New NACHA Survey Shows Adoption and Awareness of Direct Deposit via ACH Continues to Build

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The electronic deposit of payroll yields important benefits to employees, their employers, and financial institutions

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With the advent of new capabilities like Same Day ACH to better support hourly and part-time workers, financial institutions, employers and payroll providers will have new opportunities to encourage adoption and use of Direct Deposit via ACH.

A full 82 percent of U.S. workers ─ crossing age, income and other demographic categories ─ are paid by Direct Deposit via ACH, up from 74 percent in 2011. Awareness is also strong, with 79 percent of consumers who do not use Direct Deposit via ACH reporting familiarity with the service, according to the results of a new survey conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research on behalf of NACHA—The Electronic Payments Association® and America Saves, a campaign managed by the Consumer Federation of America.

Employees are highly satisfied with Direct Deposit via ACH (87 percent), which provides for the electronic deposit of payroll. They also believe it to be safe and secure (83 percent versus 52 percent of employees paid by check), that it helps them better control their finances (72 percent versus 54 percent), and that it helps them pay their bills on time (73 percent versus 46 percent).

The survey’s resulting white paper, “Beyond Simple and Safe: Opportunities to Expand the Use of Direct Deposit via ACH for Payroll,” also details the top reasons employees use Direct Deposit via ACH, including faster access to pay (53 percent), which is also cited as an advantage by younger Generation Y (60 percent) and part-time employees (51 percent); no cost (47 percent); and it eliminates the risk of losing a paper check (38 percent).

“Direct Deposit via ACH is widely used and well-entrenched in the nation’s consciousness. Consumers trust the electronic deposit of their payroll because it is a fast, safe and secure method to receive their pay and it helps them to better control their finances with timely and predictable availability of funds,” said Janet O. Estep, president and CEO of NACHA. “With the advent of new capabilities like Same Day ACH to better support hourly and part-time workers, financial institutions, employers and payroll providers will have new opportunities to encourage adoption and use of Direct Deposit via ACH.”

Yet even with the steady increase in Direct Deposit via ACH usage through the years, there is still room for more growth. The 18 percent of employed U.S. consumers who are not paid by Direct Deposit via ACH can be readily identified within three key population segments: younger Generation Y (Gen Y.1 who are ages 18 to 24), lower-income workers (with household income under $50,000 per year), and part-time workers.

“It’s good for the consumer and it’s good for society if we can introduce young Americans to Direct Deposit via ACH starting with their first paycheck,” said Mark Schwanhausser, director, omnichannel financial services, for Javelin. “The biggest obstacles are the availability of Direct Deposit and misconceptions about the benefits. Employers and financial institutions are critical to bridging this gap – and they will see significant benefits as a result.”

Of consumers who use or are aware of Direct Deposit via ACH, 21 percent indicate that they first learned of the option from their bank or credit union. Further, Direct Deposit via ACH users expressed higher satisfaction with their financial institutions where their pay is deposited than nonusers, awarding an average of nine out of 10 points.

Meanwhile, 64 percent of Direct Deposit via ACH users utilize the service because their employer encourages or requires it. Conversely, 37 percent of employees who do not use Direct Deposit report that their employers do not offer the option. Additionally, consumers paid by check, cash or other means have somewhat less satisfaction with their employers’ payroll options, giving them an average rating of six out of 10 points.

“Financial institutions and employers play a vital role in encouraging usage and facilitating enrollment in Direct Deposit via ACH,” said George Barany, director of financial education for America Saves, a national campaign managed by the Consumer Federation of America. “We strongly encourage employers across industry sectors to engage with their employees, and for banks and credit unions to work with their consumer customers and their large and small business customers to better inform them about the value of Direct Deposit via ACH.”

Barany and Schwanhausser, along with Wanda Rogers, Deputy Commissioner, Financial Services and Operations, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service, are featured speakers on the Direct Deposit via ACH survey results session, “Moving the Direct Deposit Holdouts” at the PAYMENTS 2016 conference that is being held now through April 20 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. To learn more about PAYMENTS 2016, visit payments.nacha.org.

To download a copy of the “Beyond Simple and Safe: Opportunities to Expand the Use of Direct Deposit via ACH for Payroll” white paper, visit http://www.nacha.org. NACHA also details the survey findings in a new infographic that captures the sentiments of consumers who use Direct Deposit via ACH and identifies the holdouts. For more information, tools and resources on Direct Deposit via ACH, please visit electronicpayments.org.

About the 2015 Direct Deposit Survey
The 2015 Direct Deposit Survey was conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research on behalf of NACHA—The Electronic Payments Association® and America Saves, a campaign managed by the Consumer Federation of America. The online survey, conducted in August 2015, queried more than 2,000 consumers and specifically targeted the Generation Y (18-34 years old) population and the segment of consumers aged 35 years and older. Survey participants were required to be employed on either a full- or part-time basis, providing them an opportunity to receive Direct Deposit via ACH.

NACHA—The Electronic Payments Association
Since 1974, NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association has served as trustee of the ACH Network, managing the development, administration and rules for the payment network that universally connects all 12,000 financial institutions in the U.S. The Network moves money and information directly from one bank account to another. Through its collaborative, self-governing model, education, and inclusive engagement of ACH Network participants, NACHA facilitates the expansion and diversification of electronic payments, supporting Direct Deposit and Direct Payment via ACH transactions, including ACH credit and debit payments, recurring and one-time payments; government, consumer and business transactions; international payments, and payments plus payment-related information. Through NACHA’s expertise and leadership, the ACH Network is now one of the largest, safest, and most reliable systems in the world, creating value and enabling innovation for all participants. Visit nacha.org for more information.

America Saves
America Saves, a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America, uses the principles of behavioral economics and social marketing to motivate, encourage and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. America Saves encourages individuals and families to take the America Saves pledge and organizations to promote savings year-round and during America Saves Week. Learn more at americasaves.org and americasavesweek.org. The Consumer Federation of America is a nonprofit association of more than 270 consumer groups that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy and education.

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Kendra Beasley
NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association
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