ACH Return Codes List

ACH Return Codes List 2024 with Meaning, Explanations and Time Frame

An ACH transaction is one that allows a user to make a transaction without the need for a paper check. ACH is a financial term that stands for “Automated Clearing House” is a financial network that is used in the USA for money transfers.


However, there are times when these transactions don’t go through. This is where ACH Return codes come in. In the course of this article, we will cover a practical guide to ACH return codes. We will also cover what happens when an ACH transaction is returned. Without further mouthing, let us delve in.

What Is An ACH Return Code?

There are times when an ACH transaction does not pull through. Simply put, an ACH return code is a three-character code that indicates the problem behind a failed ACH transaction. Each ACH code has a different meaning.

List of ACH Return Codes, Meaning and Time Frame

In this list, we will not cover all the codes because there are more than 80 ACH return codes. However, we will review the most important ones that we use on a day-to-day basis.

R11 – This code is used when one institution wants to return a check truncation. In the ACH world, R11 represents Check Truncation Entry returns.

R12– When a depository financial institution receives an entry to an account that has been sold to another financial institution in the USA, it will return the ACH return code- R12.

R13- This ACH return code is mostly used for financial transactions that involve invalid ACH routing numbers.

R14- This ACH return code is mostly used when the person meant to receive the payment is deceased or is a legally incapacitated adult.


R15– This ACH return code is specifically used for recipients of ACH transactions that are deceased. In the case of this ACH return code, the beneficiary or account holder can be deceased for this code to be implemented.

R16- This return code is used when the account of the recipient is restricted due to legal action or other actions by the bank. In the use of this ACH return code, the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of Treasury instructs the Returning Depository Financial Institution to return the payment.

R18– This code is used when there is a case of an improper effective entry date. Practically, when the entry date for a credit entry is more than two banking days after the processing banking day, you will wind up with this ACH return code (R18).

R19– This return code is mostly used when the amount intended for the financial transaction is non-numeric, zero, or exceeding $25,000.

R21– This code is mostly used when the details of the receiving company are not accurate. The ACH R21 code indicates that the company identification is not valid.

R24- This ACH return code indicates that there is a duplicate entry of either date, dollar amount, trace amount, and other data that matches other transactions.

R28– This code indicates that there was an error with the Routing Number in the check used for the transaction. When doing an ACH checking transaction, you have to ensure that the check digit provided for the routing number is valid. If it is not, you will wind up with this ACH return code.

R30 – This return code is so because the recipient or RDFI, also known as “Receiving Depository Financial Institution” is not a part of a check truncation program.

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When An ACH Payment Is Returned, What Happens?

First off, ACH debit returns happen as a response to a transaction that occurred in a recipient financial institution. In practice, when a request is made by an ACH operator, and the funds are granted, return codes would be sent along to show the reason for the return. There are over 80 ACH Return codes.


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