US20090281946A1 - ACH Payment Processing - Google Patents

ACH Payment Processing Download PDF

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US20090281946A1
US20090281946A1 US12119262 US11926208A US2009281946A1 US 20090281946 A1 US20090281946 A1 US 20090281946A1 US 12119262 US12119262 US 12119262 US 11926208 A US11926208 A US 11926208A US 2009281946 A1 US2009281946 A1 US 2009281946A1
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ach
partition
processing
step
file
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US12119262
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Peter A. Davis
Keith Pierce
Stephen P. Hanten
Erik Tennant
Jennifer Larson
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Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
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Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/02Payment architectures, schemes or protocols involving a neutral party, e.g. certification authority, notary or trusted third party [TTP]
    • G06Q20/023Payment architectures, schemes or protocols involving a neutral party, e.g. certification authority, notary or trusted third party [TTP] characterized in that the neutral party is a clearing house
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/02Payment architectures, schemes or protocols involving a neutral party, e.g. certification authority, notary or trusted third party [TTP]
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/08Payment architectures
    • G06Q20/10Payment architectures specially adapted for electronic funds transfer [EFT] systems; specially adapted for home banking systems
    • G06Q20/102Bill distribution or payments
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/38Payment protocols; Details thereof
    • G06Q20/40Authorisation, e.g. identification of payer or payee, verification of customer or shop credentials; Review and approval of payers, e.g. check credit lines or negative lists
    • G06Q20/401Transaction verification

Abstract

Efficiently processing ACH payments by processing batches of ACH payments in parallel. A processing system of an ACH operator receives an ACH file including multiple batches of ACH items. Each batch includes at least one ACH item. A control module of the processing system organizes data in the ACH file into multiple partitions according to a selected strategy. Each partition includes at least one of the batches. A processing module of the processing system separately processes each partition in parallel, validating the batches and ACH items and creating at least one output batch for each partition. If the control module determines that the ACH file is acceptable, based on this parallel processing, then the processing module settles the ACH items in the output batches and creates at least one new ACH file for transmitting the settled ACH items to one or more corresponding receiving depository financial institutions.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The invention relates generally to processing payments in an Automated Clearinghouse (“ACH”), and more particularly to efficiently processing ACH payments by processing batches of ACH payments in parallel.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Financial institutions are increasingly clearing financial transactions using electronic systems such as the Automated Clearinghouse (“ACH”) network. The ACH network is a nationwide electronic funds transfer system supported by several operators, including the Federal Reserve Banks and other institutions. The ACH network is governed by a set of rules administered by the National Automated Clearinghouse Association (“NACHA”). ACH offers financial institutions, companies, consumers, and others an efficient alternative to paper based payment methods.
  • In ACH, an originator sends electronic transaction items to an originating depository financial institution (“ODFI”). The originator is a person or organization that agrees to initiate ACH payments in the ACH network according to an arrangement with another, receiving person or entity (a “receiver”). For example, the originator can be a company that agrees to originate an ACH payment to an account of a consumer.
  • The ODFI packages the transaction items in one or more batched ACH files, according to the NACHA rules. The ODFI transmits the ACH files to an ACH operator. The ODFI may send the ACH files to the ACH operator directly or via a third party or “remote” sending point. The third party or remote sending point may be a depository financial institution or a company providing processing services for a depository financial institution. The term “ACH file” is used herein to refer to any collection of batched and/or unbatched ACH transaction items.
  • The ACH operator is a Federal Reserve Bank or other entity that receives ACH files from an ODFI and distributes transaction items within the ACH files to at least one corresponding receiving depository financial institution (“RDFI”) associated with a receiver. In some cases, the ACH operator also may perform settlement functions (crediting and debiting of accounts) for the affected financial institutions.
  • Each ACH file includes at least one batch of transaction items. Each batch includes one or more transaction items. The terms “transaction item” and “ACH item” are used interchangeably herein to refer to any batched electronic payment or payment instruction, whether international or domestic, and/or information associated with a batched electronic payment or payment instruction. For example, a payment or payment instruction can be a credit, a debit, or a rejected or returned transaction.
