Gateway Overview: ACH

eChecks, or ACH transfers, are one of the most popular forms of collecting funds from your customers in the US.  Some banks allow you to upload ACH transactions through their internet banking software using the industry-standard NACHA file format.  If your bank does not provide this facility then we recommend that you use third-party options such as forte.

Start by talking to your bank to see if they can process ACH transactions.  You will need your bank’s Destination Routing/Transit number, Origin Routing/Transit number and your EIN.

Setting up the ACH file format is very easy.  Simply select NACHA File as the gateway name and then enter the bank Destination and Origin Routing numbers and your EIN.  Check with your bank for these details.

NACHA File is not eligile for Pay Now.  If you want Pay Now functionality you should use forte.

If you bank settles net of fees (not common) then you may want to use the Calculate Commission/Fees on Settlement function – otherwise leave this off.

Your customer’s bank account number is obtained from the bank account field in Xero. Please ensure that the account number is correctly formatted (TTTTTTTTT-AAAAAAAAAA where T is the transit number and A is the account number). We display this from Xero in the Collection Details screen.  If the customer’s bank account number changes you simply need to change it in Xero.

You also need to enter the transaction code (27 for checking accounts or 37 for savings accounts) so make sure that you get this information from your customers.

You should always have permission from your customer to charge their account.

uCollect will automatically identify when collections are necessary from approved customers.  We can not send the transaction to your bank directly.  Instead:

  1. We will send you an email advising you that there are collections to initiate
  2. You click on the link in the email and log into uCollect
  3. Click on the “Generate Now” button and then confirm the details of the collection batch
  4. uCollect will generate the batch file and download it to your browser (you can download it again any time in the next 24 hours)
  5. uCollect will mark the invoices as paid in Xero
  6. You MUST upload this file to your bank.  If you don’t you will not get paid.

It is still possible that the collection could be rejected by the payers bank.  If this happens you will be notified directly by your bank.  If you are notified of a rejected collection you can ‘remove & redo’ the payment in Xero which will throw the invoice into overdue status and will be re-attempted in the next daily cycle.  However, depending on the reason for the rejection, you should confirm that you have the correct account detail.

Important note on currencies: All ACH transactions are processed in USD and must be paid to a bank account in Xero that is in USD.   Do not attempt to collect invoices in other currencies as they will be treated as USD at 1:1.  No FX conversion will be performed.

You can use uCollect to process checks received by mail, but need to ensure that you never allow uCollect to automatically charge the customer’s account.  The safest way to do this is to use the Pay Now screen to enter payment for a one-off invoice (or more than one) but not choose the “I want to pay: All invoices on their due date automatically” option or set them up in uCollect.  If you would prefer to set them up in uCollect please follow these steps:

  1. Enter the customer’s bank account number in Xero
  2. Assign the contact to the NACHA file gateway in uCollect, and SUSPEND the contact
  3. When you receive a check click Pay Now, select the invoice(s) being paid, and choose “Payment data we already hold on file”