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Payment Security Best Practices in Enterprise Financial Operations

payment security best practices

Your business should be using all measures possible to prevent fraud and breaches to ensure payment security, enterprise ACH payment is the way forward.

What keeps finance executives up at night? The same thing that keeps the rest of us awake—security breaches. As the business world becomes more global and digital, the need for payment security has grown with it. A successful breach can result in the loss of millions of dollars, as well as damage a company’s reputation.

As financial technology, or fintech, continues to advance, there are new ways for businesses to accept payments. While the use of credit and debit cards is still the most common form of payment for both online and in-person transactions, the implementation of new fintech services is on the rise.

Card payments are an increasingly popular payment option for many in the US. The number of cards used—Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover—reached 694 million in 2019, according to CardData. With this impressive volume comes a 5.2% year-on-year growth forecast that predicted seeing 768,052,576 cards available for use by the end of 2021.

The payments industry is growing and shifting at a rapid pace, becoming more complex as new technologies and diverse payment methods emerge. In addition, the regulatory environment is often complex and ever-changing, requiring payment service providers to ensure their processes are secure and compliant with current rules and regulations.

There are several strategies and best practices that companies can utilize to ensure the security of their payments, as this post will outline.

payment security

What are Enterprise Payment Solutions?

Enterprise payment solutions are a comprehensive payment platform that balances anonymity and transparency. The engine process payments through the appropriate channels and provide tracking and reporting to both the financial institution and the customer.

For firms processing transactions at a much larger scale with many different locations (nationally and internationally), it can be challenging to keep track of which payments are authorized and which aren’t. A streamlined process will allow for not only a broader range of payment solutions but also accommodates different types of payments.

Enterprise payment solutions work as fast, easy, and secure payment hubs—they create a unified network of payments that simplify things for you. You can monitor and manage all different types of payments, such as ACH, wire, instant payments, and TCH real-time payments, across a single, easy-to-use interface, and process these varied transaction types much faster.

Benefits of Enterprise Payment Solutions

With firms already having complex financial systems, the last thing they need is more complexity in terms of financial management and operations. Utilizing APIs, Enterprise Payment Solutions works with your financial systems already in place and simply connects them, allowing them to speak the same language and giving you a platform that facilitates easy tracking and reporting with all your transaction data in one place.

Being able to get an easy overview of all your payment data, you can begin to create a much better payment strategy that reflects the cost per payment and payment channel with greater accuracy. Enterprise Payment Solutions give you a much broader view of your existing payment ecosystem. With this smart and efficient technology, you are able to not only see the bigger picture, but also zoom in on details such as receivables and payables, available payment options and methods, vendors, card volumes, and payment processes.

Monitoring individual aspects of the digital payment journey gives you the clarity needed to create comprehensive and holistic reports that can generate more accurate predictions and can help refine your financial strategy. Perhaps the biggest benefit of Enterprise Payment Solutions is the robust security protocols allowing you to closely monitor what comes in and out of numerous accounts, where it originates, and who it comes from.

payment security

Payment Security Tips in the Enterprise Payment Space

There is, however, the very real possibility that companies can fall victim to security breaches. Credit cards, for example, have allowed faster payments but also bring with them the risk of sensitive data getting into the wrong hands. With credit cards, it is not only card data that is stored but also personal identity data. Securely managing this data is thus crucial.

Take Advantage of Security Technologies

Address Verification System (AVS)

The system cross-checks the credit card holder’s address information that is on file against the address provided by the individual making a transaction. After deciding whether this info matches or not, the system signals the merchant, who can make a verification request to the bank if they aren’t all that confident in the information they receive.

Upgrade to chip readers

Counterfeit cards are one of the most common types of fraud prevalent in US stores. It's an easy crime to commit and hard to solve. There is a good explanation for this: we're behind on implementing EMV technology (taken from a combination of the Europay, Mastercard, and Visa – the three credit card companies that developed the tech). The US has been slow to adopt chip readers, but it's high time they do.

Process online payments safely and securely

Even if you process payments online or over the phone, you can do this securely by lookout for the following red flags before processing a payment:

  • Orders that have several of the same items.
  • Orders involving “big-ticket” items, such as TVs.
  • Multiple same-day purchases.
  • Multiple purchases come from the same IP address.
  • Rush orders.
  • Orders that have failed AVS (Address Verification Service) or CID (the three-digit value on the back of the card).
  • International orders from countries that you usually don’t have customers in.
  • Orders that are shipped to a single address, but made on multiple cards or using multiple billing addresses.

Secure network access

Secure your network by limiting employee access to sensitive data, using updates to the latest versions of software, and increasing your cybersecurity efforts by using separate devices for your personal and business use. Roll out layered security measures like generating strong, complex passwords as well as two-factor authentication. System encryption can keep malicious third parties from getting their hands on your information.

Ensure PCI Compliance

PCI or Payment Card Industry compliance is a non-negotiable in terms of financial security in enterprise payments. PCI is all about strict data security standards and sets the bar for what customers should expect in terms of data protection from those handling their financial information.

While there’s a range of actions an enterprise needs to take to meet compliance, they should focus on three important areas… And get a PCI consultant to guide them through the rest.

  • Collecting and transmitting credit card data securely.
  • Ensuring credit card data is stored safely and securely.
  • Annually proving that required security protocols are met.

Stamping out Human Error for Increased Payment Security

The potential for human error always looms large and mistakes can put your entire system at risk. Here are four ways to mitigate this.

Installing anti-malware software

Employees connecting to your system can put you at risk by downloading malware onto their work devices (which most often happens without their knowledge), and consequently infecting your system. Anti-malware software installed on your systems can detect malware that may be present.

Limiting user credentials

This will help to ensure minimal damage even if hackers and cybercriminals gain access to a legitimate user’s account.

Use logging mechanisms

You need to know who is accessing your system and what they've accessed. Monitoring user activity can help you find out what information they have access to and how to protect it.

Train your employees

Your workers should be thoroughly grounded in your enterprise's security processes, policies, and systems. That way, they can help keep systems secure and know what to do in the event of security breaches.

payment security

NatPay & ACH: The Smart, Secure Way To Handle Payment Security

National Payment Corporation (NatPay) has become the leading company to offer third-party processing of Direct Deposits for employee payroll, processing more than $115+ billion annually for 228,000+ ACH clients nationwide.

NatPay has been the pioneer in payroll distribution solutions since 1991, offering multiple levels of data encryption and file protection that are unmatched. In addition, NatPay is integrated with most accounting and payroll processing software. If not, no problem. We specialize in custom integrations.

The challenges of payment card processing can be circumvented entirely, and NatPay can help. As an industry leader in bulk payment processing services, we can help your enterprise sustain its success with our secure online systems.

Book a demo today, and together, let’s build a customized solution for your organization.

Technology Advantage: Saving Time and Money with Automation

technology advantage with automation

Gain a technology advantage with automated solutions. NatPay's automated invoice systems reduce errors, improve efficiency, and enhance security.

A company’s invoicing process often represents its relationship with both clients and suppliers. Contractors will always flock to clients who operate invoice systems with prompt processing and timely payments. After all, everyone appreciates being paid on time!

But while simplifying the invoice process is easy enough for small businesses, firms that deal with hundreds or thousands of suppliers can run into problems if they can’t track orders fast enough. In cases like these, automation can help streamline the process and provide a massive technology advantage over your competitors.

The Typical Invoice Process

Your finance department’s Accounts Payable (AP) division is usually tasked with paying external partners, and so instinct might be to go knock on their office door to see why you’re behind. However, any veteran AP worker will tell you that only verified bills and invoices undergo processing. This is the main reason why the space between billing a client and receiving payment can often run anywhere between a week to 90 days. Invoices need to pass through a whole slew of verification processes.

If an invoice has all its details complete and correct, the processing shouldn’t pose any problems. However, that’s a big if. Incomplete, inaccurate, or illegible invoices quickly get bounced back to the sender, turning back the clock on the processing period with every instance. Sometimes, the mistake happens within the AP department. Paper documents often get lost, mislabeled, accidentally shredded, or damaged—and the process begins yet again.

A typical AP employee can churn around five invoices a day. Once incoming invoices outnumber the people assigned to them, you might need to hire more help, before your staff burns out. But for some companies, late invoice payments can mean additional costs. Many suppliers charge a fee for late payment. In addition, your reputation as a prompt payer can take a hit. This can serve as a red light to new suppliers, who might switch to clients that pay the same rates but offer prompt payment.

technology advantage
Source: Shutterstock

Paper-Based Invoice Systems

While one might point fingers at the AP department, such as the incorrect invoice being sent by a contractor or workplace accidents, so it may be worth looking at your overall system. Your paper-centric invoice system itself may be the culprit behind your productivity lag.

Processing hard-copy documents is an inefficient manner in which to secure authorization, as it generally entails physical signature routing. In a typical organization, the higher the position, the more time needed to wait for availability. Running around the office collecting the necessary signatures takes too long in our instantaneous world—especially when there are quicker digital options on-hand.

Also, paper-based systems usually require a physical storage system. Filing cabinets are hardly the most secure piece of office hardware and eat up valuable real estate. Not to mention that even the most well-organized filing cabinet takes longer to sort through than a tight collection of digital folders. One misplaced manila file folder can set back invoice processing days, or lead to starting the process again from scratch.

To reduce problems caused by archaic paper invoice systems, consider upgrading to an invoice system with automation features. Migrating paper documentation needed in invoicing systems to a digital system can help streamline processing. It can also provide additional security services to authenticate content and prevent document loss.

Faster Payments With Automated Invoices

During the early peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, very late invoices became a sort of mini-pandemic among small businesses in the U.S.

Other regions across the world also experienced a drop in timely payments, especially in Asia and Europe. Production in many areas ground to a halt, while retail businesses shuttered their physical stores. More importantly, office closures made it physically impossible to process existing invoices further.

However, excuses won’t help small businesses recover their investments or generate a profit. A pandemic shouldn’t be an excuse to stiff suppliers from an honest day’s work.

According to the Accounts Payable Association, 23% of businesses report having suppliers refusing to work with them again due to difficulties in collecting payment.

Invoice automation allows companies to continue processing even in the absence of paper documentation. Before, invoicing entailed a host of activities that required a lot of back and forth between parties. This consumes time and effort for all concerned. Expediting the process of receiving, verifying, and processing invoices and then making the corresponding payment can aid many businesses.

Transferring from a paper to a cloud system also means fewer manual processes, which in turn translates to faster processing and on-time payments. By extension, this results in satisfied suppliers and enhanced business relationships.

Save Money With Invoice Automation

Even when done properly, invoicing costs money. So imagine the costs of invoicing when done inefficiently. According to the American Productivity and Quality Center, the average cost of invoicing ranges anywhere from $2.07 to $10 per invoice processed. The biggest determinant on where in that range one falls? Efficiency.

But how does one make an invoice system more efficient? While more experienced Accounts Payable workers may be able to churn more invoices a day, they’re not in control of the whole situation. Routing paper to and from various departments for verification and signatures can increase the chances of lost or misplaced documents. With paper documents, you’ll need authorizing officers to receive papers in person, which can be difficult when someone goes on vacation or works from home.

To help increase efficiency, why not try paperless invoicing? Electronic documents travel much faster and farther than those following paper routes. Accordingly, the whole invoicing process becomes faster. And since documents are digital, you can ensure they won’t get lost in the process, and are more secure in transit. These features streamline the invoicing process.

Use E-Statements to Protect Data from Intrusion and Gain a Technology Advantage

Skeptics of paperless invoicing often point to the chances of documents falling into the wrong hands as a reason against converting. Or, they fear digital manipulation from unscrupulous individuals going undetected.

However, e-documents actually offer a more secure way to process and issue payments.

In reality, paper checks are the single largest source of payment fraud. According to an Association of Financial Professionals survey, 75% of companies that reported payment fraud pointed to checks as the medium used to commit the crime.

Another key reason for the delays in processing invoices is manual processes that are susceptible to human error. Stressed, tired, or distracted workers can inadvertently make a mistake. Even a slip such as an incorrect date or a transposed number can nullify the work and start the process over.

technology advantage
Source: Shutterstock

Paperless Invoicing Can Solve These Problems as a Technology Advantage

Paperless invoicing can help correct both of these issues. Automation of your Accounts Payable division removes the need for tedious, error-prone manual entries. Instead, automated invoice software can perform tasks faster and more efficiently.

