Pending ACH Transaction? Here’s what to do!

“What is this? A pending ACH transaction? What does it even mean? Why can’t I access the funds right now! Does this mean they defrauded me? This is a huge amount! Whom do I reach out to! I need to pay my bills this month, and I need this amount within the next week!”

These are some thoughts that went through my friend’s head when she saw this message on her bank statement. She immediately reached out to me with these questions. She was under the impression that there was something wrong with her payment method or bank account. That’s when I realized that it was time to educate people on the ACH system and pending ACH transactions. Stay up to date with the latest news on ACH from Nacha.


What is a Pending ACH Transaction?

Unlike wire transfers, credit cards, online banking, or other means of instant electronic fund transfers, ACH transactions take slightly longer. Usually, the Automated clearing house (ACH) network takes a couple of days to transfer money from one bank account to another. However, financial institutions have found a way to acknowledge the ACH transaction without transferring the funds immediately.

Before funds are transferred and readily available at the receiver’s end, the credit unions spend some time checking account information at both ends. After verifying the details and the availability of funds in the sender’s bank account, the ACH payment is marked complete. 

During this verification state, the transaction’s status appears in the pending or holding state. The payment that the sender intends to transfer is marked under “ACH hold” on their account. This hold status denotes that the marked amount/payment will be transferred to the receiver’s bank account within the next few days.

A pending ACH transaction is different from a rejected one. Learn more about rejected ACH transactions.

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What to Do Next?

You are all set to receive/send money through an ACH debit or ACH credit transaction. You do your part and see that the transaction status is in a pending stage now. Here’s what you do next.

Step 1: Wait

Having your payment status in the pending stage is completely normal. So, do not panic, and wait for a couple of days for the ACH system to clear the payment.  

Step 2: Look for a confirmation

If you set up an ACH account with a correct email ID, you will receive an email that the payment stands in the processing stage and will be completed in X amount of time. This email will ideally go to both the sender and the receiver. After X days, the payment should clear automatically.  

Step 3: Wait some more

The payment might be late by a day or two if there was a bank or public holiday between the transfer process. So, you should wait some more.

Step 4: Contact the receiver/sender

If the payment is still in the pending stage, you should contact the sender/receiver of funds to check the reason for the hold-up. In some cases, the sender may have done everything right but entered the wrong details given by the receiver. So, you should reverify all of the details.

Step 5: Contact your ACH service provider

If you cannot fix the problem yourself, the ACH network may be at fault. You should speak to your ACH service provider to see if you need to retry the payment or wait some more. 

Step 6: Retry the ACH payment

If nothing works, and your ACH service provider recommends it, you can retry the payment again.


If your ACH payment fails, you might receive the same notification with a return code. Learn more about these codes in our comprehensive guide for ACH return codes.

Reliable payment processors can help you set up automatic payment solutions with ACH. You can count on ACH technology to automate bill payments and invoice collections for your business. Move money quickly and efficiently at lower costs by getting in touch with our relationship managers to start your ACH and credit card processing journey!

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Date originally published: January 31, 2022

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