What’s the Difference Between ACH and Nacha?

Share on:

If you work in a financial organization that operates in the US, you’ll have heard the phrases Nacha and ACH. Together, these entities affect many of the transactions you’re responsible for — and dictate how, why, and when your business accesses sensitive data

But, what exactly are they? And, what’s the difference between the two? Read on to find out.


ACH (Automated Clearing House) is an electronic network for moving money between US bank accounts. These transactions are made through something called the ACH network, rather than card networks like Visa and Mastercard. Organizations tend to choose ACH for recurring payments like payroll or customer subscriptions because it’s more cost-effective than using the card networks.

The card-free nature of ACH payments also means that businesses benefit from reduced involuntary churn rates when customer cards expire. On the other hand, ACH payments take longer to process than card transactions and wire transfers. They usually take around three business days to complete, which makes them impractical for everyday purchases and sales. 


Nacha (The National Automated Clearing House Association) is the governing body that oversees the ACH network. It is responsible for enforcing the rules and regulations that protect customers, businesses, and other ACH users from fraud, careless data storage, and improper use of sensitive information. Nacha regulations are constantly evolving. For example, after June 30, 2022, any organization with ACH Origination or Transmission volumes that exceed 2 million entries annually will be required to protect DFI Account Numbers by rendering them unreadable when stored electronically. Previously, this rule only applied to organizations that processed a total of 6 million annual ACH payments. 

Nacha regulations are multifaceted, covering everything from how you store physical data to when it’s necessary to encrypt personal information. Keeping up with them can be expensive and time-consuming, so it’s vital to work with a partner that knows the rules from the inside out.

That’s where we come in. Protegrity can help you protect your financial institution from every angle and help you stay Nacha compliant with the following tools:

  • Financial Data Discovery 
  • Sensitive Data Assessments
  • Advanced Role-Based Access & Policy Adherence 
  • Tokenization as a Requirement & Solution
  • Evergreen Software Upgrades and Compliance Maintenance

Being better equipped ensures operating with higher levels of confidence and lower levels of risk. To learn more about how Protegrity can help your enterprise meet Nacha requirements, request our Nacha data sheet from your Protegrity representative or review our data privacy solutions here.