Which Is Better/Faster: ACH Or Check?

  |     |   173 posts since 2011

I've got a CD maturing at Navy tomorrow whose cash proceeds I want to get over to Merchants. Merchants no longer allows ACH drafts on their end, so I'm stuck with pushes from Navy -- whose daily limit, I learned today, is a mere $5k.

So I'm thinking to use Chase as an intermediary. From past experience, I don't think they have problems pulling or pushing large sums. So I could use Chase to pull from Navy, and then push to Merchants.

My question is, instead of an ACH pull from Navy (initiated at Chase) whether, for expediency's sake, it's actually better tomorrow to simply deposit into Chase a personal check drawn on my Navy checking account.

Bottom line, I'm wondering which fund transfer process -- ACH, or check -- would be more "trusted" in order to have my money available sooner, at Chase . . . in order to then push to Merchants. Does it make any difference? (As an experiment, I thought I might split the CD cash, pulling half to Chase via ACH, and writing Chase a check from Navy for the other half.)

Unstated is that I'm disinclined to pay Navy's $14 wire transfer fee, in order to send my matured CD's cash directly over to Merchants.

  |     |   465 posts since 2011
This might sound harsh and I do not want to leave that impression. This might sound curt, or even nasty, but I assure you I have no such intent whatsoever. I realize this is the internet and people here are nasty and disrespectful routinely. Please do not categorize this post that way. I'm just being straightforward:

If a very modest $14 wire fee troubles you, I have to assume it is a rather small amount of money you are moving. I mean, if it's anything over ten or fifteen thousand I would take that $14 wire fee bargain in a heartbeat rather that deal with the check hold policies at a place like Chase. And Chase ACH, do they offer overnight service both in and out? You do not say. If not, all the more reason to seize upon that cheap wire fee. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Speaking in general, consigning funds to the tender mercies of Chase in an effort to save a mere $14, which would be VERY well spent, makes no sense to me whatsoever.
  |     |   579 posts since 2015
I'm with NYCDoug on avoiding the wire transfer fee. Merchants Bank of Indiana offers a 0.75% APY on its money market account. Kaight wrote that if the amount is over $15,000, pay the wire transfer fee. On $20,000, you would earn $0.41 per day at Merchants. That would take you quite a while to make up the fourteen dollar fee.

So, if we're talking $20,000, I'd avoid the wire transfer fee. If we're talking $1,000,000 -- that's a different story.

As to depositing funds with Chase via check vs. ACH: Regardless of Chase's ACH transfer speeds, I would avoid depositing a check.

When you deposit a check, the bank can, under certain circumstances, impose a hold longer than that specified in its funds availability schedule. And bank employees can make mistakes in coding deposits.

And I've run into problems with banks putting ridiculous holds on checks, for no apparent reason -- on several occasions, it was a real pain to struggle with the bank to make the funds available.

ETA: My recommendation for using ACH rather than depositing a check is not specific to Chase. I have no experience with Chase checking or savings accounts.
  |     |   465 posts since 2011
I get your math. But it's not always about the math. He is offering a Chase alternative! This is all. I would pay the fourteen bucks just to keep the money out of Chase's hands should a check be involved. However, he carefully avoids telling us about Chase's ACH speeds and holds, if any. Does he think we already know about that? I do not.

So sure, if Chase can offer him overnight, free, ACH with no availability holds, then it might be OK to allow them to become involved. That would be the same as the service I obtain from Alliant and use almost every day as I move funds. I trust Alliant. I do not trust Chase.

We do agree that doing anything at Chase involving a paper check is seriously ill advised.  Only God knows what cockamamie stunt Chase might pull under those circumstances.  The sky's the limit.
  |     |   579 posts since 2015
Since Kaight brought up the matter of Chase's ACH policies:

Chase's FAQs on ACH transfers is at https://www.chase.com/digital/transfer

According to the FAQs:

"Most Chase accounts have a $25,000 per day limit. Chase Private Client and Chase Sapphire Banking limits are $100,000 per day."

"For transfers to/from a non-Chase account, it typically takes 1-2 business days to complete."

"we don't charge a fee."

