In a digital age, where speed and immediacy in payments are important to almost everyone, businesses just like individuals have need for speed in the transfer and receipt of funds. This need coupled with the desire to provide institutions with an “almost immediate” funds transfer experience, necessitated the introduction of an additional service on Ghana’s Automated Clearing House (ACH) Direct Credit (DC) platform.
Introduced in September 2020, the ACH Direct Credit-Near Real Time (NRT) service offers individuals and businesses the opportunity to make single or bulk funds transfers almost in real time. This means that funds can be transferred electronically to several people and businesses, with accounts in different banks within fifteen (15) minutes.
ACH Direct Credit-NRT can be used by both individuals and businesses, but its ability to allow businesses make batched or bulk payments (one-to-many payments), provides a real value for both businesses within the formal and informal sectors. It also provides businesses with a viable alternative to cheques.
What is ACH Direct Credit- Near Real Time (NRT)?
ACH Direct Credit-NRT allows businesses to transfer funds to accounts of different beneficiaries in different banks within 15 minutes. Like all other ACH Direct Credit transfer services, NRT can be used for the payments of salaries, allowances, benefits, pension funds among many others.
Before the introduction of the Near Real Time service, businesses could make bulk payments using either the Standard or the Express ACH DC services. While the Standard option allowed recipients’ accounts to be credited within 24 hours the Express service allowed for bank accounts to be credited within 4 hours after payment files have been submitted to the paying entity’s bank.
Compared to the Express and Standard ACH DC services, Near Real Time allows bank accounts to be credited faster (within 15minutes) than the other two. Additionally, Direct Credit- NRT can be initiated at any time of the day (6:00pm-4:00pm the following day) and because it runs on the straight through processing system, crediting of recipients account is done without manual or human intervention.
What are the benefits of using NRT for Funds Transfer?
Businesses/ Corporate Institutions
- It allows businesses in both the formal and informal sector to transfer funds electronically to many beneficiaries with different bank accounts within 15mins all at the same time.
- In case of an error with a recipient’s account number, failed transactions can be returned immediately giving businesses the opportunity to correct and resend the payment without missing payments timelines.
- Besides the transparency and certainty of payments it provides, NRT also provides unrestricted banking hours for making bulk payments across different banks. Corporate Institutions can make and receive funds anytime of the day from 6pm the previous day to 4pm the following day.
- Because banks have connected the NRT option to their core banking application, transfers are straight through with no human intervention.
- Disputes over payments are minimal and even when they occur, they are quickly and easily resolved because like all the other ACH Direct Credit options, NRT provides audit trails for all transactions.
- Payments via the NRT Direct Credit are reliable and secure
- For salaried workers, the introduction of ACH Direct Credit means, you longer need to have the same bank account as your employer to receive your salary on time. With ACH Direct Credit NRT, your employer can still credit your bank account on the same day that salaries are paid. Preferably within 15 minutes if your employer uses the NRT option.
- Near Real-Time also allows individuals part of a batched payment file to experience faster access to funds, improving cash flow management, and enhanced financial planning.
Banks now have the opportunity to make a unique business case to their corporate clients in both the formal and informal sectors. It allows banks to provide their corporate and retail customers with different payment options that meets their demands. It also help improve the operational efficiency of banks and enhances their competitiveness in a rapidly evolving market.
Economy: The increased efficiency in fund transfers positively influences the Ghanaian economy. Swift and secure payments contribute to a healthier business environment, reducing friction in financial transactions and promoting economic growth.
How can a Business or an Individual use this Service?
Corporate Institutions seeking to use any of the ACH Direct Credit services may request the service from their banks. Individual customers can also access the ACH Direct Credit service as part of the “transfer options” on their banks digital platforms: Internet banking, Mobile APPs or USSD codes.
The introduction of the ACH Direct Credit-Near Real-Time has presented businesses with a worthwhile option for making bulk funds transfer. Since its introduction in September 2020, there has been a year on year growth of over 200% which shows how individuals and businesses are appreciating the value and the impact of this electronic funds transfer option on their business operations. As the world continues to embrace digital transformation, Direct Credit-Near Real Time stands as a shining example of how technology can reshape and improve fundamental aspects of our financial lives especially for Corporate Institutions.
For more information on ACH Direct Credit, kindly visit www.ghipss.com