What Is ACH Debit?

by Steve McDonnell ; Updated July 27, 2017
An ACH debit takes the place of writing a check.

To make sure you don't forget to pay your electric bill, you can authorize the electric company to automatically deduct the amount you owe each month from your bank account. Because the electric company initiates the money transfer, your bank statement shows the transaction as an electronic transfer that deducted money from your account, also known as an ACH debit.

Automated Clearing House

Electronic deposits, payments and transfers are processed through a network of financial institutions called the Automated Clearing House, or ACH. When a company or government agency initiates a transaction to deposit or withdraw money from your bank account, your bank statement contains a transaction labeled "ACH" to indicate that it was an electronic transaction processed through the Automated Clearing House.

Debits and Credits

In accounting terminology, when you add money to your account, that's a credit to your account. When you deduct money from your account, it's called a debit. An ACH debit means that a transaction was an electronic deduction of money from your account that a company or government agency initiated. The transaction detail usually indicates who received the payment.

About the Author

Steve McDonnell's experience running businesses and launching companies complements his technical expertise in information, technology and human resources. He earned a degree in computer science from Dartmouth College, served on the WorldatWork editorial board, blogged for the Spotfire Business Intelligence blog and has published books and book chapters for International Human Resource Information Management and Westlaw.

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