In addition, automation can also help avoid check fraud. Instead of paper checks, electronic payments route through encrypted, paperless systems. Many automated services utilize security measures such as multi-factor authentication to detect fraudulent or duplicate efforts.

NatPay Solutions Help You Customize Your Document Management Needs to Increase Your Technology Advantage

When considering how to upgrade your invoice system, choose the automation route.

NatPay's Doculivery online document management service offers a modern way to process invoices. Doculivery features cloud-based access, which allows for around-the-clock electronic document routing—anytime, anywhere. Its robust system can accommodate not just invoicing, but also e-statements, online bills, electronic payroll stubs, tax forms, automated forms, and more.

Learn more about how digital invoicing can help increase your efficiency and lower costs at the same time—reach out to NatPay today!

Technology Advantage: Ease of Use with Single Sign-On (and 2-Factor Authentication)

technology advantage

Online transaction security is a must for today's businesses to gain a technology advantage. Learn how single sign-on and 2FA can keep your business safe.

We all know what a hassle juggling multiple passwords can be. Today, when users have to remember sign-in information for every little thing, it seems, it’s too easy to forget or mix up credentials. Or worse, those with password fatigue end up just using the same credentials across platforms, making them even less protected—and passwords are hardly the safest form of credential these days. Thankfully, thanks to newer technology, we have measures like single sign-on (SSO) and 2-factor authentication (2FA) to manage log-in issues nowadays.

Single sign-on (SSO) provides users the means to log in once using a single set of credentials. This one-time log-in unlocks the entire environment for the user, including access to apps, websites, and other data within the system.

Meanwhile, 2-factor authentication offers additional layers of security by requiring more than just a password for proof of entry. The process requires two different forms of authentication—usually something knowledge-based, like a password, and then something possession-based, like an outside device. The most common iteration of 2FA is messaging an additional security code to one’s phone. Without that device, unauthorized users won’t have all the credentials needed for entry.

Typical enterprise systems are comprised of hundreds (if not thousands) of different apps and tools. Imagine having to manage passwords for each app for each employee. In a large corporation, your employee base could easily number in the thousands! Instead, single sign-on and 2-factor authentication can enhance security for accounts and protect digital financial transactions better.

SSO for Easier Password Management

For many users, password management is a bit of a catch-22.

If you use a weak password, hackers can find it easy to hack. However, once you use a complicated password, it becomes harder for you to remember. If you write the password down, you’re opening yourself to even greater chances of getting hacked. The more apps that require individual log-ins, the more confusing the situation—plus, there are systems that require constant re-logs at regular intervals. These can be quite frustrating, especially when working on a deadline.

Single sign-on systems help declutter work. Users only need to log in to the main application once in a sitting. This automatically authorizes access across all apps and other information that usually requires individual log-ins.

In addition, an SSO system offers the following advantages:

  • Consolidates control over system resources
  • Helps users avoid password fatigue while increasing better password awareness
  • Reduces calls to IT help desks regarding password problems or requests for password resets
  • Increases productivity and security due to reduced need for users to log in or continually re-enter passwords
technology advantage
Source: Shutterstock

SSO Improves the Security of ACH Transactions

Requiring separate accounts and passwords for individual apps might be a good idea on paper; however, many users will forego using different passwords in fear of forgetting them. This defeats the purpose of multiple logins. Unfortunately, in this case, user convenience means bigger vulnerabilities for the enterprise. Once hackers succeed in unlocking one account, they get instant access to the other accounts with the same password.

However, the circumstances change with SSO. With only a single login credential necessary, users now only need to memorize one password. Consequently, they can come up with more elaborate passwords, which are harder to crack. These practices can help mitigate the risk of stolen accounts.

Additionally, SSO reduces the instances of separate logins. This, in turn, reduces opportunities for hackers to break into the system. As a result, financial transactions such as those using ACH systems can remain secure even with a single login. In addition, SSO helps with compliance with regulatory requirements on documentation. Single sign-on centralizes activities, which makes for a clearer audit trail.

SSO Allows Seamless Access to Applications

Having a single sign-on login that grants access to the entire enterprise system also improves productivity. Multiple logins can add up to a significant amount of time spent accessing a system. This helps users avoid technology failure, where the frustration from repeated attempts to log in or register leads some to abandon the entire process.

The secure sign-on system also prevents password fatigue. If you’re dealing with a single login, changing passwords regularly shouldn’t be a problem. However, when dealing with a dozen or more accounts, good luck assigning a dozen or more new passwords every month.

2-Factor Authentication Strengthens SSO

Adding 2-factor authentication to an SSO system further strengthens security measures for digital financial transactions. Requiring a secondary device to provide a second code can help ensure that the registered user is actually the one logging in.

It’s not uncommon for unscrupulous individuals to steal passwords from careless users or through sophisticated hacking efforts. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection by requesting additional information from a secondary device. As such, this makes any hacker’s possession of usernames and passwords irrelevant.

technology advantage for security
Source: Shutterstock

Security is NatPay’s Number One Priority, With Single Sign-On and 2-Factor Authentication

NatPay, a leading provider of ACH and document distribution systems since 1991, offers third-party payment solutions that emphasize security. With over 228,000 satisfied ACH clients which total more than $115 billion in transactions, NatPay takes security seriously. Single sign-on and 2-factor authentication are just two facets of a multi-tiered approach ensuring that transactions remain fast, accurate, and secure.

Learn more about how NatPay can provide your company with payroll, HR, and financial solutions that suit your unique requirements—contact a representative today.

ACH Payment Services: What are the Security Advantages & Disadvantages?

ACH Payment Services: What are the Security Advantages & Disadvantages?

Online security is important to businesses and consumers when it comes to their digital payments. Learn what to look for in an ACH payment service provider.

The top reason financial institutions and retailers have embraced using an ACH payment provider is the level of security offered.

In 2020, more than 26 billion payments were made on the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network, according to the NACHA (National Automated Clearing House Association), the organization that governs the ACH Network. That’s an increase of 8.2% from 2019 alone with a 10.8% increase in the value of total payments. In total, nearly $62 trillion worth of payments were made using an ACH payment provider and 2 billion new payments were made.

That’s a significant amount of funds being exchanged electronically, and protecting businesses' and consumers' digital payments is important to all involved.

In this blog post, you will learn about the security advantages and disadvantages of using an ACH payment provider, and what to look for in using one.

ach payment provider

Security Advantages of an ACH Payment Provider

Paper checks are the highest threat when it comes to online fraud. Checks contain bank routing numbers, account numbers, and identifying information such as name, address, and telephone number.

During processing, paper checks get handled by several people from postal carriers to business receptionists, clerks, and processors. They can get lost or misplaced or fall into the hands of unknown entities.

An electronic ACH payment is simply more secure.

Businesses can also implement additional security measures to make ACH payment security even better by using a third-party provider that ascribes to secure payment methods similar to what’s used by the US Customs and Border Protection.

  • Information about users is not stored online. A unique Payer Unit Number (PUN) is used to process ACH transactions.
  • Only the original filer can transmit payment authorization.
  • A broker can only use the PUN for specific statements.
  • Fund transfer cannot begin until authorized by the user.
  • Payments are only authorized when the user’s statements match statements.

The best third-party ACH payment processes will end-to-end encryption using a locked algorithm. This prevents anyone from being able to use any information that is intercepted during transmission. Even if an unauthorized user gained access during transmission—such as a hacker doing a Man-in-the-Middle attack—the data would be undecipherable.

ACH Fraud Protection

ACH Debit is safer than checks and safer than using a debit card. Errors in payments can be reversed and consumers are protected against fraud by federal law.

Recipients of the funds transferred by ACH typically need a US bank account. This means they have to prove their identity which provides another layer of fraud protection. In case of fraud or illegal activity, it makes it much easier for law enforcement to track down criminals.

Fewer Errors

Businesses also see fewer errors when ACH payments are used. There’s no rekeying information or transferring data from one system to another.

An ACH payment doesn’t get misplaced in the accounting department or lost on the way to depositing them at your financial institution. When the physical handling of checks decreases, so does the error rate and the opportunity for fraudulent activities.

It also saves you time since you don’t need to do bank runs for deposits.

Risks of an ACH Payment

There are some risks involved in ACH payments that you should be aware of.

Credit and Debit Risk

If the person paying the bill does not have the funds available to make the payment, the ACH payment will not go through. The financial providers facilitating the ACH transaction have the biggest risk in this case.

Debit risks can occur when thieves get account details and make unauthorized debits from a customer’s account. Both customers and financial institutions can suffer losses, although many banks will cover losses within limits.

Operational Risk

Computer failures, power failures, or natural disasters do occur on occasion. This can lead to data loss, duplication, or alteration if the proper safeguards have not been put in place.

Fraud Risk

There is a risk of fraud from inside threat actors. For example, if a bank employee has access to customer account data and ACH payment facilities and makes unauthorized transactions. There is also the risk of cybercriminals breaching security at financial institutions.

Systemic Risk

There can also be a systematic risk, especially when high dollar or high-volume transactions are involved. When one customer does not have the money available to settle an account, this can cause a chain reaction. The recipient may be unable to settle their account, and so on. The systemic risk is similar to that caused by a bounced check for a large amount.

Bankruptcies and financial difficulties are typically the culprits when this occurs.

Safeguarding Against ACH Payment Fraud

The choice of an ACH service provider is an important decision in your ACH fraud prevention strategy. Whether you are handling consumer transactions, electronic billing, click-to-pay, or payroll and direct deposit services—your ACH service provider should follow these guidelines to mitigate risk.

  • ACH payment providers should be SSAE 18 Type 1 or Type 2 examined, which include annual audits from an accredited CPA firm to verify control policies and procedures are being followed.
  • All employees at ACH providers should pass background checks before being hired.
  • ACH payment providers should carry a minimum of $2 million of liability and malfeasance insurance, although the best ACH providers will carry $5 million.
  • The best ACH payment providers will have robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans to avoid shutdowns.
  • ACH payment providers should avoid processing high-risk transactions from any customers.
  • ACH payment providers should under yearly financial audits and pass financial stress tests.

Unfortunately, not all ACH payment providers will take all of these steps. Complying with these stringent self-imposed rules along with industry regulations cuts into a provider’s profitability. However, they are essential for fraud protection and to ensure you get the safe, quality service your need to run your business.

Secure ACH Payment Services With NatPay

NatPay is the nation’s largest third-party processor of ACH payments. Handling more than $115 billion annually for more than 228,000 nationwide ACH payment clients, NatPay provides unmatched value and peace of mind for its customers with a broad range of ACH payment services.

NatPay is fully compliant with all NACHA rules, regulations, and best practices which means you get the best possible service and security for fraud protection.

Contact NatPay today for more information.

Keeping You in the Clear with ACH Payments: What is the ACH Network?

Keeping You in the Clear with ACH Payments: What is the ACH Network?

Learn about the benefits of using ACH payments for business owners, and how the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network fits in.

The Automated Clearing House (ACH) network is a payment system that drives safe, smart, and fast direct deposits and direct payments with the capability to reach all US bank and credit union accounts.

Acting as a financial hub, the ACH Network represents more than 10,000 financial institutions and helps people and organizations move money from one bank account to another.

The ACH Network processed 27 billion payments in 2020, signaling five consecutive years of adding over 1 billion new ACH payments to the increasingly popular American electronic funds transfer system.

From transactions as varied as direct deposit ACH salary payments, Social Security, utilities, mortgages, charitable donations, subscription services, person-to-person, and business-to-business payments—the ACH Network processed transactions close to $62 trillion in 2020.

In this article, we discuss the benefits of using ACH payments for business owners, and how the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network fits in.

ach payments

What is ACH?

The National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) governs the ACH Network that facilitates electronic transfers through a broad network of financial institutions and professionals. It processes electronic financial transactions for businesses and consumers, as well as federal, state, and local governments.

The network consists of a number of financial institutions, such as banks and fintech companies, that collaborate to ensure fast, efficient, and secure payments. The ACH Network batches financial transactions together and processes them at specific intervals throughout the day, making online transactions extremely fast and easy.

NACHA rules state that average ACH debit transactions settle within one business day, and average ACH credit transactions settle within one to two business days. Changes to NACHA's operating rules, which came into effect on March 19, 2021, expanded access to same-day ACH transactions which allow for same-day settlement of most, if not all, ACH business.

Types of ACH Transfers

Electronic funds can either be transferred through ACH debit or credit.

These transfers are distinguished by how the funds get transferred between accounts. ACH debits are withdrawn from accounts (think of funds transferred from the customer’s bank account into the merchant's account) and ACH credits are deposited into accounts (transferring funds from the merchant’s bank account into the customer’s account).

