You open up your banking app and see a strange deposit marked “ACH credit.” Are you being scammed? Can you keep the money? And do you need to do anything special to get it?

Today, we’ll take a look at what ACH credits are, and how you can use them to send and receive money. We’ll also cover how your business can save money by using ACH, and how to get started today.

ACH payments come in two flavors; credit or debit. The difference between the two lies in who initiates the transaction, and whether they’re “pushing” or “pulling” the money in your account.

Keep in mind that not all online bill pay or subscriptions are handled via the ACH network. They may also use credit card, debit card, or wire transfer. Why does that matter? ACH payments are generally safer, cheaper, and more easily reversible.

If the transaction asks for your bank account or checking information, instead of your credit or debit card, it’s probably using the ACH network.

Of course, you should always use caution when entering your personal information online. Stick to trusted websites that use up-to-date methods of security.

As a business owner, be sure to choose a payment processor that provides secure payment entry and keeps your customers’ data encrypted.

There’s typically no cost to receive an ACH credit, but there may be fees involved if you’re the one sending it.

The cost of sending an ACH credit depends on the payment processor your business uses. These costs may include:

Be aware that some payment processors may also charge monthly service fees or initial setup charges. Make sure to compare total costs when considering a payment provider.

If you’re on the receiving end of an ACH credit, it’s probably already in your bank account by the time you heard about it.

If you’re the one initiating an ACH credit, most experts recommend to budget for 3-5 business days for a standard ACH transaction. ACH rules require credits to be processed within 1-2 business days, but that depends on when the request was received. It also doesn’t include weekends or holidays.

Some ACH credits may be eligible for same-day or next-day processing, so you should ask your payment provider about those services.

Individuals aren’t typically able to send ACH credits. Usually, an individual making a payment through ACH is actually authorizing an ACH debit.

To receive an ACH credit, you’ll need to provide the sender with the same information you’d find on a paper check. This includes your:

If you’re making a payment instead (an ACH debit), you’ll also provide an authorization for a certain dollar amount.

Either way, the business should provide you with a secure method to enter in these details.

After you’ve got your payment processor and your payment gateway, you’re all set to start making ACH credits.

As a recipient, you can rest easy that the ACH credit in your account is a trusted form of payment.

As a business, you can extend that same trust to your customers by offering ACH as an option. ACH payments are safe, simple, and can save you money.