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What is RTP vs ACH?

RTP (Real-Time Payments), allows users to initiate, send, and receive payments instantaneously, 24/7 and 365 days a year. ACH transactions are much slower than real-time payments, often taking between 2-3 business days for payments to complete. ACH also does not operate on weekends, bank holidays, or outside business hours.


Additionally, ACH is available at all financial institutions across the US, while RTP is only supported at around 285 banks and credit unions.

Lastly, unlike ACH, RTP only supports credit or 'push' payments. You can not 'pull' or debit another bank account using RTP. Since RTP enables instant funds transfer, all payments are final when completed and cannot be reversed. This also eliminates payment failures due to insufficient funds, which is a common occurrence in ACH.

A timeline of payments in the United States

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RTP (Real-Time Payments) is a payment processing network used to send money electronically between banks in the United States.

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To be considered a real-time payment, a payment service must be able to allow users to initiate, send, and receive payments instantaneously or nearly-instantaneously (i.e. within a few minutes).

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Zelle is a real-time payment.

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The difference between a wire transfer and a real time payment is that real-time payments take place and settle instantly, but wire transfers can take anywhere from a few minutes to 24 or more hours, depending on the financial institutions involved in the transactions.

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While PayPal is not an official part of the Real-Time Payments (RTP) Network itself, it is a service provider that can provide instant payments.

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More than 280 banks and credit unions are currently utilizing the Real-Time Payments (RTP) Network.

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The RTP limit for single transactions is currently $1,000,000, raised from $100,000 in 2022.

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