Direct deposit and direct payment are popular types of electronic payments made through ACH, simplifying these processes for many businesses and organizations.‘How is ACH different from the use of credit cards? you may be asking. There are a few differences, but mainly in the authorization process and the batch payment system.

ACH transactions require authorization to allow electronic access to a particular account. Once the person requiring the funds gets authorization, they have permission to electronically access funds from another’s bank account. Credit cards don’t require such authorization.

As for the way in which money is transferred, ACH makes payments in batches, which saves both time and money. Due to various credit processes, credit card payments can’t be lumped together like ACH payments, giving ACH the competitive edge in this arena.

Many Americans are benefitting from ACH payments every day—be it the worker who has their salary deposited straight into their account, or the homeowner who settles utility bills without the hassle of having to write a check.

ach payments

How the ACH Network Works

The ACH operates through a number of key players. These players consist of: An Originator, an ODFI (originator depository financial institution), an ACH Operator, a Receiving Deposits Financial Institution, and a Receiver.

Let’s take a look at the function of each entity:

The Originator

Whether a company, government agency, or individual, the originator is the entity that sets everything in motion by initiating the ACH transaction.


This is the Originating Depository Financial Institution. Upon receiving payment instructions from the Originator, the ODFI commences with the ACH transaction.

The ACH Operator

ACH Operators act as clearing facilities for the above-mentioned financial institutions or ODFIs. There are two main bodies that operate within the ACH network: The Federal Reserve and the electronic payment network.


This key player–the Receiving Depository Financial Institution – is the entity that receives entries directly from their ACH Operator and ensures that the funds are made available to the receiver.

The Receiver

As the name implies, the Receiver is the entity in the ACH system, which receives an ACH transaction and has given the originator the go-ahead to initiate the entry into the ACH network.

Advantages of the ACH Network

There are a growing number of entities that are realizing the benefits of this fast, efficient, and safe payment system. The use of the ACH network to facilitate electronic transfers of money has also increased the efficiency of government and business transactions. More recently, the ACH system has also made it easier and cheaper for individuals to send money to each other directly from their bank accounts by direct deposit transfer or e-check.

Because they’re electronic, ACH payments use fewer resources than traditional paper checks. It eliminates the need for paper, time, and labor to handle and deposit checks. Electronic transactions also facilitate easier tracking of income and expenses. With an electronic record created for every transaction, that transaction history can also be easily accessed.

Many business owners are turning to ACH due to the affordable transaction fees. Compared with credit card companies which charge 2-3% of the transaction amount, ACH is much cheaper, having a flat fee of $0.25-0.50 per transaction. When you’re operating on a larger scale, this can really add up in terms of savings.

Application Program Interfaces (APIs) have been created for the ACH financial system, providing a way to communicate between programs. This is especially useful for companies with ERP systems and CMRs. ACH provides a cost and time-efficient way for companies to pay salaries–especially big firms that have large staff compliments.

Streamline and Save With ACH Distribution of Payments, Deposits & Reimbursements

NatPay is the nation's largest 3rd party ACH processor and processes more than $115+ billion annually for 228,000+ ACH clients, nationwide.

NatPay offers a comprehensive portfolio of payroll, human resources, and financial solutions with services that help clients do what they do best–run their business. With customized SaaS solutions and online document management services, NatPay relieves you from administrative hassles so you can focus on streamlining your business and boosting your profits.

With over 30 years of information distribution experience, providing online document solutions to over 30,000 clients across the nation, we know the ins and outs of ACH and are happy to assist you with any questions you may have.

Book a free online demo with NatPay today to find out how we can help your organization grow.

ACH Fraud: Awareness, Prevention, and Solutions

ach fraud

Transitioning to digitized payment processes? Learn what you need to know about ACH fraud and how to prevent it.

Automated clearing house (ACH) transactions make payment processing easier than ever before. An entirely digital, nearly instantaneous transfer system, the ACH network has become popular for all sorts of business transactions, including payroll, direct deposit, and consumer billing. It makes online payments easier, more seamless, and more secure. However, despite the ACH network’s many positive features, it also stands at risk of digital fraud attempts.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission received over 2.1 million reports of fraud in 2020 alone, the most common being digital imposter scams. Organizations of all sizes and across all industries are susceptible to such attacks. Therefore, awareness of how such attacks function and how to prevent them is crucial.

While ACH fraud is rare, it can still happen if your organization does not have the necessary security protocols in place—and when it does happen, the damages are felt severely. Knowing how to identify potential ACH fraud is key to mitigating risk. This will also help you protect your company’s data and resources.

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Source: Shutterstock

How to Identify Possible ACH Fraud

The ACH system is almost totally automated, which makes it difficult to defraud. However, ACH fraud can still occur when unauthorized third parties facilitate a transaction, or when authorized actors voluntarily give information to external parties. There is no perfect security system, and cybercriminals commit ACH fraud by exploiting vulnerabilities. Two of the most common methods for ACH fraud are phishing emails and ACH check kiting.

A phishing email is a type of cyberattack that masquerades as an email from legitimate organizations. These scam emails typically include an undefined link in the email body—when the recipient clicks on it, the email directs them to another site that steals their data. Phishing emails are easy to send en masse to an entire organization, so it is crucial that your staff are well-aware of the best practices in email safety.

ACH check kiting, another popular fraud strategy occurs when someone issues a check without the funds to cover it. Since checks take some time to clear, perpetrators can use this window to withdraw funds before the bank realizes that there is an issue.

These particular instances of ACH fraud are among the easiest to spot, but there are more subtle strategies to watch for. Some other methods for carrying out ACH fraud include insider threats (when an authorized individual gives credentials to unauthorized parties to access sensitive information) and ACH lapping (when a payment is diverted but marked as successful anyway).

Awareness of ACH fraud methods is key to prevention. After all, you can’t prevent fraud if you don't know what it looks like! It’s also critical for your organization to implement robust security protocols to keep your data well-protected.

Set Up ACH Blocks and Filters

The best way to prevent ACH fraud is to keep tight control of your transactions. Implementing blocks and filters allow you to manage your payments effectively and efficiently, so no transaction goes through without your authorization. Pairing with a third-party processor who already operates in this manner can save you the stress of managing all your payments yourself.

For example, NatPay’s Direct Deposit Plus ACH Solutions boosts your transactions’ safety with constant NACHA compliance, so you can be sure your payments are always as secure as possible. Automated alerts for every transaction allow you to keep informed without scouring for fraud yourself. These protective measures give your organization an extra layer of security, so all your transactions flow smoothly and seamlessly.

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Source: Pexels

Utilize Two-Factor Authentication Security to Prevent ACH Fraud

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is another security measure that can protect your organization from ACH fraud. Often implemented for email and social media accounts and other repositories of personal information, 2FA neutralizes the threat of hacking by decentralizing the access point.

As the name implies, 2FA requires confirmation from two different sources before a user can access an account. Consider, for example, how many social media accounts will require a password, and then text an authentication PIN to your mobile phone. This two-pronged verification strategy makes fraud less likely. It’s much more difficult for a hacker to access two independent devices at exactly the same time. If your main password is compromised, the backup authentication keeps your data protected.

It is worth noting, however, that two-factor authentication scams can still happen. It is critical that users remember to never share their authentication codes with other individuals.

ACH Payments Offer Maximum Security—Use NatPay Solutions Today

Compared to traditional modes of payment like checks and cash, ACH transactions present the next level of payment security. Especially in this post-Covid hyper-digital age, it helps to implement as many robust electronic options as possible. The fully-digitized ACH model limits the possibility of human error and the enhanced security scales back on fraud possibilities.

While ACH fraud is rare compared to more traditional payment methods, it can still strike. Keeping aware of different ACH fraud strategies and how to combat them—and educating your staff as well—are key to keeping your organization secure. Ensure that your ACH filters and blocks are up and running, and set authorization protocols at both individual and company levels for maximum security. Better yet, partner with a third-party payment processor who keeps on top of these concerns already, like NatPay.

A leader in secure payment processing since 1991, NatPay’s payment solutions are sure to keep your information safe. From ACH payment processing, to secure document delivery and invoicing, NatPay can simplify and safeguard all your business financial transactions.

Incorporate NatPay Secure Solutions into your organization to protect your business from cyberattacks and fraud: reach out today!

Visit our White Paper Library to download this article: ACH Fraud: Awareness, Prevention, and Solutions.

5 Essential Enterprise Solutions Every Digital Finance Business Needs in 2022

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Here are five enterprise solutions essential for digital finance businesses to keep services safe, cost-effective, convenient, and consistent for consumers.

As technology develops, so does the way businesses, individuals, and families manage their finances. Traditional financial services have largely converted to digital operations, allowing users to manage their finances from anywhere, at any time. Digital finance not only makes accessing financial services more convenient and less time-consuming; it also increases the accessibility for people in traditionally underserved areas.

However, digital finance also comes with its own unique concerns. Due to increased online financial activity and transactions, businesses face the critical task of keeping new services streamlined, safe, cost-effective, consistent, convenient, and error-free.

Enterprise solutions can help integrate business operation facets through the interchange of data from various processes and databases. These solutions help companies organize and distribute essential information within key departments, providing real-time operating solutions.

This technology helps organizations plan and execute enterprise-wide project management, and can add a competitive advantage by ensuring on-time, and on-budget service delivery. To keep up with technology and consumer demands, the following five enterprise solutions are essential for every digital finance business.

1. Secure Payment Solutions

One of the biggest pain points for both individuals and businesses conducting finance operations in the digital space is safety. Offering airtight payment solutions is critical for every business. Once an outside actor has compromised your processes, it’s too late: you’ll lose clientele trust and your business will sink quickly. Secure your transactions ASAP!

To ensure secure payment processing, a company (or its third-party payment service provider) must take ownership of the payment process. Along every step of the journey—from payment detail entry to the time the intended party receives payment—businesses must keep a careful eye on the transaction.

Using a Payment Service Provider (PSP) increases flexibility and decreases processing time. This can significantly impact conversion rates and revenues. PSPs offer the security required to facilitate a wide range of payment forms, decreasing operational costs through integrated billing systems.

Some key methods used to improve security include PCI compliance, data encryption, and verification systems. PSPs often enact these methods to a higher standard compared to self-managed options, which makes them invaluable partners.

PCI Compliance

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Committee sets standardized rules that companies processing payment card data must meet. Meeting compliance requirements certifies that providers can adequately protect customer data; conversely, non-compliance or data leakage may lead to hefty fines and suspension of future card processing privileges.

The complex process of achieving compliance includes an array of enterprise solutions such as ongoing operations, including system testing, encrypting cardholder data encryption, maintaining security and antivirus systems, and strictly limiting data access and storage.

Many PSPs go above and beyond with their security measures, instituting personal information and address verification systems to verify customers twice over. These enterprise solution measures help prevent fraud, as a cybercriminal armed with only a credit card number likely does not also have all the attendant private customer knowledge.

In addition to PCI compliance, PSPs enable enterprises to safely use payment apps, allowing digital funds to transfer without credit cards. As these apps see regular use by approximately 80% of adults in the U.S. (and 94% of millennials), they are a necessary modern payment enterprise solution.

2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is an enterprise solution that integrates and analyzes customer interactions and data with the purpose of improving customer service relationships, retention, and growth. CRM tools gather customer data across various points of contact, including email, live chats, telephonic conversations, and social platforms.

This enterprise solution streamlines customer communication between channels and connects different departments for real-time problem resolution. Quick response times are key to retention in a fast-paced, on-demand culture of digital convenience, especially when it comes to financing.

As CRM systems improve to meet evolving customer and business needs, these enterprise solutions tools can also automate data entry, case routing, and other administrative tasks. This frees up personnel time for more efficient and effective problem resolution and relationship-building interactions. Automatically generated insights allow businesses to better grasp client needs and can inform effective decision-making across business departments.

With a poor customer experience review just a click away, it is imperative that businesses foster long-term customer relationships built on trust. CRM systems provide businesses with the tools to optimize each touchpoint and proactively meet customer needs.

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Source: Shutterstock

3. Marketing Automation Platforms

Marketing automation integrates software, allowing departments to automate tasks as well as personalize marketing messages. This allows businesses to execute email, social media, and other marketing campaigns quickly, freeing up time for customer engagement. These automated tools can also interpret collected data to further create strategic marketing and streamlined workflows. This allows for task prioritizing and keeping teams in sync.

