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FedACH Risk® RDFI Alert Service Frequently Asked Questions

Federal Reserve Financial Services is committed to providing the answers and information you need. Answers to many of our customers' most frequently asked questions can be found using the links below.

If your question is not answered by the information provided on the site, Contact provides a comprehensive list of service and support contacts who can assist you.

What is the FedACH Risk RDFI Alert Service, and How Does It Work?

  1. What is the FedACH Risk RDFI Alert Service, and what does it do?

    For detailed information, please also visit the FedACH Risk RDFI Alert Service page. RDFI Alert is one of the services in the Federal Reserve Banks’ suite of FedACH Risk Management Services.

    This service allows an RDFI to monitor its incoming FedACH® files, batches and items against certain criteria it establishes.

    With RDFI Alert monitoring at the file level, you can use three criteria to define what you believe to be extraordinary conditions at the FedACH file level. The three criteria are a debit threshold, a credit threshold and/or an item/addenda count (file size) threshold. You can monitor for extraordinary conditions by setting debit and/or credit dollar value thresholds and/or by setting file size thresholds (item and addenda count), which will apply to all files which contain your RDFI batches.

    When FedACH distributes a file that contain batches that together exceed any file thresholds or meet batch or item-level criteria, FedACH sends notice to email addresses that you have designated. The email addresses may be internal to your institution or, in the case of item-level alerts, be those of your account holders. The email notifies designated email recipients that the service has found a match to one or more of your established criteria. For institutional-level file or batch criteria it directs recipients to FedACH Information Services for detailed information. For item-level alerts to your account holders, the email contains an attachment of corresponding information.

    Alerts at the batch and item-level alert can be built from combinations of criteria such as SEC code, originator company ID and immediate/same day settlement. Item-level alerts are set up by your receiving customer account numbers so that alerts can be emailed directly to them.

  2. How does the RDFI Alert service work?

    For detailed information, also visit the FedACH Risk RDFI Alert Service page. By accessing FedACH Information Services, you enter alert email contacts and alert thresholds. The service will monitor each file distributed by FedACH and containing your RDFI batches against your specified thresholds. If the service finds a match to your established criteria, it sends an informational alert email at the time of file distribution to your designated email addresses.

How Does the FedACH Risk RDFI Alert Service Benefit our Institution?

  1. What are the benefits of the service?

    For detailed information, also visit the FedACH Risk RDFI Alert Service page. The service helps you protect your bank and your customers from the consequences of large errors and possible originator fraud. It can provide your receiving account holders with information on their incoming ACH entries such as large debits or credits or a snapshot of all inclearing ACH items.

    The service searches for file and batch-level criteria matches at the time of each file distribution throughout the processing day. If it finds a match to established criteria, it sends an email at the time of FedACH file distribution to designated email addresses. Alerts may be sent earlier in the day than you, or your receiving point, typically process FedACH payments. This can give you earlier warning of potential problems and provide time to research and take corrective action, such as returning an erroneous transaction, verifying the amount, or confirming transactions with your receiver. The service searches for matches to item-level criteria at the end of the ACH processing day. The service allows you to proactively manage incoming ACH files, positioning you to detect problems and act on them before receiving calls from customers or before having to fund your Federal Reserve account and lets you provide ACH information to your account holders.

  2. How do RDFI Alert criteria at the file and batch level help our bank manage its Federal Reserve account balance?

    The RDFI Alert Service allows you, the RDFI, to establish threshold dollar values for incoming FedACH files and/or batches. FedACH creates files prior to the posting of the settlement to your Federal Reserve account and sends any alert emails to your designated email contacts at the time of file distribution. If you receive a file or batch exceeding your thresholds, the service alerts you to the condition, making you aware of potential significant value impact to your Federal Reserve account.

What Is the Pricing for the Service?

  1. What is the price of the service?

    Please refer to the FedACH Services Fee Schedule for the current fees associated with the FedACH Risk RDFI Alert service.

How Do We Sign Up?

