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Nacha Proposes Fee as Part of Same-Day Payments Plan
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 6:25 AM

The industry group that sets the rules for the automated clearing house network on Tuesday formally offered its proposal for developing a same-day payments system. It was the latest move in an industrywide push for faster transactions.

Nacha, a Washington-based trade group, issued a request for comment on its plan to make funds available to consumers by the end of a business day, rather than a day later. Comments are due Feb. 6, 2015.

Under the proposal, banks would be mandated to upgrade their systems to so that they could receive same-day payments. A flat fee of 8.2 cents per transaction would be paid by the originating banks to the receiving financial institutions to help recover costs related to technology upgrades, Estep said.

The proposed rule also contains an automatic method for adjusting the interbank fee, based on the volume of transactions. As the number of same-day transactions increases, the interbank fee would decrease.

Mandating a faster settlement period would provide a range of benefits for consumers, including providing hourly employees more certainty about when their payroll checks will clear; giving consumers access to expedited bill payments; and allowing businesses to more quickly settle their invoices.

The Nacha announcement comes ahead of a highly anticipated report from the Federal Reserve, which is expected to lay out a multiyear roadmap for a real-time payment system later this month. That proposal would involve building a faster payment option for a small subset of transactions—approximately 10-12 percent of all U.S. payments, said Dan Gonzalez, a vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said at an industry conference in October.

"Same-day ACH has its place with real-time payments in the United States because they are complementary," said Janet Estep, Nacha's president and chief executive, who described her group's proposed rule as "a foundation for innovation."

Additionally, the Clearing House, a Washington trade group and payment company, announced plans in October to build a real-time system for settling payments. That announcement was important. The trade group, which represents the nation's biggest banks, was influential in killing a Nacha proposal two years ago to allow same-day payment processing.