  • Upon receiving an ACH file, processors of the ACH operator sort, batch, and re-assemble the transaction items in the ACH file in at least one new ACH file for delivery to one or more RDFI's. The RDFI's may receive the ACH files directly or via one or more third party or “remote” receiving points. Each third party or remote receiving point may be a depository financial institution or a company providing processing services for a depository financial institution. The RDFI's forward the transaction items in the ACH files to their corresponding receivers. Each receiver is a person or organization that has authorized an originator to initiate an ACH payment to an account of the receiver, at the receiver's RDFI.
  • Traditionally, ACH operators include multiple mainframe processors, which process ACH files, file by file, on a first in, first out basis. Each ACH file is processed by a single one of the mainframe processors. Because each ACH file can include a varying number of batches with a varying number of transaction items, each mainframe processor can bear a different processing load. For example, one mainframe processor may process an ACH file with only a single transaction item, while another mainframe processor may process an ACH file with multiple batches including large amounts of transaction items. Thus, at least some mainframe processors may be over-loaded or under-loaded. This results in many processing inefficiencies, including ineffective use of the under-loaded mainframe processors and delays in processing of transaction items handled by the over-loaded mainframe processors.
  • Therefore, a need exists in the art for a system and method for efficiently processing ACH payments.
  • SUMMARY
  • The invention provides systems and methods for processing ACH payments. In particular, the invention provides systems and methods for efficiently processing ACH payments by processing batches of ACH payments in parallel.
  • An ACH processing system of an ACH operator receives an ACH file including multiple batches of ACH items. For example, the ACH processing system can receive the ACH file from an ODFI or an operator acting on behalf of an ODFI. Each batch of the ACH file includes at least one ACH item.
  • A control module of the ACH processing system organizes data in the ACH file into multiple partitions according to a selected strategy. Each partition includes at least one of the batches. For example, the control module can select a strategy that assigns (a) a fixed number of the batches to each partition, (b) a substantially equal number of batches to each partition, or (c) a substantially equal number of ACH items to each partition. Other strategies for organizing batched data are well known to a person of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of the present disclosure.
  • A processing module of the ACH processing system separately processes each partition in parallel. For example, each of multiple processors associated with the processing module can process at least one of the partitions. Alternatively, multiple of the partitions may be processed on the same processor using application threading. For example, the processing module can utilize one or more java objects, such as IBM WebSphere Application Server's “asynchronous beans” running on a Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (“J2EE”) application, to perform the application threading. The processing module can modify threading parameters in the J2EE application to ensure that each processor is not over-loaded or under-loaded during processing.
  • During processing, the processing module validates the batches and ACH items and creates at least one output batch for each partition. Each output batch includes information regarding at least one of the ACH items. For example, a particular output batch can include multiple ACH items associated with the same ODFI and/or RDFI. The processing module also may store settlement information for each ACH item.
  • The output batches can include ACH items that were successfully validated during processing or ACH items that were not successfully validated during processing. For example, “risk pended” output batches can include information regarding ACH items that were not successfully validated during processing, and non-risk pended output batches can include information regarding ACH items that were successfully validated during processing.
  • The control module evaluates the validation results for each partition to determine whether the ACH file is acceptable. If the control module determines that the ACH file is not acceptable, then the ACH operator may return the ACH file to the ODFI, suspend processing of the ACH file, and/or output a notification advising the ODFI and/or an operator of the ACH processing system that the ACH file will not be processed. If the control module determines that the ACH file is acceptable, then the processing module determines whether each output batch is a risk pended output batch or a non-risk pended output batch. The processing module settles the ACH items in the non-risk pended output batches and creates at least one new ACH file for transmitting the settled ACH items to at least one corresponding RDFI.
  • The processing module determines whether each risk pended output batch is acceptable for transmission to an RDFI. For example, the processing module can make that determination based on information from one or more operators of the ACH processing system and/or the ODFI. If the processing module determines that a particular risk pended output batch is not acceptable for transmission to an RDFI, then the ACH operator may return the output batch and/or the ACH items contained therein to the ODFI, suspend processing of the output batch and/or ACH items, and/or output a notification advising the ODFI and/or an operator of the ACH processing system that the output batch and/or ACH items will not be processed. If the processing module determines that the risk pended output batch is acceptable for transmission to an RDFI, then the processing module settles the ACH items in the risk pended output batch and creates at least one new ACH file for transmitting the settled ACH items to at least one corresponding RDFI.
