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Automatic Clearing House (ACH)

About Direct Deposit

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), which includes Automated Clearing House (ACH), is an electronic payment option for vendors. Vendors can enroll in the State's ACH program and receive payments electronically. This payment option is also available to recipients of state programs.
 
Once enrolled in the ACH program vendors submit an invoice for payment as specified in the Contract, Agreement, or Purchase Order. Upon payment approval, the State Agency enters a voucher in the Statewide Financial Management Application (SFMA). SFMA sends ACH payment instructions to the State Treasury, which sends payment instructions to the State's bank. The State's bank forwards these instructions to the ACH of the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco.  The Federal Reserve Bank coordinates the transfer of money to the payee's financial institution. On the settlement day, a credit posts to the payee’s account.
 
Total transit time from agency authorization to deposit in the payee's account is two banking days.  If the payee's account is closed or incorrectly identified,  the funds are returned through the ACH network to the State Treasury’s bank. If this happens, a warrant prints and is mailed to the payee.

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Forms and Brochures

Automated Clearing House (ACH) Brochure    (pdf)    
Direct Deposit (ACH) Authorization Form        (pdf)    (docx)

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FAQ - Administrative

Who do I call when I have questions about my payment?
If you have questions concerning the amount paid or any of the payment details, contact the agency that made the payment.  If you have questions regarding the electronic transmission of payments to your account, contact the ACH Coordinator.

What is the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network?
The ACH Network is a highly reliable and efficient nationwide electronic funds transfer system organized by the US Treasury under Federal law (31 C.F.R. Part 210, et al.).  It is managed by the operating rules and guidelines of the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA). The ACH network provides for the interbank clearing of electronic debits and credits for participating depository financial institutions. The Federal Reserve System and a score of private organizations operate central clearing facilities through which participating financial institutions transmit or receive ACH entries. The US Government is the largest user of the ACH system.  Virtually every bank and credit union in the country is capable of sending and receiving ACH payments. Examples of ACH debit and credit payments include:
  • Direct Deposit of payroll, pension, Social Security, and other government benefits,
  • Federal, state and local tax refunds and payments,
  • Direct Payment of mortgages, installment loans, and insurance premiums,
  • Business-to-business payments,
  • Preauthorized bill payment where the amount varies such as utility bills, and 
  • E-commerce payments (initiated by customer via telephone or Internet).
Please contact NACHA for further information about the ACH network and the membership organization.


How long from the time the payment is approved until it is in my account?
Once banking information has completed the pre-note process in SFMA, the transit time for a payment is two banking days.

What if my account is closed before the deposit comes in?
If your account is closed, the funds return through the ACH network to the State Treasury and credit the agency’s account. When this happens, a warrant is mailed to the payee. This delays the payee's receipt of the payment by a week or more.


What is the difference between a check and a warrant?
A check is a demand draft that is due immediately upon presentation for payment. A warrant is a promise to pay and is due only if cash is available at the time of presentation.


What are the benefits of electronic payments?
Some of the benefits of electronic payments include:
  • Savings in the cost of checks or warrants, postage, and envelopes,
  • Increases workplace efficiency,
  • Increases security and reduction of errors,
  • Eliminates lost/stolen checks or warrants,
  • Improves cash flow for vendors,
  • Improves timing and certainty of payment, and
  • Acknowledged receipt.

How reliable and safe are electronic payments?
Electronic payments are safer than warrants. They eliminate the following issues:
  • Forged checks or warrants,
  • Lost-in-transit checks or warrants,
  • Stolen checks or warrants, and 
  • Stop Pay/cancel checks or warrant requests.


Is access to the Remittance Advice site available 24/7?
The Remittance Advice data base is available 24/7 except for once a month when maintenance is done on the system. If you try to access the data base then, you will receive a message telling you it is down for maintenance. Maintenance usually lasts 90 minutes.

How often is my data updated?
The site is updated by 8 a.m. each day.

What is a Remittance Advice?
When the State makes a payment by warrant, a tear-off section is attached to the payment. This tear-off section is called a remittance advice. It contains a simple explanation of the reasons for the payment, including invoice numbers and transaction line item descriptions. For ACH payments made through SFMA, the remittance advice data is available online at https://pmtinfo.das.state.or.us.

For simple one-line transactions, some or all of this payment information will show up on your monthly bank statement. When several payments combine, your bank statement will display the following: “See https://pmtinfo.das.state.or.us for payment details.”
 

Click on the links below to see what the electronic remittance advice web site displays:

Payments sorted by Deposit Date (jpeg)

Payments sorted by Invoice Number (jpeg)

How will I know when a payment is made?
When a payment processes, an email message is sent to the payee. That message is similar to the one shown below:
 
A payment order from the State of Oregon has been sent to your financial institution for credit to your account in two banking days. If payment is not received please contact the State Controller’s Division at (503) 373-0261, or send an email to: ACH Coordinator.
 

Additional information about this payment

 
Example:
Employment Department (503) 947-1445
PAYMENT NUMBER: 950000726
 
When you receive the email message you can login to the Payment Information Center and verify the intended settlement date of the payment.

What happens if I close my bank account and forget to tell the ACH Coordinator?
If a payment order is sent through the ACH network but not accepted by your financial institution, it will be returned to the State Treasury. The paying Agency recieves notification that this has occurred and a warrant will be mailed to you at the address provided on the Direct Deposit Authorization Form. Late charges are not added to the payment since the delay was beyond the State’s control. All subsequent payments are mailed to that same address. To reinstate ACH payment service, you must send a new Direct Deposit Authorization Form to the ACH Coordinator with your new banking information.

