ACH transactions and wire transfers are often confused with each other. They are both electronic transfers of money, but they are not the same types of transactions. Wire transfers are typically used for transferring large dollar amounts of funds between banks very quickly. In the United States, wire transfers are processed through the Federal Reserve Wire Network.
The acronym ACH can stand for “Automated Check Handling” or “Automated Clearinghouse.” ACH transactions are electronic checks, and are used for processing lower dollar amount payments. They are processed in a manner similar to that of paper checks, and do not travel directly from one bank to another.
ACH transactions are processed through a clearinghouse divides that handles crediting and deducting accounts of the originating and paying banks. It typically takes one or two days to settle ACH transactions.