Prospects are often led through a one-size-fits-all sales funnel that is irrelevant to their personal needs. Automated marketing tools break down customer data to tell you exactly what they are looking for, allowing immediate and relevant marketing responses. Use these insights to make strategic decisions regarding products and services offered, customer pain points, and areas in the sales funnel that require re-strategizing.

4. Project Management

Robust project management tools can help streamline tasks and communication. Consider how much time is spent transferring information between individuals, departments, and businesses—time better utilized directly addressing a project. Customizable project management tools allow you to meet the requirements of your individual team, goals, and projects.

Any worthy project management tool should include features to assist with the following:

  • Budgeting. Any tool must allow you to draw up a budget forecast, track project expenses, and assess actual costs to make necessary amendments as you go. Budget forecasting, management, and analysis should be an ongoing part of every step of project execution.
  • Project Estimation. Estimation tools help you formulate a timeline for completing goals, estimate constraints, and follow up on unmet metrics.
  • Resource Allocation. Project management tools that display the distribution of employee tasks on multiple projects will prevent overloading or under-utilizing certain employees. Instead, these tools make assigning tasks based on employee workload and availability easier.
  • Communication and Collaboration. Your project management tool should allow stakeholders to keep up-to-date on project developments, changes, task completion, and handovers, all in a single hub. Virtual collaboration and communication features include chat, web meetings, forums, task assignments, progress comments, and dashboards.
  • Quality Management. Manage project quality easily with issue tracking and resolution features. Some tools also offer automated task assignments, follow-ups, and reminders.
  • Project Administration. File management and secure sharing features help you avoid misplacing important documents. This streamlines the time needed to make approvals, so you can keep on track.
  • Risk Management. Use project management software to identify and minimize risks and uncertainties. Create task timelines and deadlines, organize multiple projects simultaneously, and ensure that you have backup plans in place to reduce delays.
  • Planning and Scheduling. Facilitate effective task delegation for the entire team to see workflows, task folders, subtasks, templates, calendars, reporting, and evaluations.

Project management tools are designed, first and foremost, to promote effective team communication. They should encourage people to ask questions, raise concerns about ideas that may not work, and fuel input to better achieve goals.

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Source: Shutterstock

5. Business Intelligence (BI)

Business intelligence (BI) software provides valuable data-based insights into the state of operations. Data sets are analyzed and presented in actionable and easy-to-understand reports, graphs, summaries, and charts that can help steer strategic business decisions.

However, business intelligence tools don’t only reveal present business standings. They also shed light on how past events have contributed to current circumstances.

Considering how many users will not necessarily be tech-savvy, BI software is designed to be extremely user-friendly, with easy-to-read data sets and business reports. Technically fluent or not, management needs this data to understand trends, determine delay causes, and spot irregularities. Like any of the aforementioned solutions, BI software exists to streamline decision-making and improve workflows, ultimately leading to smoother transactions and happier customers. Business intelligence tools can also help track progress after the implementation of changes, to determine repercussive effects and guide the next steps of improvement.

Any competent BI software should include a range of performance-enhancing processes and activities, including:

  • Data Mining. Your prospective BI software should at minimum use database information, statistics, and machine learning to determine trends, patterns, and inconsistencies.
  • Data Preparation. Any BI software must also compile and interpret data sources, and identify the scope for data analysis.
  • Data Visualization and Analysis. The tool should be able to create analytical visual representations for easy interpretation, in the form of charts, graphs, and histograms.
  • Reporting. Reports allow you to share analytical outcomes and findings with stakeholders to make strategic data-based decisions.
  • Performance Metrics and Benchmarking. Customized dashboards can facilitate progress comparisons with historical data and help you set goals for future performance.
  • Descriptive and Statistical Analytics. Analytic data should dig further into specifics to uncover the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind certain trends and occurrences.

Incorporate Enterprise Solutions with NatPay

A leader in digital finance for thirty years, NatPay offers a range of enterprise solutions tools to streamline transaction efficiency without compromising security. From document management to direct payroll deposits, NatPay enterprise solutions decrease security risks, administrative glitches, repetitive and time-consuming administrative labor, and payment delays.

NatPay’s direct deposit solution digitizes the process end-to-end, offering a lightning-fast payroll experience. On top of instantaneous transfers requiring little to no human interaction, NatPay also keeps security airtight, utilizing SQL server redundancy, GeoTrust certificates, SSL encryption, and firewall protection to abate exposure and avoid critical data loss.

Additionally, NatPay Direct Deposit offers a range of payment methods, from easily accessible electronic pay stubs to pay cards, to meet employees where they are. Free employee pay notifications also increase efficiency and employee engagement, while decreasing administration and labor.

Beyond innovative ACH solutions to secure payments, NatPay offers their Doculivery digital document management service as an enterprise solution to consolidate all of your private paperwork. A high-touch alternative to time-consuming and outdated storage and retrieval systems, Doculivery minimizes time spent digging through files and decreases the chances of documents going missing. Access exactly what you’re looking for at the click of a button.

With NatPay enterprise solutions, you can access online documents from anywhere, eliminating location-based constraints for authorized individuals. Create electronic documents such as e-statements, bills, and tax forms in-platform, to save time and money. Compounded with other valuable features such as automated fillable forms, secure storage, instant search functionality, and automated report creation, NatPay document storage enterprise solutions simplify organization for legal, audit, and regulatory compliance.

With greater ACH payment security, increased efficiency, reduced payment delays, improved tracking capabilities, accurate and immediate financial reports, and significant savings in business costs, NatPay's Payroll Direct Deposit enterprise solution benefits your business in all the areas it matters most.

Contact NatPay to schedule a free demo and secure your payments today!

ACH Fraud: Protect and Combat Ransomware Attacks

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Learn more about ACH fraud and how to protect your computer systems from cyberattacks. Beef up your security systems with NatPay's security solutions!

The digital space has evolved over the last couple of decades as many day-to-day activities have migrated online. For example, people can now conduct even the most complicated financial transactions over the internet in seconds, with maximum convenience.

However, technological advancements have also paved the way for digital security attacks, like automated clearing house (ACH) fraud. Ransomware, a type of malicious software used to take hostage of an individual’s or organization’s devices, is on the rise. When activated, ransomware uses encryption to take control of the devices. The cybercriminal then asks for a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key.

Cybersecurity has quickly become one of the biggest concerns of companies and organizations across the globe.

Startling insights from the Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2021 Q3 survey found that 1,291 data breaches were recorded between January and October in 2021 alone.

Increased connectivity has made it easier for cybercriminals to hack and attack organizations and individual devices.

With ACH fraud and ransomware attacks becoming rampant, it is crucial that businesses take the necessary steps to protect themselves from cybercriminals. As more companies adopt hybrid and global work models post COVID-19, they will require stronger security measures to protect their decentralized workforces.

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Source: Shutterstock

Install Anti-Malware

For obvious security reasons, ransomware is particularly devastating to companies that handle sensitive data. Ransomware attacks can reveal crucial financial information, putting clients and other businesses at risk of financial attacks and fraud.

If attacked with ransomware, financial institutions run the risk of information leaks, data destruction, loss of funds, and customers’ information being compromised. On top of the monetary impact, they also lose consumer trust, which is critical in finance.

Additionally, paying the ransom does not ensure that an organization’s data will be recovered. Your computer systems are at the mercy of your attackers, and they can still leak or destroy precious files if they wish. Most organizations have a downtime of at least a week following a ransomware attack, which significantly impacts business operations and client relations.

CNA Financial, one of the largest insurance companies in the United States, experienced a ransomware attack in March 2021. It was only able to fully restore its data two months later, in May—after paying a $40 million ransom to regain system control!

Financial institutions need to adopt more robust security measures to protect their and their customer's data, such as installing an effective and efficient anti-malware program. Especially in the case of hybrid teams, remote employees may put your systems at risk by unconsciously exposing their work devices to malware. Anti-malware programs can detect malicious software and provide solutions to protect your devices and system.

Use Firewalls to Prevent Unauthorized Access

Firewalls are another tool that can boost security for financial institutions. Firewalls act as a protective barrier against potentially harmful internet traffic. Using a set of established security rules, firewalls analyze incoming and outgoing traffic to scan for any malicious activity and promptly block traffic they deem harmful. Firewalls have been the first line of defense in network security for over 25 years.

Firewalls lend you an extra security measure against cybercriminals and make it difficult for them to access your data. These security defenses can prevent backdoor access, ACH fraud, spam attacks, and remote login hijacking.

While ACH payments are arguably one of the more secure ways to facilitate payments online, this does not mean they are completely safe from cyberattacks. Security breaches can leave financial institutions vulnerable to ACH fraud. Firewalls can provide institutions yet one more layer of security.

Run Regular Security Tests and Checks

When it comes to cybersecurity, you can never be too safe. Regular security tests are important to ensure that your protective measures are up to date. Cybercriminals can exploit even the smallest vulnerabilities as an entry point to take over your company’s whole system.

Penetration testing, also known as ethical hacking, is a mode of securities checks used to evaluate system vulnerabilities. Penetration tests examine how prone your computer network is to hacks, which you can use to determine the security measures you should implement. This prevents security breaches like bogus invoice payments.

Strengthen Email Security to Protect Your Finances

Along with your basic network controls, poor email security can also leave you vulnerable to cyberattacks. Many cybercriminals use emails to infiltrate financial institutions, and a single click can allow hackers to take over your whole system.

Security education for your employees is key to preventing cyberattacks and ACH fraud via email. If your employees are not well-versed with computer security best practices, the door is wide open for a hacker to slip in thanks to an erroneous response to a phishing email. You should also use active email security systems to help users determine the legitimacy of emails they receive.

Protect with NatPay Secure Solutions

As a financial institution, robust security measures are crucial to your business. Protect your ACH transactions by working with a secure, trustworthy payment processor like NatPay. A leader in the ACH processing industry since 1991, NatPay stays at the forefront of digital security technology.

Reach out to NatPay today to learn how you can best protect your data!

Understanding ACH Payments for Fraud and Risk Assessment

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Looking to optimize your business transactions? Consider ACH payments. At the electronic forefront of payments, the ACH network has a lot to offer.

Whether you prefer using cash, checks, debit cards, or credit cards, you can become a victim of transaction fraud or data security breaches. According to the Association for Financial Professionals, 40% of companies reported that fraud attempts have been on the rise since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While automated clearing house (ACH) payments have made things easier in the hyper-digital age, electronic transactions also present a wealth of opportunities for fraud attacks. As such, it’s important to understand how ACH payments work in order to implement effective fraud protection strategies for your organization.

What is an ACH Transaction?

ACH transactions run through the automated clearing house (ACH) network, an electronic funds-transfer system created to facilitate digital payments in the United States. Money transfers directly from one bank to another without the need for checks, wire transfers, cash, or credit cards.

ACH transactions often take the form of direct deposits and direct payments. One can use these transactions to pay bills online, pay vendors, or receive payments. Businesses can also use the ACH network for recurring deposits, such as payroll.

ACH payments accounted for 26.8 billion transactions in 2020 alone. This is an 8.2% increase compared to 2019 numbers. According to a report published by the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), business-to-business (B2B) payments (for vendors, bills, and other transfers) accounted for 4.4 billion of these transactions.

Meanwhile, direct deposit of salaries, wages, benefits, and assistance payments accounted for another 8 billion.

This increase in ACH transactions comes as no surprise, considering the number of benefits businesses can reap. ACH payments enable:

  1. Faster transfers. According to NACHA guidelines, ACH debit transactions must be settled within one business day (two business days for credit transactions). As such, funds transfer shockingly fast. This translates to more efficient operations and timelier transactions.
  2. Lower processing fees. NACHA states costs can range from $0.20 to $1.50 per transaction. In most cases, ACH processors compute this based on a fixed percentage, but there are providers who offer flat fees.
  3. More convenient processing. ACH payments occur online, so there’s no longer a need to go to the bank to settle transactions. As an added benefit, the process also eliminates paper invoices and checks, which can be difficult to keep track of.

How Do ACH Payments Work?

Every ACH transaction involves five key parties:

  1. Originator: The consumer, business, or organization that initiates the transaction.
  2. Originating Depository Financial Institution (ODFI): The financial institution that receives the payment on behalf of the originator, and forwards the payment to an ACH operator.
  3. ACH Operator: The central clearing facility that receives entries from the ODFI and forwards them accordingly. Currently, there are only two of these facilities—the Federal Reserve Bank and the Electronic Payments Network.
  4. Receiving Depository Financial Institution (RDFI): The financial institution that receives an ACH transaction and directs it to the receiver's account.
  5. Receiver: The consumer, business, or organization to whom the originator intends to send the payment.