  • Additional aspects, features, and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of illustrated embodiments exemplifying the best mode of carrying out the invention as presently perceived.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram depicting a system for efficiently processing an ACH file, in accordance with certain exemplary embodiments.
  • FIG. 2 is a flow chart depicting a method for efficiently processing an ACH file, in accordance with certain exemplary embodiments.
  • FIG. 3 is a flow chart depicting a method for separately processing partitions of an ACH file in parallel, in accordance with certain exemplary embodiments.
  • FIG. 4 is a flow chart depicting a method for processing risk pended output batches, in accordance with certain exemplary embodiments.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS
  • The invention is directed to systems and methods for efficiently processing ACH payments. In particular, the invention is directed to systems and methods for efficiently processing ACH files by processing batches of ACH payments in parallel.
  • The invention includes a computer program that embodies the functions described herein and illustrated in the appended flow charts. However, it should be apparent that there could be many different ways of implementing the invention in computer programming, and the invention should not be construed as limited to any one set of computer program instructions. Further, a skilled programmer would be able to write such a computer program to implement an embodiment of the disclosed invention based on the flow charts and associated description in the application text. Therefore, disclosure of a particular set of program code instructions is not considered necessary for an adequate understanding of how to make and use the invention. The inventive functionality of the claimed computer program will be explained in more detail in the following description read in conjunction with the figures illustrating the program flow.
  • Turning now to the drawings, in which like numerals indicate like elements throughout the figures, exemplary embodiments of the invention are described in detail.
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram depicting a system 100 for efficiently processing an ACH file, in accordance with certain exemplary embodiments. The system 100 is described below with reference to the methods illustrated in FIGS. 2-4.
  • FIG. 2 is a flow chart depicting a method 200 for efficiently processing an ACH file, in accordance with certain exemplary embodiments. The exemplary method 200 is illustrative and, in alternative embodiments of the invention, certain steps can be performed in a different order, in parallel with one another, or omitted entirely, and/or certain additional steps can be performed without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. The method 200 is described below with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • In step 205, an ACH operator 105 receives an ACH file including multiple batches of ACH items. The ACH operator 105 is a Federal Reserve Bank or other entity that receives an ACH file from an originating depository financial institution 102 (“ODFI”) and distributes transaction items within the ACH file to at least one corresponding receiving depository financial institution 115 (“RDFI”). In some cases, the ACH operator 105 also may perform settlement functions (crediting and debiting of accounts) for the affected financial institutions 102, 115.
  • In certain alternative exemplary embodiments, the ACH operator 105 can receive the ACH file from a third party or “remote” sending point (not shown) operating on behalf of the ODFI 102. The third party or remote sending point may be a depository financial institution or a company providing processing services for a depository financial institution. The term “ACH file” is used herein to refer to any collection of batched and/or unbatched ACH items.
  • In certain exemplary embodiments, the ACH operator 105 can receive the ACH file via a network 104. The network 104 can include any wired or wireless telecommunication means by which computerized devices can exchange data, including for example, a local area network (LAN), a wide area network (WAN), an intranet, an Internet, or any combination thereof. For example, the network 104 can include the ACH network.
  • Each batch of the received ACH file includes one or more transaction items. The terms “transaction item” and “ACH item” are used interchangeably herein to refer to any batched electronic payment or payment instruction, whether international or domestic, and/or information associated with a batched electronic payment or payment instruction. For example, a payment or payment instruction can be a credit, a debit, or a rejected or returned transaction.
  • In step 210, a processing module 107 of a processing system 103 operated by the ACH operator 105 performs a preliminary validation of the ACH file. For example, the processing module 107 can determine whether the file is properly formatted and/or includes suitable information for processing. In certain exemplary embodiments, the processing module 107 can perform this preliminary validation based on one or more rules stored in a database 109 of the processing system 103.
  • In step 215, the processing module 107 determines whether to process the ACH file. For example, the processing module 107 can determine to process the ACH file if the ACH file is successfully validated in step 210. Similarly, the processing module 107 can determine to not process the ACH file if the ACH file is not successfully validated in step 210.
