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The Automated Clearing House (ACH) network is a highly reliable and efficient batch-oriented electronic funds transfer system. The network was created in the 1970s as a collaboration of financial institutions with the U.S. Treasury and other U.S. government agencies. The ACH network is regulated by the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) and is most commonly used for direct deposit of payroll by employers, for electronic payments in internet commerce, and for data exchange between financial institutions.
The ACH network is a U.S.-based system and offers limited services internationally. The ACH network may be used as a payment method in a manner similar to an ACH eCheck, with a key difference being that authorization and payment occur in separate systems. In cooperation with participating financial institutions, the ACH network can be used to electronically debit funds from a bank account and safely transfer them to another.