- Payments processed by the electronic network operated by Nacha, formerly known as the National Automated Clearing House Association, jumped 17.4% to a value of $72.6 trillion last year, compared to 2020, while the related volume rose 8.7% to 29.1 billion transactions, the organization said Thursday in a press release. Both figures were records, according to historical data on the Nacha website.
- A little over half of last year's overall volume, 56%, was for debit transactions while the rest was credit. By contrast, the value of the transactions was 35% for debit transactions, while the bulk was for credit, the network said. Those ratios were about the same as in 2020.
- Business-to-business payments boosted the figures as the COVID-19 pandemic led more U.S. companies, many of which still rely on checks, to try the electronic system. The volume of B2B payments through Nacha last year climbed 20.4% over 2020 to 5.3 billion transactions, as the value increased 19% to $49.8 trillion, according to Nacha data.
The ACH Network, a U.S. automated payments system with government and private sector participation, has notched annual traffic records since at least 2012, with more dramatic growth last year because of a push from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that arrived in early 2020. Not only did the pandemic cause businesses to increase their use of the contactless payment system, it also drove more government use of the network for stimulus payments.
The Nacha report figures track the top 50 bank originators and receivers of payments.
"Throughout 2021, as the accelerated shift from paper to electronic payments continued, the ACH Network proved its resiliency and value to the nation," Nacha CEO Jane Larimer said in the release. "Working with our partners in government, at financial institutions, and the ACH Operators, the ACH Network last year seamlessly handled 143 million economic impact payments, 182 million Advance Child Tax Credit (ACTC) payments, and hundreds of millions of unemployment benefits."
Healthcare payments over the Nacha system also continued to rise as medical and dental practices turn to the network for claims payments. The healthcare volume last year surged 18% over 2020 to 426 million payments, and the value of those transactions increased 5% to $1.97 trillion.
Consumers are making more use of the Nacha network, too. Person-to-person payments over the system also rose significantly last year, with the volume jumping nearly 25% to 271 million payments and the dollars transferred rising about 15% to $402 billion, according to the data.
The Nacha system can also be used for international payments, but the number of payments passed by the network declined last year, as other financial technology companies have rolled out competing services. The volume dropped 5% to 116 million payments, but the value of those payments still climbed significantly with the increased B2B use, rising 33% to $224 billion.
Nacha has been eager to attract increased use of its speedier same-day payments service. Use of the same-day service more than doubled in terms of value last year, soaring to about $944 billion in payments passed, while the volume of those transactions jumped 74% to 604 million transactions.