A hand extending from two laptops exchanging money for a bag.

eCheck Processing Times: Why They’re Fast and Safe

Quick and easy to use, electronic payments were rising in popularity before COVID. But in today’s post-pandemic world, Americans are abandoning cash and paper checks almost entirely. In 2021, more than 82% of Americans used digital payments to pay for transactions. Processing electronic payments is no longer a luxury but a necessity for business survival.

And this is why more than 93% of businesses accept credit cards. Although convenient for customers, credit card processing fees can devour business profits. Many merchants are exploring eChecks as a way to cut down their processing costs. In this post, we’ll describe what eChecks are, discuss eCheck processing times, and explain why they’re safe and fast.

What are eChecks?

If you’ve ever handled paper checks, you know what a dread they are to process. From writing and posting them to the weeks-long wait for them to arrive by mail, paper checks waste both the sender and recipient’s time. By taking the whole process online, eChecks have modernized the way we send and receive checks.

eChecks or electronic checks are the digital forms of old-school paper checks. Instead of ordering checkbooks from your bank, you sign up for an account with an electronic check processor to accept and send eChecks. eChecks are processed over secured online payment networks, making them faster, safer, and more convenient to use than physical checks.

Are eChecks Safe?

A young man wearing glasses and a black hoodie working on a laptop

Before we discuss eCheck processing times, you probably want to know how safe it is to process digital checks. Since paper check fraud is so rampant, it’s reasonable to ask if eChecks are a secure form of payment for your business. While eChecks are generally safer than paper checks, the safety of eCheck payments depends on your processor’s cybersecurity measures.

Seamless Chex employs multiple layers of security to make eCheck processing as safe as possible. We use account ownership authentication, balance verification, and signature capture technology to minimize the risk of check fraud. Our payment gateway encrypts eCheck data before transmitting it to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.

How Does eCheck Processing Work?

To learn about eCheck processing times, you must understand how eChecks are processed. Unlike paper checks that are sent in the mail and then physically/remotely deposited, eChecks are processed over the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. The ACH is an American financial system that processes electronic funds transfers within the United States.

In general, there are four stages to eCheck processing. Here’s what happens when you send an eCheck payment:

Authorization

Before any eCheck payment can proceed, the payer must authorize the transaction. After entering their checking account and bank routing numbers, customers can authorize the eCheck in several ways. Providing a digital signature, recording verbal consent over the phone, or even clicking on the eCheck’s submit button can authorize the payment.

Processing

Once the eCheck payment has been authorized, the payee sends the transaction request to their payment processor. Your processor will debit the customer’s account with the amount to be paid. It will then send the payment file to the ACH network so it can be delivered to relevant parties in the transaction.

Verification

This stage has the most impact on eCheck processing times. When the payment file enters the ACH network, your processor will communicate with the originating and receiving bank to verify transaction details. During the verification procedure, the processor will authenticate account information and funds availability before transferring the money into the payee’s account.

Settlement

If nothing goes wrong during the verification process, the transaction will clear. Funds are transferred from the payer’s account and deposited into the payee’s account. Both parties in the transaction will receive confirmation of payment either via email or a digital receipt. And with this final step, the eCheck transaction is complete.

How Long Does eCheck Processing Take?

A black clock placed on top of spread out 100 dollar bills

You’re probably now wondering what is the eCheck processing time for the four steps we discussed above. Unlike wire transfers that send funds in real-time, the ACH system processes payments in bulk. This batch processing model can slow down the delivery of funds, so sending an eCheck can take anywhere from one to five business days to clear.

There are ways to speed up eCheck processing time. Since much of this time is spent on verifying transaction data, working with a processor that offers upfront verification of payment details can make this process more efficient. Seamless Chex provides real-time account ownership and bank balance verification to reduce processing time to just one business day.

Sign Up for Fast and Safe eCheck Processing

Credit card processing gives customers convenience but it can be a drain on your finances. With transaction fees starting at just 1%, eChecks offer the ease of credit card payments while improving your profit margins. With advanced payment security, eChecks are not only more cost-effective but can also be safer than credit cards to process.

If you’re looking for a secure eCheck with a fast processing time, Seamless Chex offers just what you need. With our cutting-edge verification and payment security technologies, we offer the fastest and safest eChecks you can find. Sign up for a free trial to try our eChecks for yourself. If you have any questions about sending eChecks, contact us so we can help.

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