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HERNDON, Va. – NACHA, the electronic payments association, and affiliated groups will continue their effort in May to get banks, credit unions, and nonprofit organizations across the country to increase their use of direct deposit and direct payment in place of paper checks. The group led by NACHA, Electronic Payments Network, and the Federal Reserve Banks, is sponsoring the month and encouraging financial institutions and businesses to actively promote these services to their customers and employees. A recent study sponsored by NACHA shows that large companies are much more likely to use direct deposit than small (2-49 employees) and medium (50-499) size businesses. Although 75% of small businesses surveyed were aware of direct deposit, only 26% used the service to pay their employees. Of small business owners, 42% that don’t use direct deposit said they thought the service was designated for larger companies. However, a 2003 survey showed that even small businesses can save more than $5,000 per year by switching employees to direct deposit for paychecks. “This survey points to a real opportunity for us in the electronic payments business to reach out and engage small and medium size businesses to increase their understanding and use of Automated Clearing House payments,” said Mark Tizzard, chairman of NACHA’s Marketing Management Group. “As we continue our consumer advertising campaign, we also need to strengthen our industry messages that the ACH network is for all businesses, not just large corporations. The cost and time savings of Direct Deposit and Direct Payment could prove especially helpful to organizations looking to trim budgets and when time is at a premium.” Businesses and financial institutions can visit the group’s Web site (electronicpayments.org) for ideas about how to inform, educate and market to their audiences about direct deposit and direct payment. These ideas include special sign-up events, advertising, media campaigns and direct mail. Resource materials are available that will help convince any size business about the convenience and time and money saving advantages of these services. “During May, we encourage businesses and financial institutions to educate their employees and customers about the convenience, security and financial benefits of direct deposit and direct payment,” said Elliott C. McEntee, president and CEO of NACHA. “These services are no longer the wave of the future. They are widely used by millions of Americans who understand that they can save valuable time and money by getting paid and paying bills electronically.”

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