  1. How do we sign up for the service?

    To use the service, you will need to subscribe to FedACH Information Services via the FedLine Web or FedLine Advantage access solution. Once your institution has access to the FedACH Information Services screens, you sign up for the service by submitting Part 6C (PDF) of the FedACH Participation Agreement. If you are unsure of your FedACH sales representative or customer support contact information, you can find it on Contact.

What are the Thresholds and Email Alerts?

  1. Why would we want to set a file-level threshold for transaction (item and addenda) count?

    Item/addenda count is a proxy for the size of a file. While the best indicator of significant impact to the RDFI will be the dollar value, an abnormal file size can be an indicator of fraud or an indication of a large error. Identifying this condition early may prevent a customer service issue.

  2. How many alert email contact addresses can we set up in the service?

    The RDFI Alert Service allows you to define up to five email addresses. Email addresses may be within your institution or at your account holder's organization and may include those of your FedACH processor. If more than five contacts are required, you can send the message to a shared email address for distribution to a group.

  3. What information is contained in the alert email?

    Alert email is generated by the service when a threshold is exceeded or a criteria is matched. For file-level alerts, this email identifies the file in question by file ID modifier and provides information about the file. This information includes the debit and credit dollar value of the file, the number of item/addenda contained in the file, the active thresholds used to trigger the notification, and the file identifier. The email provides links to direct someone with access to the FedLine Web screens where more information about batches can be found. Similar information is provided for batch-level alerts. Item-level alerts carry an attachment of the information matching the item-level criteria.

  4. When would an alert email be sent to our contacts?

    The service sends alert emails when a FedACH file exceeds one or more alert thresholds or batch-level criteria are met. FedACH creates four files per day and, in addition, receiving points can request a file on demand. Whenever an outgoing (output) file is created, the service will compare the totals of the batches contained in the file associated with your RDFI RTN to the threshold values or batch criteria to batch-level criteria. The alert email will only be sent when a dollar value or item/addenda count exceeds any file thresholds you have defined or when a match to batch-level criteria is found. The service searches for matches to item-level criteria at the end of the FedACH processing day and sends email alerts if matches to any item-level criteria are found.

  5. What types of file-level thresholds can we set for the alert criteria?

    The RDFI Alert Service allows you to monitor your incoming FedACH files at the file level. Thresholds can be set for debit and/or credit dollar value and/or for transaction (items and addenda) count. Once thresholds are set, all batches associated with your RDFI RTN contained in the outgoing file will be summarized at the file level for debit and/or credit value and/or item/addenda count. The same thresholds apply to all your files and to all of your receipt points. A threshold value of zero means any files exceeding a cumulative debit, credit and/or item/addenda count value greater than zero will trigger an alert. A blank threshold value means files will not be monitored for value and/or count. The service sends an alert email if one or more threshold values are exceeded.

  6. What guidance is available to help us select our file-level thresholds?

    One consideration for the RDFI when setting file-level thresholds is how many alerts you want to receive in a day. If you choose low file-level thresholds, you may receive many alerts. If you choose high file-level thresholds, you may receive only a few alerts but might miss being alerted to issues warranting attention. To help you set reasonable file-level thresholds, FedACH Information Services provides historical data about file size. You can use the "Search for Batch" feature in FedACH Information Services on the FedLine Web Solution. This feature shows the debit and credit values and the item/addenda count for all files received for the last 10 business days. The information is available to download into a spreadsheet for compilation and review. This is one way to determine what the value and volume of a "normal" file might be for your RDFI.

  7. How will the service use the file-level thresholds to determine when to alert us?

    The RDFI Alert Service allows you to monitor FedACH files at the file level. Once file-level thresholds are set, all batches associated with your RDFI RTN contained in the outgoing file will be summarized at the file level for debit and/or credit value and/or item/addenda count. The service will send an alert email when a threshold value is exceeded.

  8. Once alerted to a file exceeding a threshold, how do we view the contents of the file?

    You will receive an alert email to notify you of the file that exceeded an alert threshold. The email will contain a file ID modifier. You will use the file ID modifier to search for "Received" files within the "Search for Batch" screens of FedACH Information Services. If a file contains more than the current 2,000 batches per search limitation, you will need to use search criteria such as SEC code to partition the file into smaller parts more suitable for the FedLine Web display.

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