How to make an ACH payment step by step

Gabriela Peratello

ACH payments are a popular way to pay and get paid. From receiving your salary or pension, to paying your utility bills or sending money to a friend, ACH is usually the cheapest and easiest option available.

Billions of ACH payments are processed annually — but they’re predominantly used for USD transfers here in the US.

If you want to send an international ACH your bank may not be able to help — but we have a solution: Wise. Wise lets you pay for an international transfer with a local ACH — more on how that works, later.

Learn more about Wise

How do you make an ACH payment?

ACH payments are processed electronically. That means in most cases there’s no need to visit a bank — and you won’t need to worry about handling cash or checks either.

ACH payments can be broadly split into 2 types:

Each type of ACH transfer has its own advantages, and can be used to suit different payment needs.

ACH debit

An ACH debit is often called a pull payment. With an ACH debit you can authorize an organization to automatically deduct money from your account according to an agreed schedule — paying a mortgage or for utilities for example.

ACH debits are handy because you can ‘set and forget’ them — and be sure you’ll never miss a bill in future.

Just make sure you’ve got enough in your account to cover the payment, check the bill amount is right a day or two before it’s due, and the money will be deducted automatically.

Learn more about ACH debits in our full guide

ACH credit

ACH credit payments are also called push payments. With an ACH credit you’ll need to enter the recipient’s banking information and the payment details — usually through online or mobile banking for convenience.

ACH credits can be used to pay bills, or to send money to friends, family, charities and organizations.

ACH credit transfers are usually the cheapest and easiest option to send a payment in dollars to someone in the US, although there may still be a small fee to pay, depending on your bank.

Read on for a look at how to set up an ACH debit or credit payment in more detail.

Learn more about ACH credit payments in our full guide


How to make an ACH debit payment

When you make an ACH debit payment you’ll need to authorize an organization to deduct funds from your account according to an agreed schedule.

You’ll be able to see the payment amount before it’s deducted, so you can check it’s correct — but it’s a pretty hands off process which makes it convenient for regular bills. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1. Get the ACH debit authorisation form for the organization you need to pay

Step 2. Complete your personal information — this can often be done online

Step 3. Set the agreed payment date and schedule

Step 4. Check everything over, confirm, and submit following the organization and your bank’s processes

What information do you need to make this type of transfer?

To make an ACH debit you’ll set a payment date and schedule (the first of every month, for example), and confirm the following details:

  • Your full name as shown on your bank account

  • Your bank account number

  • Your bank ABA routing number

  • You may also need to give address details for yourself and your bank

How to make an ACH credit payment

ACH credit payments are used for things like sending money to a friend, or paying a bill. You’ll just need to have the banking details for the person or organization you’re paying to get started.

Most banks and credit unions allow customers to make ACH debit payments online or via mobile banking.

ACH credit payments are called different things by different banks — but you’ll usually be able to find this option by navigating to the payment section of your online banking service. Here’s what you’ll have to do:

Step 1. Log into your normal online or mobile banking

Step 2. Look for the option to make a payment or pay a bill

Step 3. Follow the onscreen instructions to enter the recipient’s banking information

Step 4. Enter the payment amount, currency and date

Step 5. Check and confirm — you may need to complete a verification step at this point

What information do you need to make this type of transfer?

To make an ACH Credit payment you’ll have to enter the payment amount, currency and date, and confirm:

  • Recipient’s full name

  • Recipient’s bank account number

  • Recipient’s ABA routing number

  • You may also need the recipient’s address, as well as their bank’s address

Can you make international ACH payments?

It’s theoretically possible to make international ACH payments — but most banks and credit unions offer customers SWIFT transfers instead of ACH when sending money overseas.

Check with your own bank to see if they’re able to support international ACH transfers — or read on for more about how Wise can help you send money overseas using ACH.

Pay for your international transfer via ACH with Wise


Most US banks can’t support international ACH transfers. Wise has a solution.

Arrange a Wise payment online or in the Wise app, to any of 80+ countries, and pay using a local ACH credit or debit, in dollars. Wise will then pay out the agreed amount and currency, directly to your recipient’s bank account in the destination country.

Wise is an international payment specialist which built its own payment network to make transfers overseas cheaper and faster — over 50% of Wise payments are instant*, and you could get lower fees and a better exchange rate compared to your bank, too.

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 payments are convenient and usually cheap or even free to arrange. In the US we send billions of ACH payments every year — but they’re not usually available for cross border transactions.

Use this guide to get started sending your USD ACH credit or debit payment — and don’t forget to check out Wise as a smart way to send money overseas using a local ACH to keep costs down.

*The speed of transaction claim depends on funds availability, approval by Wise’s proprietary verification system and systems availability of our partners’ banking system, and may not be available for all transactions.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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