Ask Mary: What Should We Do Now?!

Dear Mary: We used to provide our Originators with the Corporate Edition of the ACH Rules. What should we do now that the Corporate Edition has been discontinued?

As an ODFI, you are responsible for every transaction your Originators initiate into the Network, making it extremely important for you to inform your Originators of their responsibilities under the ACH Rules, along with your expectations as outlined in your origination agreement. Some ODFIs choose to provide a copy of the ACH Rules to their Originators to help in this effort and, while the Corporate Edition of the ACH Rules is no longer available, there are plenty of options available to help ODFIs ensure their Originators have easy access to the ACH Rules.

Over the last few years, the ACH Rules have become more understandable and easier to navigate. In addition to efforts to make rules language more understandable, NACHA has added HTML search functionality to the online and app version of the Rules, enabling users to quickly find the section of the Rules that applies to the question or topic they are researching. Originators can now have access to the complete version of the ACH Rules, while easily and quickly finding the areas that impact them.

NACHA provides three options to purchase the ACH Rules: the online version, the app version and the printed version. The online version works through the user’s internet browser and requires an internet connection. The app version can be downloaded to two devices per user (devices can include smart phones, tablets or desktop). Providing these options to your clients work similarly. For example, if you need ten copies of the online version, you would place your order through EPCOR and then we would provide you with ten access codes for you to provide to your clients. Your clients would then go to the www.achrulesonline.org and use the code to set up their access, using provided instructions. The app version works mostly the same, except your client would set up access through the app store on their phone, tablet or another device. EPCOR can provide postcards with access codes to the online or app version of the ACH Rules, if you would like something tangible to give your Originators. EPCOR offers both the online and the app version of the ACH Rules below list price at $50 for members. The printed (book) version is also available for $54 for members.

You may have also heard a rumor that there is a free version of the ACH Rules available online. NACHA does make the Rules available online for free; however, it is only the actual rules section of the Rules book. It's a barebones, stripped down version of the entire Rules product. Essentially, there are no Operating Guidelines included, the site is not searchable and there isn't any copy/paste functionality. The link is also not a direct link to the Rules. Users still must register/set up an account and choose which version of the Rules they are wanting to access.

Remember, the whole reason ODFIs choose to provide their Originators with the ACH Rules is to meet an audit recommendation of keeping Originators informed of the ACH Rules obligations and changes. Of course, if you just hand a copy of the ACH Rules over to your clients without much explanation it isn’t going to go a long way in improving compliance. EPCOR recommends providing education as part of your ongoing Originator/Third-Party Sender compliance program. This education can take many forms.

Some of the options provided by EPCOR include our Payments Insider newsletter offered at no cost to members each April and October. This newsletter provides timely payments articles that ODFIs can share with their Originators to keep them abreast of industry changes. The April edition also includes our ACH Rules Update for Corporate Originators publication. We also offer affordable Flex Training that is education customized based on the needs of your institution and can be conducted via webinar or in-person. For example, a bank in Ohio schedules annual mandatory training for their Originators in a lunch-and-learn format. EPCOR provides training on new ACH information, the bank’s IT department provides training on technology updates to the online banking system and treasury management gives an update on the services that the bank offers – it’s a win-win!

Our Member Support team is happy to walk you through your options and help you decide what will work best for your institution. Just give us a call (800.500.0100), email us or chat with us on the epcor.org. To order ACH Rules, click here.