  • If the processing module 107 determines in step 215 to not process the ACH file, then the method 200 branches to step 245, which is discussed below. If the processing module 107 determines in step 215 to process the ACH file, then the method 200 continues to step 220.
  • In step 220, a control module 108 of the processing system 103 selects a partition strategy. The partition strategy is a schema for dividing information within the ACH file into multiple partitions. Each partition includes one or more of the batches of the ACH file.
  • For example, one partition strategy can be to assign a fixed number of batches to each partition. A second partition strategy can be to assign substantially equal numbers of batches to each of the partitions. A third partition strategy can be to assign batches to the partitions so that each partition includes a substantially equal number of ACH items. A person of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of the present disclosure will recognize that many other strategies exist for partitioning batches of data.
  • In step 225, the control module 108 organizes the data in the ACH file into multiple partitions according to the strategy selected in step 220. In step 230, the processing module 107 separately processes each partition in parallel. For example, each of multiple processors (not shown) associated with the processing module 107 can process at least one of the partitions. Alternatively, multiple of the partitions may be processed on the same processor using application threading. For example, in certain exemplary embodiments, the processing module 107 can utilize one or more java objects, such as asynchronous beans running on a Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (“J2EE”) application, to perform the application threading. In certain exemplary embodiments, the processing module 107 can modify threading parameters in the J2EE application to ensure that each processor is not over-loaded or under-loaded during processing.
  • During processing, the processing module 107 validates each batch and ACH item and creates and stores output batches and settlement information for the ACH items. For example, the processing module 107 can store the output batches and settlement information in the database 109. Each output batch includes one or more ACH items. For example, all the ACH items in a particular output batch can be associated with the same RDFI 115 and/or ODFI 102. The processing module 107 can use the output batches and settlement information to complete the processing of the ACH items, as described below. In certain exemplary embodiments, the processing module 107 can store validation information, such as validation results, for each batch and ACH item in the database 109 of the processing system 103. Step 230 is described in more detail below, with reference to FIG. 3.
  • In step 235, the control module 108 reads validation information associated with each partition. For example, the control module 108 can read the validation information from the database 109 of the processing system 103. In step 240, the control module 108 determines whether the ACH file is acceptable, based on the validation information read in step 235. For example, the control module 108 may determine that an ACH file is not acceptable if a large quantity of validation errors were identified in step 235. The control module 108 also may determine that an ACH file is not acceptable if one or more significant validation errors were identified in step 235. In certain exemplary embodiments, the processing module 107 can make the decision of step 240 based on one or more rules stored in the database 109. In some cases, the control module 108 may determine that an ACH file is not acceptable even if the ACH file successfully completed the preliminary validation of step 215.
  • If the control module 108 determines in step 240 that the ACH file is not acceptable, then the method 200 branches to step 245. In step 245, the control module 108 rejects the ACH file for further processing. For example, the control module 108 can return the ACH file to the ODFI 102 via the network 104, suspend processing of the ACH file, and/or output a notification advising the ODFI 102 and/or an operator of the ACH processing system 103 that the ACH file will not be processed. In certain exemplary embodiments, the ODFI 102 and/or operator can override the rejection decision if it determines that the ACH file actually should be processed.
  • If the control module 108 determines in step 240 that the ACH file is acceptable, then the method 200 continues to step 246. In step 246, the processing module 107 determines whether each output batch (stored in step 230) is a “risk pended” output batch or a non-risk pended output batch. A risk pended output batch is an electronic file or record that includes information regarding at least one ACH item that was not successfully validated (in step 230). Similarly, a non-risk pended output batch is an electronic file or record that includes information regarding at least one ACH item that has been successfully validated (in step 230). In certain exemplary embodiments, a “flag” or indicator within, or associated with, a particular output batch can indicate whether the output batch is a risk pended output batch or a non-risk pended output batch.
  • In step 250, the processing module 107 settles each ACH item in the non-risk pended output batches using the settlement information stored in step 230. For example, the processing module 107 can cause accounts associated with the ODFI 102 and RDFI 115 associated with each ACH item to be credited and/or debited in accordance with the settlement information.
