What Does Return Mobile ACH Payment Mean?


    Key Takeaways

    • ACH Transaction Problems: Whenever an issue arises with a direct debit or credit card transaction processed through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) method, the involved parties send a code to identify the problem.
    • Common ACH Return Codes: These are usually due to incorrectly entered information or insufficient funds. However, they can also reflect issues with authorization and more.
    • Understanding ACH Returns: An ACH return occurs when the ACH fails to charge money from a customer’s account. The ACH return code reveals more about the problem’s source.
    • ACH Payment Processing: Five parties are involved – Originator, Originating Depository Financial Institution (ODFI), ACH Operator, Receiving Depository Financial Institution (RDFI), and Receiver. If an issue occurs, usually the RDFI sends an ACH return message.

    If you are using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) method to process customers’ transactions, you are likely to see three-digit codes if a problem arises.

    Whenever there is an issue with a direct debit or credit card transaction, one of the parties involved in the payment processing will send a code. This code is your key to fixing or at least identifying what has blocked the transaction.

    Some of the most common ACH return codes are caused by incorrectly entered information or insufficient funds available, while others can be more complicated and include issues with authorization and more.

    Scroll down and search for the code you are looking for.

    What Are ACH returns?

    Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments are electronic payment processing carried out between two financial institutions (e.g., banks).

    An ACH return means that the ACH failed to charge money from a customer’s account. When it happens, there is always an ACH return code that gives more information about the source of the problem.

    There are two main ACH payment methods: direct deposits and direct payments:

    • ACH direct deposits: Whenever you need to deposit your money to someone’s account, you can do it through ACH direct deposits. It is a kind of payment that goes from a commercial account holder to a consumer. Common ACH direct deposits include payrolls, benefits, tax refunds, or interest payments.
    • ACH direct payments: These payments are electronically transferred from one bank account to another.

    How Does an ACH Transaction Work?

    ACH or automated clearing house as electronic money transfer out

    To understand why ACH returns appear, you need to know how they work in the first place. There are five parties involved in making the payment processing go through:

    1. Originator
      This is a person who submits an ACH transfer to the ODFI.
    2. Originating Depository Financial Institution (ODFI)
      The ODFI receives the request from the Originator and passes it to the ACH Operator.
    3. ACH Operator
      The ACH Operator links the two accounts by processing transactions (e.g., clearing, delivery, settlement).
    4. Receiving Depository Financial Institution (RDFI)
      The RDFI is the bank that is being charged or refunded. It receives the ACH entry and submits it to the Receiver.
    5. Receiver
      The receiver is the individual or company that allows the Originator to initiate an ACH entry.

    If there is a problem with the payment processing, it is usually the RDFI that sends an ACH return message. In rare cases, you may have the ACH Operator or ODFI do that. It is always one of the parties involved that sends the error code, which is, in turn, provided by the National Automated Clearing House.

    Why Do ACH Returns Happen?

    ACH return occurs when the payment cannot be processed for any particular reason. The payment is rejected, and the code pops up, indicating the exact cause of the problem.

    To understand the code, you need to have its definition. There are over 80 ACH return codes; we will look at the most common ones. Go ahead and search for the one you need or bookmark this page in case you see an ACH return code for the first time.

    What Are ACH Return Codes?

    There are ten most common ACH return codes that you are likely to see.


    Reason for return ACH return code Description Time Frame
    Insufficient funds R01 The bank account you requested money from does not have sufficient funds 2 banking days
    Account closed  R02 The account you requested money from has been closed 2 banking days
    No Account/Unable to locate account R03 The account number does not match the customer’s name/ The account does not exist 2 banking days
    Invalid account number R04 There is an error in the account number (e.g., incorrect digits) 2 banking days
    Unauthorized debit to consumer account using Corporate SEC code R05 The account number of a customer is a personal bank account, not a corporate one (in cases of B2B payments) 60 calendar days
    Returned due to ODFI’s request R06 Authorization was failed (e.g., in cases of fraudulent payments) Undefined
    Authorization revoked by customer R07 A customer who authorized the ACH payment has withdrawn it 60 calendar days
    Payment stopped R08 A customer has issued a stop payment, which cancels a transaction 2 banking days
    Unable to collect funds R09 A payment wasn’t completed because of lack of funds 2 banking days
    Originator not known or not authorized to Debit Receiver’s Account R10 A transaction was incomplete or incorrectly submitted 60 calendar days


