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3 min read

ACH Payments vs. Paper Checks: 4 Advantages You Need to Know

In today's fast-paced world, businesses of all sizes are looking for ways to optimize their payment processes to improve efficiency and save money. While paper checks have been a staple in the world of payment processing for many decades, they have limitations that have made electronic payment methods like ACH (Automated Clearing House) increasingly popular. ACH payments are a type of electronic fund transfer that allows businesses to send and receive payments securely and quickly. This means that businesses can enjoy faster processing times, increased security, lower costs, and better record-keeping. However, some businesses may be hesitant to switch to ACH payments due to concerns about the complexity of the system, the security of the transactions, and the cost of implementation.

In this blog post, we will explore the advantages of ACH payments and address these concerns to help businesses make an informed decision about their payment processing methods. Whether you're a small business owner or part of a large organization, this post will provide you with the knowledge you need to understand why ACH payments are the better choice for your business.

What are ACH payments?

ACH payments are electronic transactions processed by the ACH Network, a network of banks and financial institutions that process billions of transactions each year. The network is governed by National Automated Clearing House Association (Nacha), which sets the network’s rules and regulations. Under the ACH umbrella, bank-to-bank transfers are processed reliably via the ACH Network.

ACH payments are used for payroll direct deposit, vendor/supplier transactions, bills and more - all with a higher level of security than traditional checks.

ACH 101

ACH vs Paper Checks

So how do ACH payments stack up against paper checks? Let’s compare some key features of both payment methods.


  ACH Payments Paper Checks
Payment Network ACH Network N/A
Average Cost per Transaction Typically $0.26 to $0.50 per transaction $2 to $4+ per transaction
Transaction Settlement Timing Up to several business days Can take up to a week or more
Support For International Transfers Yes Yes
Fraud Risk Low fraud rate Higher fraud risk compared to electronic payment methods
Dispute Policies 60 day dispute window of the financial institution’s transmittal of the statement 60 days from the date the check was issued
Flexibility Multiple speed options; might be able to combine options to balance cost and risk Little to no flexibility for processing speed and cost
Traceability Can be tracked electronically throughout the processing of the transaction using trace IDs Very difficult if not impossible to track once it’s sent to the recipient

Why ACH?

There are four main advantages of using ACH payments instead of paper checks.

Lower Costs

Using ACH payments can be significantly less expensive than paper checks. ACH payments don’t require the same materials, time or resources as it takes to produce, mail and track paper checks. They can also be processed in large batches and even automated, which can help reduce overall costs and the risk of human error.

Faster Processing

ACH payments are electronic, which means they are processed much faster than paper checks, improving the payments experience for businesses and their customers. Typically, ACH payments can be completed within 1-5 business days, while paper checks can take a week or more to clear.

Increased Security

ACH transfers are more secure than paper checks because they are electronic and do not require physical transportation or handling. Paper checks can be easily intercepted or altered in transit, but ACH transfers are encrypted and processed through secure networks. Additionally, ACH transfers can be monitored and traced, allowing for quicker detection of fraud or errors. With paper checks, there is a risk of check fraud, including forgery and alteration that can take longer to identify.

Better Record-Keeping

With ACH payments, you can easily keep track of your transactions electronically, which makes record-keeping much easier and more efficient. This can be especially useful for businesses that need to keep detailed records of their financial transactions.

Overall, ACH payments are a more efficient and effective system for businesses and the customers they serve. Lower processing fees help your business protect its revenue, and the safety and reliability ACH offers makes it attractive to customers who know that their payment information is secure. If this payment option aligns with the needs of your business, reach out–we’d love to talk through your use case!

Calculate How Much You Could Save With ACH

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