Direct Payment for Consumers


The smart way to pay

Direct Payment via ACH is the electronic transfer of funds for making payments, whether you send or receive a payment.

Direct Payment lets you pay your bills or tuition, donate to your favorite charity, make a purchase, or send money to a friend or family member electronically from your checking or savings account. It’s convenient, versatile, environmentally friendly, and you save the time and hassle of writing out paper checks.


On time, every time

Be in control of how and when you pay: When you set up Direct Payment, you choose when your bills get paid directly from your checking or savings accounts.

You can initiate a payment from your bank or credit union’s online banking site or mobile app, or you can authorize the company or government agency that you pay to initiate a payment on a recurring or one-time basis.

With Direct Payment, you can eliminate the worry of whether or not your check will arrive on time. 

In addition to bills, Direct Payment can be used for:

  • Charitable donations and recurring gifts
  • Funding investment accounts
  • Insurance, tax and homeowners' association (HOA) payments
  • Mortgage, automobile and other loan payments
  • Subscription and membership fees
  • Tuition payment plans

Transactions stay secure

Direct Payment is a secure way to pay bills. Your transactions are safe and confidential because money transferred electronically passes through fewer hands than a paper check.


Get Started

To get started with Direct Payment via ACH, you can either sign up with the companies that send you bills or use your bank or credit union to pay electronically:

• Contact your billers directly or log on to their websites to find out how you can enroll in Direct Payment using your bank account.

• You can also use your bank or credit union’s online banking website or mobile app to schedule Direct Payments.


 

FAQs

GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT DIRECT PAYMENT VIA ACH

No. You can set up many bills to be paid by Direct Payment via ACH on a recurring, automatic basis via mail or telephone and you do not need to go online.
Yes. Companies may refer to Direct Payment via ACH by terms such as automatic bill payment, automatic debit, electronic bill payment, e-check, or direct debit. Some use special brand names to refer to a payment option that uses Direct Payment via ACH for the transaction.
Yes. Your transactions are safe and confidential since money transferred electronically passes through fewer hands than a paper check. Also, federal regulations and banking rules provide consumers with protection regarding electronic payments.
Direct Payment via ACH is used by many people, and in different ways. Billions of payments are made annually using Direct Payment via ACH, for payments as diverse as mortgage and bill payments, charitable donations and investment fund contributions.
If you have enrolled in Direct Payment via ACH by authorizing the company you pay to withdraw funds from your account on a recurring basis, the authorization form should have provided information on how to revoke authorization and discontinue the automatic withdrawals. You can also contact the billing company or check its website for instructions or a new form. If you are using your bank or credit union’s online banking service, contact your financial institution.
Many companies and government agencies offer Direct Payment via ACH to consumers for loan, subscription, insurance, utility, tax, and other bill payments, or to make charitable donations or fund investment accounts.
Direct Payment via ACH is the electronic transfer of funds for making a payment. Its flexibility allows you to control how and when you pay, depending on the bill that needs to be paid. You can initiate a payment using a bank or credit union’s online bill payment service or authorize a company or government agency to initiate the payment. For example, you might enroll to pay certain bills by Direct Payment via ACH on a recurring basis, typically monthly. You may pay other bills by logging in to those billers’ websites each month, authorizing a payment through a telephone call, or using your mobile device. In addition, you might pay some of your bills through your bank or credit union’s online banking service. In all cases, the funds are withdrawn from your checking or savings account and transferred electronically by Direct Payment via ACH to pay the bill.


GETTING STARTED WITH DIRECT PAYMENT VIA ACH

Typically, there is no fee for using Direct Payment via ACH, particularly for recurring payments that you pre-authorize, or for authorizing a company to initiate a Direct Payment via ACH to pay a bill. Although many banks and credit unions do not charge a fee for using their online bill payment services, this could vary. Some government agencies, electronic tax filing and other service providers might charge a convenience fee for all payment types. Direct Payment via ACH can save you money in postage, checks and even late fees.
If you have authorized a company to initiate a Direct Payment via ACH transaction to withdraw funds from your account to pay a bill on a one-time or recurring basis, the funds are typically withdrawn the business day following the holiday. If you are using your bank or credit union’s online banking service to pay a bill using Direct Payment via ACH, the funds might be withdrawn the business day before the holiday to ensure the payment is received by the due date. Contact your bank or credit union for additional information regarding its service.
Ask the company directly. Increasingly, companies are encouraging consumers to switch to paperless, electronic billing as a greener option, particularly if they are using Direct Payment via ACH.
You set the scheduled payment date when you sign up, make it on your online bill payment service, or authorize it on a company’s website. If the payment date varies, the company is required to send a written notice seven days before the payment date. If the date falls on a federal holiday, the money will be withdrawn on the next business day.
Some bills, such as your automobile loan, are a fixed amount for each payment. Other bills, such as an electricity or telephone bill, may vary. If the dollar amount varies from the previously paid amount or the amount that you preauthorized, typically you will receive a written notice at least 10 days before the payment date. The company you are paying may not notify you if you agreed to forego the notice when the amount falls within a specific range. When authorizing a one-time payment by Direct Payment via ACH, such as paying your credit card bill on the card issuer’s website, you typically will receive an e-mail notifying you that a payment has been authorized for a certain amount. You determine the amount to pay when using your bank or credit union’s online bill payment service.
Signing up is easy. Check your monthly bills or statements for directions to sign up, or contact the companies that send you bills and tell them that you want to sign up for Direct Payment via ACH. Companies and government agencies typically either have authorization forms for you to complete, sign, and return or offer that capability online. Contact your bank or credit union for information regarding its online bill payment service.


USING DIRECT PAYMENT VIA ACH

Yes. Once you have authorized the Direct Payment via ACH, the transaction is processed electronically. That means fewer people see your information, and multiple levels of security are in place to protect your information.
Federal consumer protection regulations and banking rules protect you from unauthorized debits from your checking or savings account and provide recourse. Contact your financial institution for assistance immediately should a transaction that you did not authorize post to your account.
Contact your financial institution and the company that was paid. Federal consumer protection regulation and banking rules protect you from unauthorized debits from your checking or savings account and provide recourse. Your bank or credit union will advise you of its procedures and the specific actions to resolve the problem. In most cases, any error can be resolved quickly.
Problems with Direct Payment via ACH are rare and generally easy to correct. If the wrong amount is withdrawn from your account, notify your bank or credit union. Your account is protected against unauthorized debits under federal regulations and banking rules.
Just as when you write a check, you are obligated to have sufficient funds in your account to fund a transaction made using Direct Payment via ACH. If you do not have enough money in your account, your financial institution may return the payment due to insufficient funds, and you may be charged extra fees by your bank or credit union, and the company you need to pay.
Problems with Direct Payment via ACH are rare and can usually be corrected quickly. If you do have a problem, notify the company you paid if you authorized the company to withdraw funds from your account to pay a bill. Contact your bank or credit union if the Direct Payment was made through its online bill payment service.