  • In step 255, the processing module 107 creates at least one new ACH file. Each ACH file includes information regarding at least one of the ACH items settled in step 250. For example, each ACH file can include one or more of the non-risk pended output batches.
  • In certain exemplary embodiments, the processing module 107 can create at least one new ACH file for each RDFI 115. Each ACH file for a particular RDFI 115 can include one or more batches of ACH items associated with the RDFI 115. In step 260, the processing module 107 transmits each new ACH file to its corresponding RDFI 115. For example, the processing module 107 can transmit the new ACH file(s) via the network 104.
  • In step 265, the processing module 107 determines whether any risk pended output batches were identified in step 246. If so, then the method 200 branches to step 270, which is described below with reference to FIG. 4. If the processing module 107 determines that there were not any risk pended output batches identified in step 246, then the method 200 ends.
  • FIG. 3 is a flow chart depicting a method 230 for separately processing partitions of an ACH file in parallel, in accordance with certain exemplary embodiments, as referred to in step 230 of FIG. 2. The exemplary method 230 is illustrative and, in alternative embodiments of the invention, certain steps can be performed in a different order, in parallel with one another, or omitted entirely, and/or certain additional steps can be performed without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. The method 230 is described below with reference to FIGS. 1-3.
  • The processing module 107 typically performs multiple instances of the method 230 in parallel, with each instance being associated with a different one of the partitions of the ACH file. In step 305, the processing module 107 selects a batch of the partition. In step 310, the processing module 107 validates the batch and stores validation results in the database 109. For example, the processing module 107 can validate the batch by determining whether the batch is properly formatted and/or includes suitable information for processing. In certain exemplary embodiments, the processing module 107 can perform this validation based on one or more rules stored in the database 109. For example, the stored validation results can include information regarding any validation errors identified during validation and/or information indicating that the batch was successfully validated, if appropriate.
  • In step 315, the processing module 107 determines whether the batch is acceptable, based on the validation performed in step 310. In certain exemplary embodiments, the processing module 107 can make the decision of step 315 based on one or more rules stored in the database 109. If the processing module 107 determines in step 315 that the batch is not acceptable, then the method 230 branches to step 330, which is discussed below.
  • If the processing module 107 determines in step 315 that the batch is acceptable, then the method 230 continues to step 320. In step 320, the processing module 107 validates ACH items in the batch and stores validation results in the database 109. For example, the processing module 107 can validate each ACH item by determining whether the ACH item is properly formatted and/or includes suitable information for processing. In certain exemplary embodiments, the processing module 107 can perform this validation based on one or more rules stored in the database 109. For example, the stored validation results can include information regarding any validation errors identified during validation and/or information identifying each successfully validated ACH item.
  • In step 325, the processing module 107 creates one or more output batches. Each output batch is an electronic file or record that includes information regarding at least one ACH item of the partition. For example, all the ACH items in a particular output batch can be associated with the same RDFI 115 and/or ODFI 102.
  • In certain exemplary embodiments, the processing module 107 can create “risk pended” and “non-risk pended” output batches. A risk pended output batch is an electronic file or record that includes information regarding at least one ACH item that was not successfully validated. Similarly, a non-risk pended output batch is an electronic file or record that includes information regarding at least one ACH item that has been successfully validated. In certain exemplary embodiments, a “flag” or indicator within, or associated with, a particular output batch can indicate whether the output batch is a risk pended output batch or a non-risk pended output batch.
  • In step 330, the processing module 107 stores the output batches in the database 109. In step 335, the processing module 107 determines whether to select another batch. If so, then the method 230 branches back to step 305 to repeat steps 305-330 for another batch. If the processing module 107 determines in step 335 to not select another batch, then the method 230 continues to step 340.
  • In step 340, the processing module 107 stores settlement information for each of the output batches in the database 109. For example, the settlement information may include information useful in settling payment of each ACH item included in the output batches, such as an aggregate credit or debit amount for each ODFI 102 and/or RDFI 115, a credit or debit amount for each ACH item, an American Bankers Association (“ABA”) number associated with each ODFI 102, and/or an ABA number associated with each RDFI 115. The method 230 continues to step 235 of FIG. 2, discussed above.