ACH transactions are quite straightforward. Say you needed to pay a vendor for supplies you ordered for your business. In this case, the process will start when you (the originator) initiate a direct payment or direct deposit with your bank (the ODFI). Once you’ve made the payment, your bank will then batch your ACH transaction with other ACH transactions, which it sends out in intervals throughout the business day.

These transactions are then received by the ACH Operator. Once all transactions have been sorted, they are forwarded to the correct RDFI ( in this case, your vendor’s bank). The RDFI then posts your payment on your vendor’s account (the receiver).

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Photographer: Franck | Source: Unsplash

Implementing an Effective Risk Management System for ACH Payments

The direct bank-to-bank system makes ACH payments more secure than traditional options such as checks, cash, and credit/debit cards. However, it is not completely immune to fraudulent activity. It is important to have policies and internal protocols in place to help you mitigate the risks associated with ACH transactions.

Here are some risk management guidelines to consider for your ACH transactions:

  • Establish an authorization protocol and approval workflow to make sure only reviewed and verified payments are processed
  • Create an authorized user list to control who has access to your payment portals and can initiate ACH transactions
  • Make one-time authorizations your payment default, particularly for vendors with whom you don’t regularly transact
  • Perform regular account maintenance, making sure to review account changes finalizing money transfers
  • Schedule regular audits to keep tabs on unusual or out-of-pattern activity
  • Specify value limits for each authorized employee

The aforementioned aside, you can also consider employing ACH blocking and filtering services to reinforce your reconciliation procedures. Keep up with NACHA’s quarterly updates to stay abreast of the latest developments in security recommendations.

Mitigating Risks of ACH Payments with NatPay

ACH payments, like any other payment, have their advantages and disadvantages.

While the process itself can make transactions more secure, one cannot control what ACH facility and bank employees do with your data. Computer failures, power interruptions, and systemic risks also always play a part in data loss, duplication, or alteration during the transaction.

These aside, however, ACH payments remain a great alternative to traditional payment methods. ACH payments are fast and convenient, and they can reduce errors common during cash, check, and credit card transactions.

With some policies in place to protect against ACH-unique threats, you’ll find this method is the superior method. Or, if you don’t want to go through the task of monitoring ever-changing safety protocols yourself, consider pairing with a third-party payment processor, like NatPay.

Founded in 1991, NatPay is a leader in the payment processing industry. From payroll direct deposits to e-invoicing, the platform provides secure and timely services for your business. NatPay is HIPAA-compliant and insured through three major insurance carriers, so you can rest assured that every transaction is as secure as possible. Are you ready to update and secure your payment methods?

Reach out to NatPay for more information today.

Visit our White Paper Library to download this article: Understanding ACH Payments for Fraud and Risk Assessment

Best Cyber Theft Protection Protocols for ACH Transactions

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Digital payment fraud has been on the rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out how you can mitigate risk in your ACH transactions.

Although automated clearing house (ACH) transactions are generally considered difficult to breach and safer than check or cash payments, evidence shows that fraudsters increasingly target ACH transactions. Ignoring the consequences of this potential threat can have major implications for your business.

A global study on occupational fraud and abuse found that typical fraud cases last 14 months before detection, causing an average monthly loss of $8,300. Certified fraud examiners estimate that companies lose 5% of revenue to fraud annually.

And nearly one-third of fraud cases occur in part because of a lack of internal control. However, employee fraud awareness training and the use of targeted anti-fraud controls are on the rise. To further mitigate risk, businesses can implement structures and processes for detection and prevention.

In every company, fraud prevention should start with management. Your business must commit to a culture of integrity and honesty, implementing a formal code of conduct. Studies show that companies conducting fraud awareness training for employees are more likely to receive tipoffs through formal reporting means, such as an anonymous whistleblower hotline.

Management can also discourage fraud internally by establishing a positive environment, reasonable expectations, and incentive programs to ease temptations of abusing the system. Finally, considering the size and quantity of ACH transactions in general, businesses need to ensure that they—and their third-party partners—have strong anti-cyber theft strategies in place.

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Source: Shutterstock

Multi-Layered Fraud Prevention Measures

There is no one cure-all to prevent fraud in your business. The most effective fraud prevention strategy will layer a number of different solutions. Process controls, screening engines, flexible analytics—all of these combine to form a comprehensive barrier against fraud.

Considering the increase of fraud attacks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a robust, multi-layered prevention strategy is a must for businesses. An increase in remote work and shopping throughout the pandemic multiplied opportunities for digital fraud. Many businesses relaxed security protocols to enable employees to work from home and adjust to new technologies on short notice. This presented an opportunity for both external hackers and internal fraud. In addition, multiple billion-dollar relief measures implemented hurriedly, with low oversight, created abundant fraud opportunities.

To enhance cyberattack resilience, strict password protocols should form the basis of any company’s digital operations. Proper credential management and regular password changes can also limit potential exposures. Keeping a dedicated computer for banking prevents insiders from accessing funds and data without authorization. In addition, all information should be backed up and stored off-site.

You should assess the legitimacy of all online requests—including internal communication, partners, and vendors requesting sensitive information—regardless of how authentic they seem. This especially applies to time-sensitive or urgent requests.

ACH payment security allows for more digital security measures than check or cash transactions. For example, ACH transitions hinge on unique Payer Unit Numbers (PUN) for processing, and transfer only happens once authorized by the user. Some processes also feature end-to-end encryption, using a locked algorithm, and two-factor authentication. This ensures the data is undecipherable if intercepted during transmission. While ACH payments, like any system, have their pros and cons, they are undeniably the safest transaction method available.

Establish a Strict Fraud Prevention Policy

Every organization should implement a strict fraud policy demonstrating the company’s commitment to an anti-fraud culture. A policy that establishes clear post-discovery procedures can ensure that fraud attempts are dealt with effectively, every time. By explicitly defining fraudulent actions and consequences, companies ensure that all staff and third parties are clear about unacceptable behavior.

A company fraud policy should include:

  • Clear definitions of fraudulent actions, as well as the responsibilities expected for fraud management
  • Formal procedures in the case of suspected fraud
  • Statements clarifying explicit investigation, prosecution, and reporting to the appropriate authorities in any case of fraudulent activity
  • Options for employees to report any suspicion of fraud, and procedures to follow in such cases

Review your fraud policies regularly, and confirm that your whole staff is aware of any updates. Fraud prevention starts at the top, but it is a team effort.

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Source: Shutterstock

Secure an SSAE 18 Audit Certification

With increasing fraud, insider scandals, and external hacks, the demand for third-party regulation, protection, and proof of security compliance is high. Accordingly, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Auditing Standards Board issues SSAE 18 audits, to verify compliance with financial reporting security protocols.

An SSAE 18 audit certification helps financial institutions establish trust with their clients. Considering the high level of sensitive information financial institutions traffic in, an independent audit proves to clients that systems and controls are secure and effective. A third-party auditor will also spot inefficiencies or areas for improvement within your service organization that you may not have picked up on. Although the initial audit is lengthy, obtaining a regular SSAE 18 certification will save time and money in the long run.

Process ACH Transactions Securely

As online payment opportunities continue to grow, so do fraudulent opportunities. Payment fraud not only costs businesses monetarily. It can also damage a solid reputation in an instant, affect your business’s operating ability, and influence regulatory compliance. All these dangers considered, it makes sense to pair with a third-party ACH processor you can trust.

NatPay has been a leader in the payment processing industry for decades. With secure distribution solutions that cover everything from employee payroll to taxes to vendor transactions, NatPay can help protect all of your business’s payments.

Contact us today to see how you can eliminate risk while providing flexible payment execution.

Visit our White Paper Library to download this article: Best Cyber Theft Protection Protocols for ACH Transactions.

Buyers Beware: Not All ACH Solutions Are Created Equal

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When deciding on secure ACH solutions for your business, some tools are stronger than others. Secure your digital payments and documents with NatPay.

While the internet has given us the gift of conducting many of our daily transactions digitally, the security of automated clearing house (ACH) transactions should not be taken for granted. After all, the management of business transactions, paychecks, electronic wires, and digital documents is a critical part of your business operations. With the wrong tools, your company’s financial status can quickly descend into chaos. You need to find ACH solutions that stand out from the crowd, and safeguard your systems with only the best.

For example, NatPay has been a leader in ACH and digital document distribution for 30 years. The company launched in 1991 with a goal to spearhead the efficiency of direct deposit for employee payroll. As technology developed, NatPay sprinted alongside it. In 2000, they launched the first electronic paystub, branded EZStub.

In 2007, they followed up with their software-as-a-service (SaaS) Doculivery suite of document service solutions. From e-invoicing to tax forms, paperless HR to online pay stubs, sending those important business documents has never been this efficient and secure.

NatPay is ready to prove that when it comes to ACH solutions and secure document distribution, some tools are stronger than others. With over 300,000 unique clients nationwide, NatPay is a solution you can trust to secure your payment processes, every step of the way.

Payroll Direct Deposit

What really makes an ACH provider stand out from the pack of possible solutions? Thinking through the little details, so that you don’t have to. NatPay offers a variety of payroll direct deposit solutions, so you can decide which best accommodates your business model and employees.

Not much is more important than taking care of your employees, and that means ensuring pay goes out on time and accurately. NatPay has simplified this process for you. Showcasing some of the leading technology in direct deposit, this ACH Direct Deposit Plus solution is a simple, web-based system that takes the struggle out of payment processing. NatPay integrates seamlessly with your payroll software, processes and schedules payments on time, every time, sets payday reminders for employees, and minimizes hidden direct deposit bank fees. You can even select from a number of payment options, like pay cards, to better accommodate staff needs!

ACH Distribution

Of course, your business ACH transactions won’t end with payroll. In addition to direct deposit for employees, those who pair with NatPay can expect other valuable ACH distribution tools like tax payments, expense reimbursements, vendor payments, and more. NatPay’s same-day ACH payment options expedite processes faster than the normal time frame. When you need to send funds quickly, this ensures that the process is easy and accessible. NatPay also adheres carefully to NACHA guidelines, so you can be sure all your payments are in regulatory compliance without concern.

ACH transactions expedite processing times; they also save you money. The cost of printing just one check averages around $1.30. Once you add the cost of envelopes and mailing, printed checks are not just outdated—they are costly! NatPay’s simple and easy-to-use electronic payments end up saving you in business operational expenses.

Online Pay Stubs and Tax Forms

While NatPay specializes in ACH solutions, they also offer secure document distribution and management services. Ensuring assets like pay stubs and tax forms are securely managed, easy to send, and accurate is a top priority for any HR department.

With NatPay, document management and distribution have never been easier. Online pay stubs are yet another way to let your employees know you care. Easy access to digital pay stubs whenever they need them—and email and text notifications about new pay stubs—make a world of difference.

You can also count on safety and security when it comes to the storage of these important documents. Robust encryption and the most up-to-date security software ensure that employees can access pay stubs quickly and efficiently without the stress of information falling into the wrong hands.

Plus your tax forms get the same security treatment as pay stubs! NatPay makes it easy to save time and money when it comes to tax time with Doculivery. Upload, process, and electronically add data to tax forms in a flash. In fact, you can automate your entire yearly tax process! Talk about taking the stress out of tax season.

ach solutions
Source: Shutterstock

Invoices, Statements, and Billing

The perks of Doculivery don’t end with pay stubs and taxes. NatPay’s services make going paperless a no-brainer with all aspects of your business operations.

The service simplifies invoicing, making it quick and easy to request payments and send online statements via secure email. This simplifies access to statements, reduces business mailing and shipping costs, and improves overall customer satisfaction.

Once invoices and statements have been received, NatPay extends the same easy-to-use solutions to billing processes as well. Click-to-Pay allows recipients to fulfill payments right away, via the same secure ACH system. All it takes (as the name implies) is the click of a button.

Lockbox expenses, printing, paper costs, and more—there are so many costs that come with paper billing. NatPay eliminates these costs by automating the process. As the world makes a wholesale shift to digital life, most vendors expect some sort of electronic payment option. With NatPay, you can count on quick, easy, and secure online payments that satisfy every customer and vendor.

ACH Solutions with NatPay

Next-level solutions and a passionate team of professionals have made NatPay a leader in the ACH processing industry. Businesses want tools that make operations simple, easy to use, and seamless. NatPay is here to deliver and has been for three decades.

