Reviewing your bank statement is necessary if you want to carefully track your finances. There may be entries that you don't understand or don't remember. Sometimes you'll see a code that includes "ACH" as an entry to a purchase you made. This charge indicates the process used to make payment by you without using a check or card.
The Automated Clearing House (ACH) is a payment system that connects banks and allows you to use your savings or checking account to pay and receive funds. It processes all electronic fund transfers (EFTs) made in the U.S. through customer account and bank routing numbers. Making use of this system saves consumers and banks time and money in the payment and receipt of funds. It also helps products move faster due to the ease of having money deposited in your account and being able to pay for an item instantaneously.
ACH is used to make payments online or over the phone and to receive personal or business funds. Like an electronic check, you must give the company your bank information and permission to debit from, or deposit into, your account. The advantage is that you can make purchases and pay bills without using a debit or credit card. You also may receive electronic payments from your employer or other organizations and not be burdened with having to visit a bank and cash a check.
The company to whom you are sending payment must submit it to ACH. The bank receives the request for a withdrawal and debits the funds from your account. They are sent to the financial institution that deposits the money into the account of the originating requester. The ACH system functions during banking business hours only. Therefore, if a purchase is approved outside of those times, such as on a weekend or holiday, ACH cannot make accurate confirmation of funds, and it may take several days before the company being paid is notified that payment was not successful.
Upon receiving your bank statement, your charges through the ACH system may say "ACH Debit" next to the withdrawn funds, and the date may be after the time you made your purchase. This indicates that you approved a one-time or repeating automatic payment from your account. If you find that you did not authorize this charge, call your bank and ask that the charge be investigated. If you approved a repeating debit of this kind in the past, then you do not have to authorize the withdrawal each time.
Carol Deeb has been an editor and writer since 1988. Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers and online publications, as well as a book on education. Deeb is a real-estate investor and business owner with professional experience in human resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State University.