Can You Do an ACH Reversal? – Can You Stop a Payment?


Let’s start by identifying what exactly ACH stands for and how you can manage your payments with them. The Automated Clearing House (ACH) is a network that provides secure electronic transactions between accounts at different banks. ACH handles two types of transactions, direct payments such as utility bills and direct deposits like a paycheck. 

According to the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), 93% of Americans receive direct deposit through ACH. Pro-Tip: Get your direct deposits up to two days early by choosing our RoarMoney account!

It’s not just individuals who use ACH; businesses use ACH to pay vendors or receive payments. Need to send your friend some cash for dinner? Venmo, PayPal, and Zelle fall into the direct payment category and use the ACH network too.

While paper checks and debit cards are still widely used, ACH is an increasingly popular way to manage your money faster and more securely. Also, using ACH reduces resources like paper, ink, and fuel, making it a more environmentally friendly option as well!

So, can you reverse or stop an ACH payment? The short answer is yes, you can with the proper precautions. Below is a guide to reversing or stopping payments successfully.

Reversing an ACH Payment

There’s one of three ways you’d be eligible for an ACH payment reversed: wrong dollar amount, wrong account, or duplicate transaction. For example, your car payment is $200 but the lender charged you $200 twice. This would qualify for a reversal of one of the transactions because the error was on your auto lender’s end. If you are charged a fee because of the originator’s error, ask them to reimburse you. Follow our steps below on how to get an ACH reversal.

Step 1: Identify Error

If any of the three errors above apply to your situation, you need to report it to the originator, the company, or person charging you, immediately. According to ACH rules, the error must be reported within five days of the transaction.

Step 2: Call the originator 

Only the originator, originator’s bank, or ACH network can initiate the reversal or correction of payment error. Call them and get a representative or supervisor on the phone and explain to them the situation. Generally, your bank cannot reverse the charges, but you should call them to inform them of the error and what’s being done to correct it. Once the originator identifies the error, they should have no issue fixing the problem.

Step 3: Log

Be sure to save the date, time, confirmation number, and name of the person you were speaking to in Step 2, and log any follow-up calls you make or emails exchanged. That information will be valuable if there is any confusion or complications later.

Step 4: Follow up

After the reversal is initiated, it takes anywhere between three and five days for the money to be back into your account. If you don’t see the money back in your account, call your bank and see if it is pending on their end. If your bank doesn’t see a reversal, there may have been issues with the reversal from the originator.

Call them back and let them know the money hasn’t been issued back to you yet. Follow these steps correctly, and you should have no problems getting your money back and rectifying the situation.

Stopping an ACH Payment

To stop a previously authorized ACH payment, you need to act quickly. Give your bank or originator a call at least three business days before the payment is set to post. Below is a step-by-step guide to stopping an ACH payment.

Step 1: Act Quick

Time is of the essence, and ACH debits move quickly! Find the number for the debtor and call them ASAP! Each financial institution has different rules for handling ACH stop payments.

Step 2: Talk To A Representative

Don’t use automated systems, live chat, or emails. Be patient and wait to speak to a representative. Real human interaction might help your case.

Step 3: Explain

Once you are on the phone with a live representative, explain to them in detail that you need a stop ACH payment and why. If they aren’t able to stop the payment, ask them if they have any assistance options. Ask to speak to a supervisor if the representative has no options for you. A person in a higher position sometimes has the ability to work magic!

Step 4: Log

Make note of with whom you spoke, along with the date, time, confirmation number, and important details of the call.

Step 5: Call Your Bank

In the event, your debitor cannot assist you in a stop ACH payment, call your bank. Get them on the phone and explain to them the situation. If you have a good track record with them, that may give you an advantage. Whether they can or cannot stop the payment, ask if they are willing to waive any fees incurred.

ACH 101

Reversing and stopping an ACH payment is possible as long as you are diligent. To stay on top of your finances, schedule all outgoing payments on your calendar with alerts. This will help keep your payments predictable and manageable.

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