NatPay builds payment solutions that can suit any business’s needs, no matter what sector. Serving clients ranging from retail to education, to healthcare, to government agencies, there’s an ACH solution ready for every industry. What are you waiting for?

Reach out to NatPay and level up your payment processes today!

Visit our White Paper Library to download this article: Buyers Beware: Not All ACH Solutions Are Created Equal

ACH Same-Day Payroll Processing: Show Me My Money!

ach payroll processing same day

Same-day payroll processing can elevate your business methods. Choosing a reliable ACH provider makes all the difference for your business’s reputation.

Once upon a time, direct deposit was just a nice-to-have bonus for employees. But now, it’s such a common practice, it’s nearly a requirement for businesses. With direct deposit as the norm for payroll processing now, your ACH provider partner is all the more important.

An unreliable payment method can mean delayed or inaccurate checks for employees—and mistakes like these damage relationships with employees, which hurts business reputations. Once a company has a bad reputation as an employer, it becomes more difficult to retain workers and attract new talent.

Choosing a responsible ACH provider can help avoid risks such as these and provide a quick, secure, and accessible payment method.

Simplifying Payroll Management

Paper-based management systems are wasteful and costly. Even as more and more processes go digital, many companies still operate with cumbersome and vulnerable paper bookkeeping. Aside from productivity slow-downs, paper also requires physical storage and creates landfill waste. The best way for companies to avoid payroll management hassle is to use ACH same-day payroll processing.

Same-day ACH payroll processing can make your business’s payroll management system more secure with quicker payments and electronic documentation. The instantaneous nature of payment also clamps down on the risk of fraud.

ACH processing also comes with the added benefit of online record-keeping, which allows you to access important information from any internet-ready location. Using a high-tech document management system like NatPay’s Doculivery allows you to keep meticulous records of these ACH transactions—it’s far more effective than a file cabinet.

Doculivery offers e-documentation for every part of the payment process. Whether it's W-2s and 1099s or electronic pay stubs and invoices, Doculivery provides digital forms for all your financial paperwork needs. A robust document managing system will streamline your payroll management more than ever imaginable.

ACH Same-Day Payroll Processing Is Convenient

Manual payroll processing offers so many opportunities for error. Businesses must worry about tax compliance, record-keeping compliance, data security, fraud prevention, and paying contractors, among other concerns. Keeping track of all these factors manually is time-consuming, and time is money, which means it cuts into your business’s profits. Same-day payroll automates much of this process to expedite payment.

This automation also saves your business the risk of fees and fines. Failure to pay federal payroll taxes on time often results in hefty penalties. The IRS will also hit your business with fees for tax-return errors, or if there’s a substantial understatement of the taxes owed. Automated payment processing removes human error from the equation, guaranteeing mistake-free payment. This means you can rest secure in the fact that your taxes are all in compliance with regulations and on time.

Employee Benefits from Same-Day Payroll Processing

While same-day payroll processing can help your business avoid financial penalties, it also bolsters productivity. Late payroll directly hurts employee morale—and when workers are disgruntled, productivity suffers.

Almost every state has laws in place to ensure workers get paid on a regular biweekly basis. Should an employee choose to take action, they have the right to file a claim against you, which could result in investigations and litigation—possibly even a forfeiture of their business license. And after all that, the business owner is still responsible for missing funds, fines, and penalties as well.

In addition to avoiding labor disputes and tax penalties, same-day pay can also help alleviate the financial strain workers are experiencing during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, direct deposit limits the number of physical transactions your employees must engage in—a health courtesy in the current climate. Employees benefit from expedient, hygienic compensation. And when your workers are happy, your business will see the benefits.

Expediting Same-Day Payroll Offers A Competitive Advantage

As digital payment software creeps into every part of our lives—think of the ubiquitous nature of apps like Zelle, Venmo, and PayPal—people have grown accustomed to digital payment methods as the norm. Accordingly, workers expect compensation as quickly and conveniently as possible. Any business that wants to stay competitive must consider same-day payroll.

same day payroll processing
Source: Shutterstock

Benefits like convenient, quick payroll processing are especially important in today’s market. The current labor-friendly job market (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job openings rate sat at 6.9% as of December 2021) puts workers in control. Businesses have to offer more robust perks to attract and retain talent in these conditions. Taking steps like converting to ACH same-day direct deposit signals that you care about your employees getting their money on time. This in turn builds your reputation as a good employer.

NatPay’s Payroll Processing Provides Efficiency and Convenience

The businesses that thrive are those that remain at the forefront of change. Digital payroll processing is here to stay and can save companies resources, build profit, and bolster reputation. Make the switch as soon as possible if you want to remain competitive in the labor market!

However, managing and executing a payroll system—even a digital one—can be a heavy lift. When establishing your digital payment system, rather than managing it yourself, turn to a reputable third-party expert for assistance.

NatPay has been a leader in the payment processing industry for 30 years now and continues to provide innovative payroll and document managing solutions for thousands of ACH clients. No need to stress about compliance, labor disputes, or complicated bookkeeping. NatPay’s digital solutions have you covered. Reach out to a representative and see how a digital conversion can elevate your business today.

Visit our White Paper Library to download this article: ACH Same-Day Payroll Processing: Show Me My Money!

Doculivery — Redefining Enterprise Document Delivery

document delivery

Electronic document delivery makes it easy, fast, and safe to store and share information online. Replace old paper data with NatPay’s Doculivery.

The average business spends approximately $20,000 per year on unnecessary document-related costs which can be easily avoided with online document management delivery.

And even as we transition to a digital world, the vast majority of businesses are still toiling with vulnerable and error-prone paper processes, with around 50% of a knowledge worker’s time spent on document preparation. But wait, it gets worse, and let’s not paper over the cracks—nearly a fifth of lost productivity at work occurs due to document management problems, which again, can readily be resolved by digitizing your document management system.

Automated document systems have become a key business requirement. These digital document delivery systems come with new security, collaboration, and analytics features, and can considerably ease the work of maintaining streamlined information processes for businesses. Document delivery systems decrease the costs associated with sending data such as invoices or statements, while increasing speed, security, and compliance.

Electronic document delivery makes for a cleaner, modern, and robust method to handle information. The need to transition to electronic document delivery has thus become undeniable. The migration from paper to digital can save businesses millions of dollars, while also increasing customer satisfaction rates.

As another advantage, a digital document solution makes audits a snap. These document management systems increase security not only for auditors but also for customer data. Storing sensitive information on paper exposes it to risks that digital tools can protect against, including theft.

In addition to all of the above advantages for your business, using an automatic document delivery system also decreases our burden on the planet. Replacing paper with electronic systems can prevent deforestation, as well as limit the amount of refuse in landfills. Digital tools also require less power generation than does paper production.

document delivery

The Problem with Paper-Based Document Management Systems

Consider all the important documents that constitute the essence of any business – financial reports, employee agreements, project contracts, and invoices are a few of these records that come to mind. Now think about how these vitally-important documents are managed. Are they stored in an unlocked filing cabinet? Are some on your desk right now? Do the documents have to be transported manually and signed by hand?

Paper-based document management systems have several disadvantages. But the main flaw is scant security. Threats that every paper-based document management system is vulnerable to.

Humans can make mistakes, a problem that becomes more pronounced when data is recorded on paper. And there’s one more thing that we imperfect beings are susceptible to – misplacing things. How many times have you lost valuable work time looking for a document that’s been misfiled or misplaced? Ever had so much as a drop of water spilled onto a document? It's likely that all information on the page will be rendered unreadable. In addition to being ruined by moisture or fire, ink absorbent paper slowly fades with time due to exposure and aging processes which make these documents even more difficult (if not impossible) to read in their original state after being stored in an archive system for years.

A digital repository replaces filing cabinets allowing users secure storage space while also providing easy retrieval capabilities. Further, employees may have more unauthorized access to papers than to secure digital documents.

Paper-based document management systems also slow down operations impacting productivity. And when employees need to print pages for their work, the business needs to pay not only for the paper, but also for ink or toner, printers, and other devices. These costs can quickly add up. Employees may overlook or fail to complete compliance tasks if they have to deal with those tasks manually. Digital document systems can automate much of this work, ensuring regulatory compliance.

It takes at least several minutes and several dollars to process an average document, even onsite. And that’s when things go right. Errors can be costly, and organizations can very well spend more time managing their documents than drawing value from them.

Laboring with a paper-based system sends the wrong signal to the public as potential customers see such businesses as being out of step with the times. Going paperless can save you time and money, while making your workers’ lives easier and increasing customer satisfaction and retention. It also gives you instant information on the progress of your data.

document delivery

Transitioning to Electronic Document Delivery

Transitioning from a physical document storage system to a powerful document management system has enormous benefits for society and businesses alike. The decrease in paper usage, thanks to digital tools that facilitate efficiency and profitability, are just a few ways these advancements can help to streamline business operations.

With efficient access no longer limited by physical limitations like availability or storage space, it is possible now to have critical information at your fingertips 24/7 without fear it will get lost due to any mishaps along the way – even if you're not around during work hours anymore.

Improved safety and efficiency in terms of accessing or sharing documents is just one example of how electronic systems have an edge over their hard copy counterparts. However, implementing this kind of change isn't always easy as some may think – especially considering the time commitment needed from employees on your team who need access rights across new platforms.

The process of preparing, scanning, and indexing documents into an electronic DMS will likely involve multiple employees. Certain manual aspects of this task may be best suited for a clerk or entry-level administrative employee while other more complex tasks might require input from higher-level employees. Assigning specific people to take ownership of this project ensures accountability which is crucial when undertaking a project of this magnitude.

In offices that deal with large volumes of documents, it may be more manageable to transition the critically important documents first and schedule later dates for the less-critical ones. Start off with a broad selection for electronic document management. This allows employees to get familiar with the new system, and help you stay organized while narrowing down which documents should go where. By focusing on a smaller set of records at first, employees can get better organized and find their own natural rhythm for doing tasks while using the new system.

The new electronic DMS is more than just a storage system for documents. It presents an opportunity to review and weed out those you don’t need. Managers may feel more comfortable handling certain document classification tasks personally. It’s important to dispose of these only after any necessary compliance period by using secure disposal methods. Managers may also want to provide input into naming conventions as well as tagging best practices.

Once you’ve determined which documents need to be cataloged and which will make up the first wave, you can turn over physical document preparation tasks. Assess document quality, repair damaged documents if possible, and separate documents by size, shape, and other characteristics to consider while scanning.

All this data will be stored in a system called the central location, which employees or managers can access to review documents on demand. Not too long ago, this was accomplished by hard disks with great volumes; however, thanks to technology and an increase in broadband Internet services, cloud-based solutions are now the preferred option.

A feature of online document management systems that traditional systems cannot compete with is collaboration. Not only can people send each other information instantly, but they can also work on the same document simultaneously. The system manages access, securely allocating privileges as necessary. This allows employees within an organization to work smarter together, as well as collaborate with external partners and even customers.

document delivery

Setting Up an Online Document Management System

The cloud storage system for document management systems is usually customized to meet the needs of each company. In any case, it's typical to allow restricted access through a user mechanism and password which can be additionally protected by security measures such as encryption or digital signatures; and even then, only certain users are granted permission.

Thanks to these systems, the deletion of files is practically impossible even if there's a cyber attack that eliminates information. If you encounter any issues, they are more easily resolved than with paper, as you have backups, traceability, and recovery tools.

During the planning stage of setting up an online document management system, consider the classification that you’ll want to use for documents. This may include categories appropriate for your work, along with processes that connect those documents. Also, consider which people in which organizations will be granted access to these documents. Storing metadata (data about data) for each document can render your data far more useful. You also may want to find any documentation activities to automate, as this can save considerable time. An online document management system comprises a secure database server, with encryption protocols for transmitting data. It also has to comply with regulatory requirements for payroll and taxes, among other legal functions. If you have specific document needs for compliance, you can customize an electronic document management system.

Version control tracks the different iterations of the document as people work on it. Using this feature in an online document management system enhances accountability while making data easier to manage. You also can use templates to facilitate the creation of consistent documents. These tools are adaptable to any organization’s needs and generally easy to use.

NatPay’s Doculivery is a high-tech, high-touch online document management service that incorporates a unique set of adaptable modular components that can be customized to meet your needs.