  • FIG. 4 is a flow chart depicting a method 270 for processing risk pended output batches, in accordance with certain exemplary embodiments, as referred to in step 270 of FIG. 2. The exemplary method 270 is illustrative and, in alternative embodiments of the invention, certain steps can be performed in a different order, in parallel with one another, or omitted entirely, and/or certain additional steps can be performed without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. The method 270 is described below with reference to FIGS. 1-4.
  • In step 405, the processing module identifies at least one risk pended output batch. In step 410, the processing module determines whether each identified risk pended output batch risk is acceptable for transmission to an RDFI 115. In certain exemplary embodiments, the processing module 107 can make that determination based on information from one or more operators of the ACH processing system 103 and/or the ODFI 102. For example, the processing module 107 can transmit at least a portion of each risk pended output batch to its corresponding ODFI 102 for review, via the network 104. The operator(s) of the ODFI 102 and/or ACH processing system 103 can evaluate whether each risk pended output batch is suitable for transmission to the RDFI 115 based on one or more rules. For example, the rules may include certain formatting and/or content requirements for each batch and/or ACH item therein. The rules may be the same or different from rules used in validating the ACH file, partitions, and ACH items in steps 210 and 230 of FIG. 2. In certain exemplary embodiments, the rules can be stored in a database, such as the database 109.
  • In step 415, the processing module 107 rejects any risk pended ACH items determined in step 410 to not be acceptable for transmission. For example, the processing module 107 can return each rejected output and/or the ACH items contained therein to its corresponding ODFI 102, suspend processing of the output batch and/or ACH items, and/or output a notification advising the ODFI 102 and/or an operator of the ACH processing system 103 that the output batch and/or ACH items will not be processed.
  • In step 420, the processing module 107 settles each ACH item in each risk pended output batch, if any, determined in step 410 to be acceptable for transmission. For example, the processing module 107 can cause accounts associated with the ODFI 102 and RDFI 115 of each ACH item to be credited and/or debited in accordance with information in the ACH item. Similar to step 255 of FIG. 2, in step 425, the processing module 107 creates at least one new ACH file for each RDFI 115 associated with one or more of the ACH items settled in step 420. Each new ACH file for a particular RDFI 115 includes one or more batches of acceptable ACH items associated with the RDFI 115. In step 430, the processing module 107 transmits each new ACH file to its corresponding RDFI 115. For example, the processing module 107 can transmit the new ACH file(s) via the network 104.
  • It will be appreciated that the exemplary embodiments of the invention overcome the limitations of the prior art. From the description of the exemplary embodiments, equivalents of the elements shown therein and ways of constructing other embodiments of the invention will be apparent to practitioners of the art. Many other modifications, features and embodiments of the invention will become evident to those of skill in the art. It should be appreciated, therefore, that many aspects of the invention were described above by way of example only and are not intended as required or essential elements of the invention unless explicitly stated otherwise. Accordingly, it should be understood that the foregoing relates only to certain embodiments of the invention and that numerous changes can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Claims (20)

  1. 1. A computer-implemented method for processing automated clearinghouse (“ACH”) payments, comprising the steps of:
    receiving an ACH file comprising a plurality of batches of ACH items, each of the batches comprising at least one of the ACH items;
    organizing data in the ACH file into a plurality of partitions, each partition comprising at least one of the batches; and
    separately processing each partition in parallel to generate at least one new batch.
  2. 2. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein the step of organizing data in the ACH file comprises the steps of:
    selecting a strategy for organizing data in the ACH file; and
    organizing data in the ACH file into the plurality of partitions according to the selected strategy.
  3. 3. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein the step of organizing data in the ACH file comprises the step of assigning a fixed number of the batches to each of the partitions.
  4. 4. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein the step of organizing data in the ACH file comprises the step of assigning a substantially equal number of batches to each of the partitions.
  5. 5. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein the step of organizing data in the ACH file comprises the step of assigning a substantially equal number of ACH items to each of the partitions.
  6. 6. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein the step of separately processing each partition in parallel comprises the step of storing at least one new batch for each partition, each new batch comprising information regarding at least one ACH item from the new batch's partition.