What does the term 'settlement' mean?
Settlement occurs when the acquiring bank and the issuing bank exchange funds. Normally, the transaction posts to your account early on the morning of the Settlement Day. Settlements for ACH payments from the State of Oregon are coordinated through the Oregon State Treasury and the US Treasury's Federal Reserve Banking System.

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FAQ - Technical

Is access to the Remittance Advice site available 24/7?
Consistent with information provided in the previous section, the Remittance Advice data base is available 24/7 except for once a month during maintenance. If you try to access the data base then, you will receive a message telling you it is down for maintenance. Maintenance usually lasts 90 minutes.

Am I required to put a UserID on the Authorization Form? Can the UserID be any word?
The UserID is only required if you want access to the Payment Information Center.

To be valid, a UserID must be seven or eight characters in length. It may contain letters and/or numbers.

Please note that the UserID "baker123" is not the same as "Baker123" because "b" is not the same as "B". If you are having trouble logging on the web site, check to see if you are using the same combination of upper and lower case letters as what you initially put on the Authorization Form. Check the Caps Lock key. If this does not help, contact the ACH Coordinator for further assistance.

What browsers are best for viewing and printing Remittance Advice data?
The Remittance Advice data base was developed for Internet Explorer 5.0 with 1/2" margins for printing. Netscape 4.5 works well. It will not work with Internet Explorer 4 or earlier versions. Other browsers were not tested.
 

How can I get my Remittance Advice data to print all the data on the page?
To get the Remittance Advice data to print well on the page you must change the printing orientation to Landscape.
 

How can I print just one date's worth of data from the Remittance Advice?
If you are using Internet Explorer, highlight the data you wish to print, click File, Print… and then click the button beside Selection. The area that you select will then print.

If you are not using Internet Explorer, you can highlight the data, click Edit, Copy and then paste the selection into a word processing document to print.
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Glossary of Terms

ACH (Automated Clearing House)  – a central distribution and settlement point for clearing the electronic credit and debit transactions between financial institutions.

ACH payment – a payment made to a payee by way of direct deposit to the payee's bank account as an alternative to issuing a warrant.

Addendum Record – an ACH record type that carries supplemental data needed to provide information concerning an ACH payment.

Banking Day – any day on which financial institutions are open for business with the public.

Credit Entry – an electronic funds transfer that the State initiates to deposit funds into an EFT account.

Debit Entry – a reversal of a credit entry.

NACHA – National Automated Clearing House Association – sets the operating rules and procedures for users of the ACH direct deposit system.

Payee – an individual, entity or state employee that receives a payment from the State of Oregon.

Paying State Agency – The State agency that initiates a payment.

Prenote Record – a $0.00 test transmittal of each payee's direct deposit information. Prenotes are sent for setups, changes of bank information or activation of vendor profiles.

R*STARS – Relational Statewide Accounting and Reporting System. R*STARS is part of the Statewide Financial Management Application (SFMA).

Rules – the requirements of the National Automated Clearing House Association and Federal Reserve System's Regulation E.

SCD – State Controller's Division.

Settlement Date – the date the payee's financial institution credits the payee's individual account.

State – the State of Oregon.

State Agency – any entity in the Executive, Legislative, or Judicial branch of state government.


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International ACH Transactions

New processing requirements went into effect September 18, 2009, for electronic vendor payments that are being sent to a financial institution outside of the United States. These requirements are a recent amendment to the Electronic Payments Association (NACHA) ACH Operating Rules and referred to as the International ACH Transactions rules. If our payments to you are being forwarded from a U.S. financial institution to a financial institution in another country, please advise the ACH Coordinator at ACH.Coordinator@oregon.gov.

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Is ACH/Direct Deposit for You?

The Automated Clearing House (ACH) project is for state employees who travel frequently, payments to vendors for goods and services the State purchases, and recipients of state programs who wish to receive their payments by direct deposit into their bank account. 
 
Each ACH payment saves the State about 46¢ compared to the cost of printing and mailing a warrant. The convenience of receiving payment by direct deposit has made this a welcome service.
 
ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. What is an ACH? Individuals who have their paycheck automatically deposited to their bank account are already familiar with ACH. ACH is the nationwide banking system that relays the funds from the State Treasury to a bank account electronically without paper or postage.
 
SFMA makes payments directly to a payee’s bank account with a two day transit period. The ACH process in SFMA saves time and money, reduces the risk of fraud and loss, and makes the reconciliation process easier as redemption occurs immediately. 
 
The ACH payment system has two popular features.  First, the detailed payment information that is normally printed on the remittance advice attached to a check or warrant, is available on the Internet at a secure web site for use by the payees. By logging into the Payment Information Center, payees can review up to three months of detailed payment information. Second, when a payment order process through SFMA an email message is sent to the payee giving notice that a payment order has been issued. The convenience of this email notice also increases security and helps with cash flow planning.
 
As long as the account is open and properly identified, the financial institution will accept the ACH payment order and credit the designated account. Payees are strongly encouraged to verify that payment credits to their account on the settlement date. (It will not occur sooner or later. If  payment does not post to your account on the settlement date, please contact the ACH Coordinator). While the ACH network is highly reliable human error and technology can bring surprises. Verify your account balance before making any commitment to spend the incoming funds.

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