My editorial comment: I really dislike being told how long a transfer "typically takes", without being provided information as to how long it could "atypically take", or what situations are atypical.
  |     |   173 posts since 2011
Kaight might be right ~ less headaches with the $14 wire fee (and a promised reversal of the receiving fee on Merchants end).

And Alan hit my head on the nail, when I ran up against Chase's $25k daily ACH limit.

So, to get a remaining $150k over to Merchants (having already trimmed some away with Navy's $5k limit) I opted to simply send Merchants a personal check from Navy . . . this following some friendly back-and-forth with one of Merchants' personable, high-caliber CSRs ~ a "NuFund Deposit Officer."

My check should be "back home in Indiana" by the end of the week, and I figured I'd rather have the hold on it, if any, whilst already deposited at my destination account (Merchants), rather than ransomed by some handsome, robber baron middleman (Chase).

Doing the math on $150k, at .75% APY (Merchants) the opportunity cost that is lost is about $21/week, or $3/day. So if I wired from Navy, at $14, it's pretty much a wash if the deposit posts in 3~4~5 days. [It's never been clear to me whether weekend "days" are counted when accruing interest].

Thank you both, Alan & Kaight, for setting me straight with all your research, and your kid glove handling of advice. The errant path here would seem to be chasing shortcuts through Chase; the obstacle course, an artifact of Merchants' abandonment of ACH origination. (Something, by the way, that my NuFund Deposit Officer seemingly confirmed was precipitated by fraud -- as mentioned elsewhere on this forum. "One rotten apple" ruining things for all was her politically correct, veiled description.)

Anyway, fingers crossed that my check arrives in a reasonable time frame, and is deposited without delay. But yes, in the future -- when feeling more "flush" -- I might forego all the aggravation, and simply opt for a wire transfer. (My first ever; call me a naive wire virgin; I had no idea that $14 was relatively cheap in the grand scheme of things, or the world of wire transfers.)

Thank you again for accompanying me, and advising me, on this blind adventure!
  |     |   465 posts since 2011
Oh, my. Well we now have SO much more information than was in the OP! I mean, good heavens, it appears he is moving over one hundred fifty thousand dollars!! At that point, for me anyway, a cheap $14 Fedwire becomes a screaming no brainer. It's like a gift NFCU gives you, same day service, better even than my Alliant overnight service, for a measly fourteen bucks. Cheep cheep. What's not to like?!!

I personally have paid more than double that $14 gift horse to move significantly less money, though still up in the many tens of thousands. A Fedwire transfer is a one shot, "git 'er done quickly" solution when the numbers become large.


Slightly off the topic, but I probably should add this:

Fedwire from east to west is, like I said, an easy no-brainer.

Fedwire from west to east is good, too, but you must pay more attention to the clock.  You need to be certain your western originator, say in California, gets their Fedwire work done early enough so the money reaches the east, say in New York, before the receiving financial institution's wire room closes for the day.  These times vary all over the place at both ends.  Course worst case your same day Fedwire becomes an overnight transfer instead.  But overnight is something you should try to avoid since, most often, you are paying for the Fedwire.

As far as the "in system" delay goes, I usually allow a couple of hours, but it can be faster than that, or slower if your originating financial institution lacks direct access to Fedwire and uses an intermediary instead.

Personally I've never had a wire transfer go overnight, but then I generally do my homework in advance so all the ducks are lined up properly before I let 'er rip.
  |     |   1,042 posts since 2010
Re whether to pay the $14 fee, the amount to be transferred can make the decision – if that were the only fast way. But it is not the only fast way. You do not have to use the banking system to transfer the money.

And don’t forget, ACH or check, there will be holds on the deposit at Chase, and then the time for the ACH again.

You can also just mail the check in, 55¢ postage. In theory, that is supposed to take no more than three days in the post office. But since the new postmaster general took over, yes, there are delays in mail delivery, not so reliable as it used to be. But it is an option.

But you can send via the post office via two-day flat rate priority mail for only $7.95. If you got that in tomorrow, the bank would get it on Friday, and from tracking, you could even see when they got it, so to too often stories blaming delays on the post office or the ACH or the other bank would not hold up.

They could open the CD on Friday. Monday is the next business day, and if you use regular mail starting tomorrow, the bank certainly would have it by Monday, five days later.

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