Automate Your Entire Document Management System with National Payment

An online document management system can save you time, money, and effort (and headaches). It eliminates the numerous hassles of managing paper documents, including errors and losses. Instead, you have a fast, safe, effective tool for enhancing your processes. Customers expect digital documents. Partnering with an industry leader like NatPay can help you to exceed those expectations with a robust system that can grow with your organization.

Doculivery consolidates data into a unique web-based tool accessible from any internet-ready location. Electronic documents are created and delivered in less time and at far less expense than traditional paper models. Doculivery's versatile design also allows system modifications designed to meet regulatory recordkeeping requirements.

From E-statements, E-bills, and electronic pay stubs to online W-2s, 1099 forms, and automated fillable forms, Doculivery manages it all securely, enabling users to quickly and easily produce documents required for audit, regulatory, and legal purposes.

NatPay is an innovator in the online document solutions industry with over 25 years of information distribution experience. Contact NatPay today and see why over 30,000 clients across the nation trust NatPay to manage their online document portfolio.

Visit our White Paper Library to download this article: Doculivery — Redefining Enterprise Document Delivery

Is Your Payment Processor Really Working for You?

payment processor

Your payment processor should be releasing immediate payments, answering your after-hour emergency queries, and taking care of ACH audits. Find out more here!

From managing accounting and taxes to internal treasury processes and budgets, payroll departments play a significant role in keeping almost every aspect of your company rolling forward. Considering the department's responsibility of paying wages and salaries correctly and on time, ensuring records are accurate, and adhering to federal compliance laws, it only makes sense that this job is performed by professionals you trust and can count on.

Since banks are involved in such a major part of the financial management process it only makes sense that they would offer such a service…or does it?

Banking ACH services sprouted as a convenience spin-off option for most banking institutions. Since they’re already part of the process, why not add an additional service of mild value to complete the process full-circle? Essentially, this would be like having your car washed and (since they’re already busy with your car), asking the washers to fix the engine as well. You simply won’t do this because those doing the washing are not mechanics.

Banks Own the Process, so Why Not…?

There is no one size fits all solution for any aspect of your business, and that holds true for banking as well. Clients often think that since banks are so close to the 'distribution lines' of the ACH network, their payroll and payment processing systems must be top-notch, but that's rarely the case.

Your bank specializes in loan processing, wealth management, and credit accounts. They aren’t professionals when it comes to managing your company’s payroll. In addition, with so many other functions they are unlikely to give your business the personal attention it needs to ensure no mistakes are made, compliance is accurate, and details are attended to.

Can you reach your bank at 1 a.m. on a Friday when a problematic payroll batch goes? You're answering the calls from your team, but who is answering your questions?

Third-party payment processors like NatPay work with one aspect of your business in payroll and payment execution. This permits having a direct relationship with multiple banking partners and payment processing to be streamlined, rather than hamstrung. As an example, most banks don’t offer one-day ACH processing. Instead, they sit on Tax Impound deposits for five business days.

This makes sense at first glance, as banks are inherently risk-averse and want to avoid being ‘on the hook’ for bad batching. On the other hand, the risks to your business in potential losses can be massive. Third-party processors like NatPay find a solution for this in pre-funding or wire transfers in advance of the batching to ensure your payments are remitted on your schedule and without concern for a potential NSF on a short turnaround.

Compliance Is on You

In 2017, new regulations were released that require annual NACHA audits. As a payroll processor yourself, you would have agreements with your customers. However, if you want to avoid the complexity of the annual audit, you need to submit your ACH/NACHA files to a third-party processor that also has an agreement with each of your clients.

security fraud protection

Since your bank (or any institution that claims to be part of a bank or bank division) has no agreement with your clients, they are not considered third-party processors by law and therefore you will still be required to complete the lengthy annual audit process yourself. With NatPay as your official third-party institution, they take care of the audits, meaning you don’t have to worry about excessive compliance procedures.

No institution you trust with your business finances should pass compliance issues down to you. Instead, they should be shielding you from them. A first-rate ACH third-party processor that adheres to all rules and regulations should provide you with peace of mind instead of adding stress by leaving you in a minefield of compliance navigation.

What About Fraud?

Nationwide, the Statistic Brain Research Institute recently reported that employee theft costs US companies some $50 billion annually and, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, payroll fraud alone accounts for 8.5% of all occupational fraud globally. Once you consider that upwards of 27% of businesses have experienced some form of payroll fraud, and that the average payroll fraud instance can cost upwards of $70,000, you can see why fraud protections become critically important for your business.

To combat this, you need to partner with a reputable ACH provider who is as committed to your business as you are. NatPay has decades of experience and knowledge under their belt to prioritize protecting your business. NatPay’s suite of fraud protection systems is constantly evolving and expanding to meet new threats, including high-dollar verification, pennies verification on new accounts, TIN matching for new customer accounts, and a physical review of all new payroll transactions.

NatPay – The Best Way to Pay

NatPay became the leader in the space of payroll execution and remittance by being the organization you can trust to be there for you, anytime. NatPay is as passionate about making your business function with maximum efficiency and success as you are.

NatPay's experience in payment execution comes from the willingness to go the extra mile. Having been in the business of payment remittance for decades, NatPay has grown with the industry to maximize our expertise when it comes to fraud controls and prevention, top-tier web portals, and report distribution tailored to your company's needs. The real key is that NatPay does one thing for your business, does it well, and seeks to find ways to constantly improve—not through new add-on services or additional fee structures tacked onto already owning your cashflow, but toward simplifying your life by taking full ownership of the function of your business you likely worry the most about—the relationships between you and the people and organizations you pay.

Get in touch with a NatPay expert today to schedule a free demo customized to your organization. With greater security, increased efficiency, reduced payment delays, improved tracking capabilities, accurate and immediate financial reports, NatPay's payroll solutions benefit your business in all of the areas where it matters most.

Visit our White Paper Library to download this article: Is Your Payment Processor Really Working for You?

Are Paper Checks Costing Your Business Time and Money?

paper checks

Ditching paper checks is not only a matter of curbing costly monetary fees, but also saves time and resources. Here's what you need to know.

With Federal Reserve studies showing a precipitous drop in paper check use from 42.6 billion transactions in 2000 to only 14.5 billion in 2018, it’s no surprise that there may be a coming generation that frowns at the mention of a paper check. An even more universally understood indicator: as paper checks become less common, Google has seen a dramatic increase in ‘how to write a paper check’ searches. Once a staple of commerce, paper is on its way out!

And yet, considering the public’s shift away from paper checks, one has to ask why businesses still hinge operations on paper checks. After all, every single check printed costs a business—which adds up quickly. Not to mention the labor costs, opportunities for error, and the environmental impact! One would think businesses would be clamoring for a better option.

Despite this, paper checks remain in use due to inertia, and their universal nature.

Paper checks leave a tangible paper trail, offering transparency, standardization, and methodical organization. Some businesses also hold onto the paper check system for payroll purposes and well-established accounting software. Changing up a payroll system may require some adjustment time and present a massive learning curve. However, companies that are hesitant to fully digitize their transactions are feeling the costs, and more than just financially.

As opposed to the cumbersome nature of paper, you can make online payments anywhere, at any time. Online payments are cheap and fast to administer. Automatic payments also reduce human error and intentional interference, decreasing the risk of fraud. Digital options integrate enhanced security measures, making them safer and allowing employees or vendors to receive payments near immediately.

Doing away with paper checks is not only a matter of saving on costly monetary fees, it will also save your business time and resources as well.

Paper Checks Are Not Cheap

Shockingly, Bank of America's estimated lowest average processing cost is $6 per paper check.

Similarly, the estimated cost for businesses mailing 500 checks is estimated at $235 on postage alone. Beyond the check paper, stamps, envelopes, and printing costs, one also needs to consider processing fees. Sorting, approval, bank reconciliation, maintenance fees, administration, stop payment fees, bouncer sheets fees, treasury management charges—these all cost businesses, per check. Adding up all these little expenses, these numbers suggest that companies processing up to 10,000 checks a month could easily be losing well over $1 million annually—just to sustain an outdated payment method!

Since paper checks are typically destroyed within 90 days of acceptance, they also have an incredible impact on the cycle of waste this type of business system creates. Trees, water, gases, and increasing landfills are a few of the many concerns when it comes to our fragile ecosystem.

More Than Just The Cost of Postage

Time is money, and as such, wasted time and labor spent writing and processing physical checks drains your profits. Paper check processing and labor requirements run exorbitantly higher than digital processing. And yet, many businesses stick with it because they can’t conceive of another way to preserve that all-important paper trail.

However, ditching paper checks does not mean you have to abandon payment tracking when it comes to payroll.

NatPay’s Doculivery solution offers a high-tech alternative to time-consuming and outdated storage and retrieval systems, collating and sorting payments automatically.

This means no searching endlessly through file cabinets to find what you want or worrying about misplaced documents. You can access what you need at the click of a button, thereby reducing storage costs, stationery costs, and precious time.

Online documents are accessible from anywhere, so working from a location other than the office is not a limiting factor. Electronic documents such as e-statements, bills, online W-2s, 1099 forms, and online click-to-pay forms are created and delivered in less time and at a much lower cost.

Other valuable features include automated fillable forms and report creation, secure storage, instant search functionality, and immediate access to annual tax and payroll documents for legal, audit, and regulatory purposes.

Fraudulent Paper Checks Could Result in Significant Losses

Paper checks are ripe for fraud and identity theft risks.

The American Bankers Association 2019 Deposit Account Fraud Survey determined that paper check fraud accounted for a whopping 47% of industry fraud losses in 2018! With vulnerability increasing alongside the number of times a paper check is handled, paper payments don’t offer a lot of security.

paper check cost the environment
Source: Shutterstock

NatPay’s Direct Deposit solution cuts out handling delays, offering a secure payroll process. NatPay also keeps documents safe utilizing SQL server redundancy, GeoTrust certificates, SSL encryption, and firewall protection to curtail exposure and avoid critical data loss.

Additionally, the Direct Deposit solution from NatPay includes a range of payment methods, including electronic pay stubs and employee payroll pay cards. These dynamic options drastically increase efficiency and employee engagement while taking an ax to administration and labor costs.

Environmental Impact of Using Checks

In the past 40 years, global paper use has increased by 400%, with the U.S. displaying the highest paper use—700 pounds of paper per person annually! It is no surprise then that the U.S. is also one of the world’s top three largest paper manufacturers.

Considering one needs 10 liters of water to produce a single A4 sheet, every bit of paper saved counts. Paper production also significantly contributes to deforestation and amasses 26% of landfills.

While saving the world is a group effort, slashing your paper usage can contribute mightily to the future of the planet.

Doculivery from NatPay can help your business make a seamless transition that won’t only benefit your bottom line but will benefit the Earth as well.

NatPay: The Alternative to Paper Checks

There is no need to keep answering questions like “When will paper checks be mailed?” or scrambling because an employee was out sick on check delivery day.

With greater security, increased efficiency, reduced payment delays, improved tracking, accurate and immediate financial reports, and significant savings, NatPay's Payroll Direct Deposit solution can support your business payroll across the board.

Reach out to a representative to find out more and see how your business can start saving today.

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Payment File Processing—What Are In NACHA Files?

nacha files

NACHA files provide a convenient method for batch payment execution. All methods of electronic remittance have their own rules, standards, and regulations.

What if you could eradicate all the tedious remittance processes and pay all of your vendors with a single touch?

With new and innovative systems eliminating traditional remittance processes, and technology enabling smarter, faster, and more secure payments, this is exactly what mass payment does. Instead of manually entering the ACH payments in your bank's interface, you can generate a standard NACHA file that can be uploaded to your ACH Provider, allowing businesses to create a single digital file that automatically goes where each vendor needs it to go.

When a business wants to pay all of its suppliers at the same time, it needs to be done through a batch payment system, through a portal, or API. First, you must create and upload a payment file so the bank can direct payments to the right recipients. These digital files can vary between long lengths of code and specific formatting and largely depend on whether a business is using an ACH API, mass payment platform, bank portal, or a digital payment solution.

In this article, we will unpack the NACHA file format for the National Automated Clearing House Association or (NACHA)—a central hub that facilitates the exchange of payments by banks, financial institutions, and businesses in the US, and how they are used to execute domestic Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments securely.

What Are NACHA Files?

NACHA files are a common type of payment file and one of the fastest and safest ways for a business to pay vendors without using checks or a credit card. These payments are made through ACH, the network that NACHA has developed for use by all the players in the payments industry.