    Other ACH return codes are likely to occur, and they are:


    Reason for return ACH return code Description
    Check truncation entry return R11 The debit entry stated the incorrect amount/The debit entry was debited before it was authorized
    Branch sold to another DFI R12 The bank was sold to another Depository Financial Institution (DFI). The purchasing bank will continue to process entries submitted by accounts from the old branch
      Invalid ACH routing number R13 An ACH transfer cannot be completed due to an incorrect routing number
    Representative payee deceased or unable to continue in that capacity R14 The person to whom you have submitted an entry died
    Beneficiary or account holder deceased R15 A bank account holder or a beneficiary did and cannot continue accepting payments
    Account frozen/entry returned per OFAC instruction R16 The money cannot be collected because the account has been frozen due to a legal action against it
    File record edit criteria R17 There is no valid account number or it was created under unclear circumstances
    Improper effective entry date R18 The entry date that was added is invalid
    Amount field error R19 The amount was entered incorrectly (e.g., non-numeric characters)
    Non-transaction account R20 The account has been prohibited or limited
    Invalid company identification R21 The company ID has not been accepted (e.g., it is invalid because of a typo)
    Invalid individual ID number R22 A payment has been submitted incorrectly (e.g., a customer could enter incorrect information)
    Credit entry refused by the receiver R23 The entry was refused because (1) the Receiver doesn’t recognize the Originator; (2) the amount wasn’t received; (3) the minimum amount required failed to be paid
    Duplicate entry R24 The transaction matches another transaction submitted previously
    Addenda error R25 There is a problem with the addenda record (e.g., types incorrectly, out of sequence, etc.)
    Mandatory field error R26 The information hasn’t been entered into an obligatory field. The submission cannot proceed without this crucial piece of data
    Trace number error R27 Trace number of an addenda doesn’t match the trace number of the entry detail record/the trace number is not present in the addenda record
    Routing number check digit error R28 An ACH return has occurred because the routing number is entered incorrectly
    Corporate customer advises not authorized R29 The Receiver has informed the RDFI that the originator is not authorized to process payments on their account
    RDFI not a participant in check truncation program R30 The RDFI cannot process a payment without a physical check
    Permissible Return Entry R31 The RDFI requests to return a CCD or CTX Entry
    RDFI non-settlement R32 The RDFI failed to reach a settlement and couldn’t approve the transaction
    Return of XCK entry R33 The RDFI decides to return an XCK Entry
    Limited participation RDFI R34 The RDFI is denied or limited in participation
    Return of improper debit history R35 The Return Entry was caused by an improperly submitted debit entry
    Return of improper credit history R36 The Return Entry was caused by an improperly submitted credit entry
    Source document presented for payment R37 The source document that was presented for payment relates to an ARC (Accounts Receivable Conversion), BOC (Back Office Conversion), and POP (Point-of-Purchase).


    Other Less Common ACH Status Codes

    Here is a list of other less known and frequent ACH return codes. They only occur in specific situations, so you are unlikely to see many of them if not none.


