National Automated Clearing House (NACH)

The Reserve Bank of India offers the Electronic Clearing System (ECS) for faster payments and collections. ECS is an electronic mode of payment / receipt for transactions that are repetitive and periodic in nature. By repetitive and periodic, it is meant that the transactions occur repetitively and after a fixed time interval.
But ECS lacks certain things like it takes around 30 days for its activation after submitting the required documents, it is regional based, etc.
To overcome the problems faced by ECS, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) came with another system called National Automated Clearing House (NACH). NACH is a centralised system, launched with an aim to consolidate multiple ECS systems running across the country and provides a framework for the harmonization of standard & practices and removes local barriers/inhibitors. It intends to provide a single set of rules (operating and business), open standards and best industry practices for electronic transactions which are common across all the Participants, Service Providers and Users etc.

NACH

Like ECS, NACH also is an electronic mode of payment / receipt for transactions that are repetitive and periodic in nature. NACH system is used by institutions for making bulk payment of amounts or for bulk collection of amounts.

  • Examples for bulk payment of amounts include automatic paying of interest, salary, pension, etc. by the organizations.
  • Examples for bulk collection of amounts includes automatic paying of telephone / electricity / water bills, cess / tax collections, loan installment repayments, periodic investments in mutual funds, insurance premium, etc. by the citizens of the country.

Like ECS, NACH has both Debit and Credit variants

  1. Direct Credit, which involves distribution of salary, pensions, dividends, interest, etc to the relevant stakeholders at set frequency and periods and
  2. Direct Debit, which making regular fixed payments towards insurance premiums, loan repayments, recurring deposits, etc.

How NACH is different from its predecessor ECS?

  • NACH consolidates all regional ECS systems into one national payment system.
  • A reduction in turnaround time to 10 days is expected via NACH white it was around 30 days in ECS system.
  • ECS is controlled by the Reserve Bank of India or by the designated commercial banks, while NACH will be managed by NPCI.
  • IN ECS, during any discretion the management of dispute is left to the Destination Bank and Sponsor Bank while in case of NACH, there is a well-defined Dispute Management System; electronic platform to raise and resolve issues.
  • ECS had local barriers, while NACH will not have any.

Some facts about NACH:

  • From 1st May, 2016 NACH replaced ECS.
  • Those who are using ECS already can use ECS till their validity expires. After this, one will have to fill NACH forms instead of ECS forms.
  • NACH forms can be availed from AMC (Asset Management Company) offices or their websites.
  • The structure of NACH allows member banks to design their own products to ensure the needs of their retain customers, corporate clients and Government.

Some of the benefits of NACH scheme:

  • NACH Credit and Debit schemes can be initiated by institutions/individuals who apply for it.
  • There is no need to go to bank branches/ collection centres after all formalities are completed while applying.
  • Freedom from paper handling such as cheques as all credits and debits are done electronically.
  • So it avoids the loss and fraudulent of papers in transit.
  • NACH is very cost effective.
  • This system eliminates the local barriers and facilitates same day transactions anywhere in India.
  • Customers need not keep track of due date for payments.