Create an ACH Return FIle for Testing

Create an ACH Return FIle for Testing

ACH/NACHA return files are produced by the bank to notify the finance company that a payment(s) within a previous ACH file has been rejected. The most common reason for a payment to be rejected is due to insufficient funds (aka NSF). 

When a return file is processed through ASPIRE (on the Tasks - Cash Management screen - Lockbox – ACH Return File (toolbar)), the records in the uploaded return file are matched with the payment records in ASPIRE and those payments are returned.

Return records are denoted by:

Payment detail records (“6 records”) – lines 3 and 4 below

Associated addenda records (“7 records” underneath the 6 record in the file) – see example below

Return addenda type (character position 2-3 being “99”) – in the “7 record example”

Return reason (character position 4 being “R” followed by a two digit code – e.g. R01 is for insufficient funds) – in the “7 record example”

Example of a “7 record”

799R01104000050000001    10400005 104000050000001

Change Records

There are records that can show up in return files called “change records”. These are denoted by character position 4 on the 7 record being a “C”. 

These are used to denote changes to the account (e.g. an upcoming change in account number, address, or closing the account). ASPIRE ignores these records.

ASPIRE Version Note

Starting with ASPIRE v5.20.11054, the way in which ASPIRE maps payments from the return file to payments in ASPIRE was changed. 

Prior to this build,  payments were mapped  to the Effective Entry Date on the “5 record”, payment amount  on the  “6 record” , and contract ID,  also in the “6 record”. 

After this build,  ASPIRE look s at line position 40-54 of the 6 record for the return record and match es it with the payment reference number (see ADO 25922 for further information).  This difference has no impact on  steps below to create a return file for testing purposes.

Creating ACH Return File
  1. Generate ACH File
  1. On the Tasks menu - EFT File Generation screen, create an ACH File for a payment you will return. 
  2. The Originating Bank must have a processing type of “ACH” (set on Administration menu - Cash Management screen - EFT Bank Setup).
  1. Remove any payments you do not want to return from the ACH File 
  1. Remove any payment detail lines (“6 records”) that you do not want to return. 
  2. Also remove any batch header lines (“5 records”) that your payment(s) is not included under. 
     3.  Retain the  5 record  for your payment (first line that starts with a “5” above your payment record), your payment’s “6 record ,              along with the 1, 8, and 9 records in the file.

  1. Remove line 4 from this file. 

This record does not represent a payment but is a balancing entry that shows the debit amount to the finance company’s bank from the original ACH file. Inclusion of this line is optional and depends on your EFT Company Setup

  1. Modify Payment Detail Records

On the 6 records you are returning, change character position 79 from a “0” to a “1”. This denotes that this payment detail record has an addenda record.

  1. Add addenda record for returned payment
  2. Immediately below the 6 record you are going to return, add a 7 record. You can copy and paste from the example below.
  1. Modify character positions 7-21 on the 7 record to match character positions 80-94 of the 6 record you are returning. 
  2. Modify character positions 28-35 on the 7 record to match character positions 80-87 of the 6 record. 
  3. Finally, match character positions 80-94 on the 7 record to match character positions 80-94 of the 6 record.
  1. Save, and import as return file.

Here is a diagram that shows the changes:




Chris Haug


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