NACHA files are electronic files with ASCII text lines, similar in a way to the words you are reading now, but different in that each byte in the file contains one character that conforms to the standard ASCII code. This specific formatting allows the electronic file to be read properly and securely to trigger a batch of ACH payments when uploaded to an ACH portal.

Each line is 94 characters long and serves as a record to execute domestic ACH payments, and while the details of the file format can vary between various financial institutions or banks, there are a number of Standard Entry Class Codes (SEC codes) that relate to ACH payment files.

The files themselves are formatted in a digital envelope and contains important payment instructions, such as:

File Header

Basic information about NACHA files: Who the payer is, which bank is handling the transaction.

Batch Header

Specific information about the payment: Standard entry class, description of payments, and effective date.

Detailed Transaction Record

Payment details, information about the payee (banking information), and the amount to be paid.

Batch Control Total

Total included in each batch.

File Control Record

Final check on the payment batch. It includes counts for each type of entry.


An optional record that sometimes accompanies NACHA files, mainly for corporate-to-corporate transactions.

What Are the Rules for NACHA Files?

The ACH network processed 7.3 billion payments worth a staggering $18.4 trillion in the second quarter of 2021, and when one participant doesn't comply with the rules, it compromises everyone. It's essential that everyone using the network—consumers, businesses, credit unions, banks of all sizes, and government entities—have well-defined roles and responsibilities for every ACH transfer. If someone doesn't comply, everyone along the chain is at risk.

Security is paramount and NACHA rules govern every ACH payment, rigorously enforcing these regulations through a system of warnings and fines. If a violation is not corrected accurately and timeously, it can result in censures and potentially crippling fines until the issue is resolved. Persistent rulebreakers may even face suspension.

A rules enforcement proceeding may be triggered when an ACH rule violation is filed against a participating financial institution by another entity; one of the two ACH Operators; or by NACHA itself. If an issue is left unresolved, warnings can turn into huge penalties.

Participants who do not resolve their rule violation within a year period or have a recurrence of the same violation could face a Class 1 Rule Violation with up to a $1,000 fine. If it happens again, the penalty could be raised to $2,500. A third violation will result in a fine of up to $5,000.

NACHA’s enforcement rule became effective on January 1, 2021, and the Reversals rule became effective on June 30, 2021.

If an issue is considered serious enough to qualify as a Class 2 Violation, the ACH Rules Enforcement Panel–comprising industry representatives–may impose a penalty of up to $100,000 per month until the issue is resolved. If a Class 2 Rule Violation remains unresolved for three consecutive months, the fine can be raised to $500,000 per month until resolved.

For Class 3 violations, NACHA has the authority to report it to the ACH Operators, federal and state banking officials, consumer protection authorities, and other appropriate regulators and agencies. A suspension can only be lifted by the ACH Rules Enforcement Panel or by an Appeals Panel comprising at least three individuals selected by NACHA from a list of arbitrators.

Updated NACHA Rules are released every year and new rules can sometimes be missed. It’s thus critical that everyone in the ACH payment chain keep up with the rule and industry changes and ensure strict adherence to these amendments.

Why Use NACHA Files?

The ACH Network is the backbone of the US financial system. Which enables billions of electronic financial transactions including:

  • Direct deposits
  • Social Security and government benefits statements
  • Electronic bill payments
  • Person-to-person (P2P)
  • business-to-business (B2B) payments

Additionally, the military was one of the first entities to tap into the ACH Network to pay salaries via Direct Deposit.

Many consumers, while perhaps unaware of ACH, are familiar with electronic bank transfers, electronic funds transfers, and similar terms using it to pay mortgages, college tuition, and to receive their salaries or tax refunds. Similarly, businesses use the ACH Network to pay bills and employees.

ACH is the primary vehicle for B2B and mass payments because of the fast delivery, low fees, and overall reliability. The ACH network is cheaper than other methods because payments are processed in batches, rather than individually and because the process is automated, a business need not worry about making or receiving payment on time each month. Money can be instantly drawn or sent with the appropriate timings in place.

NACHA has pioneered many innovations in the financial industry and been instrumental in the development and standardization of such innovations as direct payroll deposit, electronic benefits deposit, and automated credit card transactions. In 2019, Nacha unveiled the Faster Payments Playbook, an online platform that aims to help banks and credit unions develop a faster payments strategy.

NACHA files provide a detailed format and set of instructions to make sure ACH payments, whether once-off or recurring, are executed securely and on time.

How to Create NACHA Files

NACHA files are difficult to code due to the way they are formatted.

To attempt to make life easier, some bank portals have automated parts of the NACHA process that simplify the formatting. In some cases, accounting software will generate the NACHA formatted file for you. NACHA files, though, can be created using different methods, depending on the accounting system you are using. As an example, Premier ACH is software that many banks use to convert a NACHA file from an Excel file. It enables a dedicated treasury expert to enter all the data required for an ACH transaction and creates a formatted NACHA file. An Excel file can be exported from common accounting programs like QuickBooks or Sage.

The steps to format Excel files into NACHA files are as follows:

  1. Identify objects and relationships
  2. Create class modules
  3. Write code to fill classes
  4. Write code to create an XML file
  5. Augment class modules until it compiles

To better understand coding custom NACHA files from Excel, check out this in-depth tutorial.

The Pains of Creating Your Own NACHA Files

Third-party payment processors that work without the need for extra software, specialized tools, or dedicated internal teams enable a business to hand off the creation of NACHA formatted files and execute payments through a clean upload from your accounting systems to your payment processor—skipping the expensive requirements and shifting standards.

In 2016, for example, NACHA announced its preferred partner program for creating ACH files. It specifically mentioned Treasury Software as the best tool for converting files into the NACHA format. NACHA said it chose Treasury Software because its ACH Universal platform is installed at the client's location, “enabling full integration and automation with popular packages such as QuickBooks, Excel, and Microsoft SQL Server.”

If all this—regulations, compliance with clearing house rules, unusual file formats, and compiled modules—sounds a little complicated to you, you’re not alone. Businesses are spending cumulative billions on complicated remittances and losing time and money in the process when trying to tackle the world of payment execution on their own.

NatPay—Simply a Better Way To Pay

If you’re still using outdated remittance processes and paying your vendors with checks (or even formatting and building NACHA files yourself for batching through your bank)—it’s time to switch over to ACH payments and pay all of your vendors at one time and on time with a dedicated third-party processor.

Employees can get their salary, wages, and reimbursements directly into their bank accounts, even when working remotely. Consumers are able to pay utilities, insurance, cable and internet, mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and more online using ACH Payments. All this is possible with a single NACHA file.

So whether for consumers, businesses, or government agencies, NatPay processes all types of transfers with the highest level of ACH payment security. When it comes to payments, we know there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why NatPay offers a variety of customized ACH payment solutions for B2B and P2P transactions, with our team working with you every step of the way.

You can count on NatPay to handle everything from remittance reports and data integrity checks to end-of-day processing in full compliance with NACHA guidelines, ensuring all along the payment chain are protected. You save time by handling all transfers at once instead of going through multiple steps.

Contact NatPay today for a free demonstration of our ACH and online document distribution solutions.

Visit our White Paper Library to download this article: Payment File Processing—What Are In NACHA Files?

New 2022 NACHA Compliance Regulations: What You Need To Know

nacha compliance regulations 2022

Understanding the updates to NACHA compliance regulations for 2022 is critical for any payment processor. Find out what's new and what you need to update. This guide outlines the major 2021 changes in NACHA compliance regulations and offers insight into what can be expected for 2022.

Considering how the automated clearing house (ACH) network facilitates billions of annual business and government payment transactions, some sort of governing structure is necessary. Meet NACHA.

The National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) represents almost 11,000 financial institutions. As such, when it comes to ACH regulation, every business that processes payments needs to pay close attention to NACHA edicts. To continually improve payment safety and reduce fraud, NACHA regularly updates regulations for safe data and financial processing. However, the association does not directly involve itself in individual ACH transactions. NACHA sets compliance standards; it is up to businesses to adhere to them—or pay a penalty.

As per usual, annual updates to NACHA’s security guidelines have been approved to address fraud. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s itinerant economic complications, the organization delayed enforcement until March 19, 2022.

The delayed kick-in offers companies that are working towards compliance additional time to implement the required solutions. Take a look at some of the major upcoming compliance regulation changes, so that you are prepared for 2022.

A Quick 2021 NACHA Recap

March 2021: NACHA implemented a new same-day ACH processing window, enabling originating depository financial institutions (ODFIs) and their clients to conduct same-day transactions for an additional two hours every day. At the same time, NACHA implemented additional rules integrating account validation into their enhanced fraud detection standards for web debits.

June 2021: NACHA limited the length of time a receiving depository financial institution can claim the ODFI’s authorization warranty. Previously this timeframe depended on varying state regulations and could last as long as ten years. The new limitation on warranty claims specifies a one-year deadline from the settlement date of entry for non-consumer accounts. Consumer account entries now have a two-year limit. Receiving depository financial institutions (RDFIs) may also claim entries settling within 95 days from the first unauthorized debit to a consumer account.

NACHA also tightened regulations and implemented new formatting requirements regarding reversals. New regulations do not permit entry or file reversals for any reason other than those explicitly stipulated in NACHA rules.

September 2021: The association made amendments aimed at increasing ACH process clarity, adding clear definitions and consistency around authorization. The September amendments also reduced administrative proof-of-authorization burdens and better implemented electronic and oral authorization, including means such as Alexa, Skype, or Facetime.

Same-Day ACH Dollar Limit Increase In 2022

The last time NACHA increased the same-day ACH dollar limit (in March 2020) showed a drastic impact on transactions. In fact, same-day ACH payments increased 46% in the first two months. And over 2020 as a whole, the total same-day dollar volume rose by 86%.

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Source: Shutterstock

On March 18, 2022, this rule will change again, increasing same-day ACH dollar limits to $1 million per payment for all consumer, business, credit, and debit payments.

NACHA anticipates that this increase will improve B2B same-day ACH payments, as well as tax payments, merchant settlements, insurance claim outflows, and payroll funding. It will also improve business continuity in recovering from outages and missed deadlines.

Supplementary Data Requirements—Phase 2

ACH data protection regulations require large third-party senders and service providers (as well as all non-financial institution originators) to keep electronically-stored account information in an unreadable format.

data security and nacha
Source: Shutterstock

The existing Phase 1 framework already requires compliance from parties with an annual ACH volume of 6 million or more transactions. The second phase, applicable beginning June 30, 2022, lowers the threshold to organizations with 2 million or more annual transactions.

The supplementing data security requirements expand the existing framework, rather than replacing it wholesale. This means affected institutions are (or should be) familiar with the basic requirements already. Regulations are open to various methods of meeting the requirements to render electronic data unreadable, including encryption, tokenization, and truncation, among other technologies. As the implementation date nears, ODFIs need to inform originators, third-party senders, and service providers of their compliance.

Third-Party Sender (TPS): Roles and Responsibilities

Two new rules regarding third-party senders (TPS) come into effect on September 30, 2022. These aim to clarify TPS roles, accountabilities, and risk assessment requirements (including nested third-party sender—NTPS—relationships) in the ACH network.

The new regulations classify NTPS as a TPS that has an agreement with another third-party sender, and not with the ODFI. NACHA’s new regulations clearly define the agreements and obligations of all parties involved in NTPS relationships and update existing registration compliance.

Rules also require an ODFI origination agreement with a TPS to address whether they can have nested third-party senders. If so, an additional origination agreement between the TPS and NTPS is required. ODFIs must now identify all third-party senders that allow NTPS relationships and provide NACHA with the required documentation. Registration time frames apply.

The second part of the new regulations requires third-party senders, whether nested or not, to complete a risk assessment of ACH activities and implement risk management protocols accordingly. New 2022 measures also indicate that a TPS cannot rely on a rules compliance audit or a risk assessment completed by another TPS. It must administer its own.

NatPay: A Leading NACHA Compliance Partner

Founded in 1991, NatPay is a leader in the third-party payment processing industry. NatPay now processes over $115 billion annually, for over 228,000 ACH clients, and is insured through three major insurance carriers. By pairing with NatPay as your third-party institution, you can be certain your transactions are NACHA-compliant.

With decades of experience protecting businesses, NatPay’s suite of fraud protection systems is continuously evolving to meet the new threats and demands of the digital shift. NatPay's solutions benefit your business in all the areas that matter most.

Get in touch with a team member today to schedule a free demo customized to your organization.

Visit our White Paper Library to download this article: New 2022 NACHA Compliance Regulations: What You Need To Know