New Era Begins for NACHA Operating Rules and Guidelines

Colleen Morrison

HERNDON, Va., January 12, 2011 – January 1, 2011 marked a new era for the NACHA Operating Rules and Guidelines: the debut of a new, reorganized format and clearer, user-friendly language as the result of the Rules Simplification initiative. The 2011 NACHA Operating Rules and Guidelines, introducing the new elements of Rules Simplification, are now available at

Rules Simplification impacted both the NACHA Operating Rules and the NACHA Operating Guidelines. The initiative transformed the organization of the Rules, structuring them around the rights and responsibilities of participants in the ACH Network. In addition, clear, understandable, and consistent language was adopted throughout the Rules. The NACHA Operating Guidelines also were reorganized to align with the simplified NACHA Operating Rules and were restructured to address key, universal topics, consolidate discussions on similar topics, and eliminate redundant material.

“The changes to the format and structure found in the simplified Rules create a more intuitive framework for the user, and the updated Guidelines provide users with clearer and more direct guidance on the Rules,” said NACHA President and CEO Janet O. Estep. “Rules Simplification supports the efficient and innovative use of the Network.”

Reflecting the core changes in the format of the Rules themselves, the 2011 NACHA Operating Guidelines streamline and introduce more user-friendly content. Specifically, the Guidelines eliminate specific chapters on functional responsibilities and incorporate processing obligations under each participant, introduce appendices created for reference materials, and open with a section on general information that is relevant to all ACH participants.

In addition to providing a more user-friendly structure for ACH Network participants, the simplified 2011 Rules and Guidelines also:

  • Make the Rules and Guidelines easier to understand
  • Make rule and guideline information easier to find
  • Make complying with the Rules easier
  • Achieve these objectives without altering the substantive meaning of the underlying Rules or Guidelines

Since 1974, the NACHA Operating Rules and Guidelines have provided the foundation for the exchange of ACH payments. The NACHA Rules and Guidelines define the roles and responsibilities of financial institutions and other participants in the ACH Network, and ensure that the ACH Network remains efficient, reliable, and secure for the benefit of all participants. Through the NACHA Rules and Guidelines, the ACH Network has grown into a major facilitator of global commerce, accounting for 18.76 billion payments in 2009 valued at over $30 trillion.


NACHA—The Electronic Payments Association
NACHA supports the growth of the ACH Network by managing its development, administration, and governance. The ACH Network facilitates global commerce by serving as a safe, efficient, ubiquitous, and high-quality electronic payment system. NACHA represents nearly 11,000 financial institutions through 18 regional payments associations and direct membership. Through its industry councils and forums, NACHA brings together payments system stakeholder organizations to encourage the efficient utilization of the ACH Network and develop new ways to use the Network to benefit its diverse set of participants. To learn more, visit,, and

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