    Reason for return ACH return code Description
    Stop payment on source document R38 A stop payment has been issued on a source document
    Improper source document or source document presented for payment  R39 The RDFI considers the source document improper
    Return of ENR entry by Federal Government Agency R40 The envelope with a credit entry has been returned
    Invalid transaction code R41 The standards of the Enrollment (ENR) Entry weren’t met
    Routing number or check digit error R42 The routing number or check digit is invalid
    Invalid DFI account number  R43 The DFI number, which is the recipient’s bank account number, is incorrect
    Invalid individual ID number or identification number  R44 The ID number provided is not correct or does not exist
    Invalid individual name or company name R45 The individual name or company name entered is incorrect
    Invalid representative payee indicator R46 The representative payee indicator code isn’t found in the government records
    Duplicate  enrollment R47 The identical ENR Entry was received from the same  RDFI
    State law affecting RCK acceptance  R50 The RDFI is located in a state where the Uniform Commercial Code hasn’t been adopted or where you need to return cancelled checks back to consumers
    Item related to RCK entry is ineligible or RCK entry is improper R51 An ACH payment is rejected by the National Automated Clearing House (NACHA) because it doesn’t meet the criteria
    Stop payment on item related to RCK entry R52 A stop payment has been initiated on an item which related to the RCK Entry
    Item and RCK entry presented for payment  R53 The item that relates to the RCK Entry has been presented for payment
    Misrouted return R61 The RDFI has presented an invalid routing number in the Receiving DFI Identification
    Return of erroneous or reversing debt R62 An accidental credit entry was given to the Receiver is now being reversed
    Field error(s) R69 One of the fields has not been entered with the correct information
    Permissible Return Entry not accepted or return not requested by ODFI R70 The RDFI has identified the Return Entry and forwarded to the ODFI which hasn’t accepted it or is about to request it.
    Misrouted dishonored return R71 The ODFI placed an incorrect routing number in the Receiving DFI Identification Field
    Untimely dishonored return R72 The dishonored return has not been sent within the given timeframe
    Timely original return  R73 The original return has been sent within the given timeframe
    Corrected return  R74 The RDFI corrected a Return Entry that contained errors (R69)
    Return not a duplicate R75 The entry that was previously sent by RDFI is not a Return Entry
    No errors found  R76 The original Return Entry did not have any errors that were identified by the ODFI in the dishonored Return Entry
    Non-acceptance of R62 dishonored return R77 (1) The RDFI returned both the erroneous entry and the related reversing entry. (2) The R62 funds are not recoverable.


    International ACH Transactions


    Reason for return ACH return code Description
    IAT entry coding errors R80 The IAT Entry is being returned because of (1) an invalid Foreign Exchange; (2) an invalid ISO Destination Currency Code; (3) an invalid ISO Originating Currency Code; (4) invalid Transaction Type Code
    Non-participant in IAT program R81 The Originating Gateway is not in agreement with ODFI to process international entries
    Invalid foreign receiving DFI identification R82 The reference that identifies Foreign Receiving DFI of an Outbound IAT Entry is invalid
    Foreign receiving DFI unable to settle R83 There are settlement problems in the foreign payment system
    Entry not processed by gateway R84 The IAT Entry cannot be processed by the gateway because it does not support transaction processing functions
    Incorrectly coded outbound international payment  R85 There is no information that is required to process a transaction


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can ACH payments be returned?

    Yes, it is possible. There are many reasons that can cause the ACH payment to be returned. The most common ones are related to insufficient funds, incorrectly entered information or issues with an account.

    Is It possible to dispute returned mobile ACH payment?

    Yes, you can dispute returned ACH payment if:


    • It was a duplicate
    • It was misrouted
    • It had incorrect information
    • It did not occur within the designated timeframe
    • It was caused by an accidental credit to the receiver that resulted from the reversal

    How much is an ACH return fee?

    ACH return fees may vary between $2 to $5 per return.

    Final Word

    The ACH return codes occur due to a problem related to your current transaction. It is never a case that the system crashes and asks you to reissue the payment. Always pay attention to the three-digit code you receive and search for the needed information here.

    Chad is a serial entrepreneur and founded Payment Savvy in 2011 armed with the goal of providing high-risk establishments with a pioneering and tailored payment processing solution that allows them to flourish. Having decades of knowledge in the financial services and debt recovery industries, he ensures every client receives the same level of expertise, resourcefulness, and strategic vision no matter the size of the organization. Always willing to push the envelope, Chad’s forward-thinking and leadership skills are responsible for Payment Savvy being on the map as an industry-leading payment processor.


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