What is ACH credit?

Gabriela Peratello

Looking for an easy way to send money to a friend, or pay your bill online? You may be considering using an ACH credit payment.

This guide covers all you need to know about ACH credit payments. If you want to learn more, you can also get a full guide to different types of ACH transactions here.

To make your life easier and cheaper when sending or receiving international transfers, we’ll also introduce Wise and the Wise Account. More on that later.

Learn more about Wise

What is ACH credit?

An ACH credit is an electronic payment which the payer sends from their bank or credit union account, to another account for automatic deposit.

You don’t need to handle cash or write a check, just set up your ACH credit in your online banking and the money will be deposited automatically into the account you send to.

ACH credit payments are handy for both one off transfers, and for paying recurring bills which are always the same value.

You might use an ACH credit to pay a subscription on the same day every month, for example, or to make a recurring transfer to your housemate for your share of the rent.

What's ACH load credit?

One way you might use an ACH is to load credit to a specialist account, such as a Wise account.

With Wise you can top up your account in USD using an ACH payment, then send or spend your money in 50+ currencies, all around the world. More on that later.

How does ACH credit work?

To set up an ACH credit, you’ll need to make arrangements via your own bank or credit union.

Different financial institutions have their own processes, but the steps you’ll take are usually similar:

  • Check with your bank whether you can set up an ACH credit online — in some cases you may need to visit a branch to get started

  • Complete your bank’s ACH credit instruction form online or in hard copy — you’ll need to give recipient details, payment amount and frequency

  • Once the ACH credit has been processed by your bank, your money will be sent automatically from your bank account to your recipient according to your instructions

Once you have set up your ACH credit, you shouldn’t need to do anything more unless you want to alter or cancel it.

Just make sure there’s enough money in your account to cover the cost on the payment date, and it’ll all happen automatically.

Fees for ACH credit

ACH transaction fees are usually low — but some banks and credit unions do still charge a fee when you arrange a payment.

Here’s a rundown of some common outgoing ACH payment fees by bank:

BankFees for outgoing ACH payment
Bank of America¹$3 ($10 for next-day delivery)
ChaseFees vary based on account type, can be free for personal customers
TD Bank³$0 (fees may apply for rush payment services)
US BankUp to $3
Wells Fargo$0

International payments made easy: meet Wise

ACH credit payments are great when transacting in the US — but not usually available for overseas transfers. If you’re making an international transfer, you could be better off with Wise.

Wise international transfers use the mid-market exchange rate every time, with low, transparent fees, so you’ll always know exactly what your payment is costing you.

It takes just minutes to open a free Wise account, and you can then send money from just your phone or laptop. Easy.

Here’s what else you can do with Wise:

  • Open a Wise account to hold 50+ currencies

  • Get a linked debit card to spend in 170+ countries

  • Use your own local account details to get paid for free from 30 different countries

  • Add money or get paid to your Wise balance in USD via ACH or wire transfers

You can manage your money online or in the Wise app, set up direct debits, and hold, send and spend globally for less.

Get started with Wise

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

ACH credit examples

Here are some of the most common ways you’ll find ACH credit payments used:

  • Direct deposit: commonly used by companies and organizations when paying our money — such as receiving salary, benefits or a pension

  • Purchasing goods online: you may use an ACH transfer to shop online, either to pay a merchant directly or when you use an intermediary service like PayPal

  • Bill payments: cover your one off and recurring bills from your online or mobile banking service, just set up your transfer and make sure there’s enough in the account to cover it on the due date

ACH credit vs ACH debit: what's the difference?

You might have come across both ACH credits and ACH debits. While these are both ACH transfers, they are quite different. In an ACH credit payment, the payer will initiate the payment — pushing the funds into the recipient account.

ACH debits work the other way around. With an ACH debit, the recipient will be authorized to pull the funds from the account automatically when a payment is due.

For this reason, you might hear of ACH credits being called push payments, and ACH debits being described as pull payments. Both ACH types can be handy, depending on the type of payment you need to make.

ACH transfers: pros and cons

ACH transfers aren’t the only way to arrange electronic payments.

Let’s take a look at some of the ACH pros and cons to consider when you’re deciding if an ACH credit is right for you.

✅ Pros❌ Cons
  • Electronic transfers are easy to set up and don’t usually require any further action once initiated

  • ACH transfers are safe — the payment can’t be lost along the way like with a check

  • The fees for ACH transfers are typically either very low or free, making this a popular choice for all sorts of personal and business payments

  • With ACH credits, you can’t easily change the date or amount to be paid, making this payment type less suited to variable bill payments

  • Processes for setting up ACH transfers are set by individual banks and credit unions — in some cases you may need to visit a branch to get started

Common questions about ACH credit

Looking for more? Here are some commonly asked questions about ACH credit — and all the answers you need.

Is ACH credit your money?

An ACH credit is an electronic payment which is sent by the payer to another bank or credit union account. If you’re arranging an ACH credit you’ll be sending money from your account to another bank account, to cover a bill or pay back a friend for example.

What's an ACH credit refund?

An ACH credit refund may apply if the transaction can not be processed as it should have been, or if a transfer has been identified as fraudulent.

If you think you’re owed an ACH credit refund you’ll need to talk to your bank directly to understand your options.

Is a direct deposit an ACH credit?

Yes. Direct deposit is an ACH credit payment, often used by companies when paying salaries, or institutions paying benefits to clients.

Is ACH credit the same as a direct deposit?

The terms ACH credit and direct deposit are used interchangeably.

They both refer to the same type of electronic payment which is pushed by the payer, to the recipient’s bank account to be deposited automatically.

What does ACH mean in your bank account?

You may see an incoming or outgoing ACH marked in your bank statement if you’ve sent a payment to someone, or if somebody has paid you using an ACH transfer.

If you don’t recognize the transaction you’ll need to talk to your bank to get more details and check the payment.


  1. Bank of America - Online bank service agreement
  2. Chase - Account fees
  3. TD Bank - Service fees
  4. US Bank - Fee guide
  5. Wells Fargo - Fee schedule

Sources checked on 02.20.2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location