee that the fee will be collected. We will try to submit the transaction for payment up to 3 times.
- What is a chargeback?
This occurs when, after a transaction is completed, the account holder disputes the transaction. The account holder must go to their bank and sign an affidavit with a bank offiicer as witness in order to dispute the transaction. The bank will then reverse the transaction, and we will debit that amount plus a chargeback fee from your account. You will then have to settle the dispute with the account holder directly.
- Can I setup automatic recurring transactions?
Yes, and the feature is included in our Corporate Plans B and C or available as an add-on option for $19.99 per month.
- Can I create a batch file and upload it to First ACH?
Yes, with our Batch Upload feature you can create a file of transactions to our specification and upload it to the system via the Web interface.
- What kind of a file does it have to be?
It is a comma delimited text file. The file specification is available for download from the interface after you've enrolled with First ACH.
- How does someone process an ACH payment from an online store?
The First ACH Virtual Check can be integrated with a shopping cart. Code samples, specifications, and tech support are included.
- What shopping carts can be integrated with Virtual Check and how long does the integration take?
Virtual Check can be integrated into any shopping cart, and the time for integration is really dependent upon your system and developer.
- What programming language does my system have to use to integrate the API?
Our API does not require that your system be programmed in any specific language (language-independent); it just needs to send an https request string comprised of the required transaction information. It’s that simple.
- How can I get a copy of the requirements for integrating the API?
Contact our customer support team – we’re happy to help.
- Is there a place where I can test my API transactions?
First ACH Merchants and Affiliates will be enabled with a testing environment when they enroll for the API program.
- How can my company participate in the API program?
You can contact a Payments Specialist by phone at (800) 884-5208 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information or to enroll in the API program.
First ACH Enrollment
- What do I need to do to open an account with First ACH?
Simply click the green Start button from any page on the First ACH website to begin the enrollment process, which can typically be completed in 15 minutes.
- How long will it take for approval to open an account using the online application?
You will receive an approval within 48 hours of submitting the required documentation.
- How long will it take for approval using an offline application, and what will I need to submit with my application?
An offline application can generally be approved within 24 hours. You will need to provide a copy of your driver's license and a voided check with the application. Our underwriting department may require additional documentation, however that will be determined after we've received your application.
- After being approved, how soon will I be able to begin submitting transactions?
Immediately. Upon approval, you will receive a confirmation email that includes everything needed to login for the first time.
- What do I need to complete the online enrollment?
After choosing your Processing Plan during the enrollment process, you will be presented with a link in the Order Summary called View Enrollment Checklist. Just click this list for a summary of the documentation needed to submit the online enrollment.
- How do I change my bank account information on record?
For your security, First ACH requires a written request on company letterhead to change your bank account information, including a signature from the owner or primary user, be faxed or scanned/emailed to us. You must also include a copy of a voided check for the new account(s) and a copy of the owner/primary user’s driver’s license. This update is normally completed within 48 business hours of receipt.
- I don’t have checks for my bank account yet because it is a new account. What can I submit instead of a voided check?
If you are not in possession of a check pre-printed with your business’ name and address, please provide a copy of a voided starter check and a copy of the letter provided by your bank when you opened the account.
- How do I notify you of a change in address, phone number, email, etc.?
Any changes to your account information needs to be submitted in writing on company letterhead and signed by the owner or primary user. You can fax or scan/email this letter, along with a copy of the owner/primary user’s driver’s license, and we will normally incorporate the changes within 48 business hours.
- Can my funds be split into two separate bank accounts when you transmit payments to me?
At this time, First ACH cannot accommodate split funding requests. Merchants requiring deposits into more than one bank account will need separate ACH accounts and will need to process transactions separately.
- What is the First ACH® Cancellation and Refund Policy?
Our Cancellation and Refund Policy is available from within myFirstACH.
- What are the Terms & Conditions of my First ACH® account?
Updated Terms and conditions are available from within myFirstACH.
Current First ACH Merchants
- Do you have sample authorization forms?
A sample authorization form is available in the support page within myFirstACH. This form may be used as it is presented or as a template for your own custom authorization form.
- Do I need to obtain a voided check from my customer to go with the authorization?
No. The authorization, whether written or recorded, precludes the need for a check.
- What do I do with my transaction authorizations?
You must save both written and verbal authorizations for two years after the effective date, or last effective date if recurring, of the transaction.
- How do I verify that a payment was successfully completed?
Simply log into myFirstACH and view your activity. If you’re not sure how to access or use myFirstACH, please contact Customer Support at (800) 884-5208.
- I am unable to login to the Payment Gateway. What should I do?
First, click the “Forgot Your Password?” link found above the login. If you are unable to complete the process of securely resetting your password, please contact Customer Support at (800) 884-5208.
- What is the lead-time for credit payments?
Standard lead-time for credit (payments from your company) transactions is 5 days from the date of initiation.
- What do I do when I get a rejected transaction?
If you are set up for automatic retries, you don't have to do anything. We will automatically retry your transaction up to two more times in an effort to successfully complete your transaction. If the transaction cannot be completed, you should contact your customer to arrange an alternative payment method.
- What is displayed on the customer’s bank account statement when I process transactions through First ACH?
For each transaction, the description field of your customer’s bank statement will show your company’s DBA name followed by “First ACH”.
- Can customers charge back their payments?
Yes. Customers can charge back their payments, but this rarely occurs if you are obtaining the proper authorization. First ACH will provide you with the proper authorization forms.
- When am I billed for my First ACH services?
Depending on weekends and holidays, you are billed between the 1st and the 5th of every month.
- Can I upgrade my plan?
You can upgrade your plan at any time. You will only be charged the difference in setup fees between your current plan and your new plan, and the difference in plan fees for the month in which the upgrade took place. The new monthly fee will be billed regularly starting the following month.