ACH vs NEFT: Difference and Comparison

Online banking is the new paradigm in the banking industry. It has garnered tremendous support from clients and banking officials alike.


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With 57% of the world’s population having access to the internet, things have pretty much changed regarding the transfer of funds. With the antagonists turning into supporters, financial institutions, too, have started to revolutionize the banking sector.

Online payment systems are widely popular because of the hassle-free, paperless transactions. Several countries are leveraging their banks to modify the older approach by introducing numerous online credit transfer methods.

ACH and NEFT are two of the many online credit transfer methods. Both allow a client to make or receive payments from the comfort of their home.

Key Takeaways

  1. ACH (Automated Clearing House) is a batch processing system for electronic financial transactions, with transactions grouped and processed at specified intervals; NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer) is an Indian electronic funds transfer system that processes individual transactions in a near-real-time manner.
  2. ACH processes high volumes of low-value transactions, while NEFT is designed for individual transactions with no upper or lower limit.
  3. Both ACH and NEFT facilitate electronic fund transfers. Still, ACH operates primarily in the United States and focuses on batch processing, whereas NEFT is an Indian system that processes transactions individually.


ACH (Automated Clearing House) transactions are processed in batches, with funds being transferred between banks overnight. NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer) is a real-time system where transactions are settled individually and immediately, allowing for quicker fund transfers.

ACH vs eCheck

ACH is the online credit transfer method where the transactions are automated. There is no requirement for paperwork or entering credit card details every time.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonACHNEFT
DefinitionACH is the online credit transfer system where fund-transfer from one bank or individual to another can occur swiftly, generally without approval for repetitive transactions from the client. There is no need to sign a check or other paper documents.NEFT is the online credit transfer system where the money is transferred from one bank to another, generally after the request from the client. For this, both banks must be NEFT enabled.
AdvantagesACH offers the following advantages :
· Direct deposition of salary
· Automatic payment of bills
· Online purchase without entering credit card details again and again
NEFT offers the following advantages :
· Effective transactions
· Low processing charges
· High dependability
DisadvantagesACH has the following disadvantages :
· The service providers have direct access to the client’s bank account
· Money may be deducted from the account without prior notification
NEFT has the following disadvantages :
· Highly technical for everyone to understand
· Transactions may be risky
Limits on TransactionsACH is generally preferred and allows the transfer of small funds.With NEFT, there is no upper or lower limit on the number of funds to be transferred.
SecurityACH is a very safe method of online fund transfer since there is no need to enter banking details for every transaction.NEFT is relatively less safe because hackers can easily hack the browser and transfer funds to their accounts.


What is ACH?

The term ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. It is an online credit transfer method where money can be transferred from one bank account to another without entering sensitive bank details and issuing cheques.

It was first introduced in the USA in the late 1960s by the banks in California as a replacement for cheque payments. In India, it is better known as Electronic Clearing Service (ECS) and is managed by the RBI.

The process of an ACH transaction begins with an originator who initiates a transaction request to the ODFI (Originating Depository Financial Institution). The ODFI sends this request to the ACH, which routes it to the RDFI (Receiving Depository Financial Institution), which finally credits or debits the beneficiary account.

ACH offers advantages such as automatic payment of bills without initiating the transaction. This means a client does not need to remember when the next instalment is due.

However, it also has disadvantages, such as deducting money without notification. This can lead to an overdraft fee if the account balance is lower than the transaction to be done.


What is NEFT?

The term NEFT stands for National Electronic Funds Transfer. It is an online credit transfer method where money can be transferred from one bank to another by entering the beneficiary’s account details.

It was introduced in India in November 2005 by the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT). Since then, RBI has been the regulatory authority for NEFT-enabled banks.

The process of online funds transfer using NEFT is effortless. The client has to provide his account details and the beneficiary’s account details and then select the mode of transfer as NEFT.

NEFT offers advantages such as the rapid settlement of transactions and high dependability. Also, the processing charges are low, and there is no limit on the number of funds to be transferred.


Main Differences Between ACH and NEFT

  1. ACH automatically transfers money online to any individual or service provider, whereas NEFT allows the transfer of funds from one bank account to another.
  2. In ACH, money is automatically deducted from the account for frequent transactions such as monthly bills. On the other hand, in NEFT, the money is transferred only when the client manually approves the transaction.
  3. No notice is served before the deduction of money from the bank account in the case of ACH, whereas the NEFT facility provides instant messages regarding the transaction.
  4. The bank details need not be entered every time in an ACH transaction, whereas NEFT necessitates filling in the details every time.
  5. There is a limit on the number of funds that can be transferred using ACH, whereas there is no such limitation in the case of NEFT.
  6. ACH mode of online credit transfer is considered highly secure due to low instances of entering bank details. On the other hand, the NEFT mode is less secure due to the vulnerability of the browser application to potential hackers.
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