  7. 7. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein the step of separately processing each partition in parallel comprises the step of storing settlement information for each partition.
  8. 8. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein the step of separately processing each partition in parallel comprises the steps of:
    for each partition,
    determining whether each ACH item of the partition is suitable for processing; and
    creating at least one new batch in response to determining that any ACH item of the partition is suitable for processing, each new batch comprising at least one ACH item.
  9. 9. The computer-implemented method of claim 8, further comprising the steps of:
    determining whether the ACH file is suitable for processing based on whether the ACH items of the partitions were determined to be suitable for processing; and
    creating at least one new ACH file in response to determining that the ACH file is suitable for processing, each new ACH file comprising information regarding at least one of the at least one new batch.
  10. 10. The computer-implemented method of claim 9, further comprising the step of transmitting each new ACH file to a corresponding receiving depository financial institution.
  11. 11. A computer-implemented method for processing automated clearinghouse (“ACH”) payments, comprising the steps of:
    receiving an ACH file comprising a plurality of batches of ACH items, each of the batches comprising at least one of the ACH items;
    selecting a strategy for organizing data in the ACH file into a plurality of partitions, each partition comprising at least one of the batches, the strategy comprising one of assigning a fixed number of the batches to each of the partitions, assigning a substantially equal number of batches to each of the partitions, and assigning a substantially equal number of ACH items to each of the partitions;
    organizing data in the ACH file into the plurality of partitions according to the selected strategy; and
    separately processing each partition in parallel to generate at least one new batch.
  12. 12. The computer-implemented method of claim 11, wherein the step of separately processing each partition in parallel comprises the step of storing at least one new batch for each partition, each new batch comprising information regarding at least one ACH item from the new batch's partition.
  13. 13. The computer-implemented method of claim 11, wherein the step of separately processing each partition in parallel comprises the step of storing settlement information for each partition.
  14. 14. The computer-implemented method of claim 11, wherein the step of separately processing each partition in parallel comprises the steps of:
    for each partition,
    determining whether each ACH item of the partition is suitable for processing; and
    creating at least new batch in response to determining that any ACH item of the partition is suitable for processing, each new batch comprising at least one ACH item.
  15. 15. The computer-implemented method of claim 14, further comprising the steps of:
    determining whether the ACH file is suitable for processing based on whether the ACH items of the partitions were determined to be suitable for processing; and
    creating at least one new ACH file in response to determining that the ACH file is suitable for processing, each new ACH file comprising information regarding at least one of the at least one new batch.
  16. 16. The computer-implemented method of claim 15, further comprising the step of transmitting each new ACH file to a corresponding receiving depository financial institution.
  17. 17. A computer-implemented method for processing automated clearinghouse (“ACH”) payments, comprising the steps of:
    receiving an ACH file comprising a plurality of batches of ACH items, each of the batches comprising at least one of the ACH items;
    organizing data in the ACH file into a plurality of partitions, each partition comprising at least one of the batches;
    separately processing each partition in parallel by storing at least one new batch for each partition, each new batch comprising information regarding at least one successfully validated ACH item from the new batch's partition; and
    determining whether the ACH file is suitable for processing based on validation information associated with each partition; and
    creating at least one new ACH file in response to determining that the ACH file is suitable for processing, each new ACH file comprising information regarding at least one of the at least one new batches.
  18. 18. The computer-implemented method of claim 17, wherein the step of organizing data in the ACH file comprises the steps of:
    selecting a strategy for organizing data in the ACH file into the plurality of partitions, each partition comprising at least one of the batches, the strategy comprising one of assigning a fixed number of the batches to each of the partitions, assigning a substantially equal number of batches to each of the partitions, and assigning a substantially equal number of ACH items to each of the partitions; and
    organizing data in the ACH file into the plurality of partitions according to the selected strategy.
  19. 19. The computer-implemented method of claim 17, wherein the step of separately processing each partition in parallel further comprises the step of storing settlement information for each partition, the stored settlement information for each of the partitions comprising information regarding at least one successfully validated ACH item from the partition.
  20. 20. The computer-implemented method of claim 17, further comprising the step of transmitting each new ACH file to a corresponding receiving depository financial institution.
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