What Merchants Need to Know About the Electronic Funds Transfer Act

If you’re a merchant, it’s important to understand how the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) impacts your business. The EFTA is a federal law that regulates electronic transfers of funds from one party to another. This law sets out rules and regulations for merchants when they accept payments electronically, whether it’s over the phone, online, or through an automated payment system. Let’s take a closer look at what this law covers and how it affects merchants like you.

Consumer Protection

The most important provision of the EFTA is its consumer protection provisions. It requires financial institutions to provide consumers with certain disclosures in order for them to make informed decisions about their transactions. These include details such as fees associated with the transfer and potential liability in case of errors or unauthorized transfers. Financial institutions must also provide consumers with protections against unauthorized use of their accounts. For example, if a customer’s account is used without authorization, he or she may be able to recoup any losses up to $50 without filing a claim—provided they file it within two days of discovering the unauthorized use.

Internet Transactions

The EFTA outlines how customers can manage their financial accounts remotely, including transferring money between different accounts or paying bills and making purchases. For instance, you can easily move funds from your checking account to a savings account in just a few clicks.

Dispute Resolution Processes

The EFTA also sets out dispute resolution processes for when something goes wrong in an electronic funds transfer transaction. For example, if a customer believes that an error has occurred in their account, they can file a dispute with their financial institution within 60 days of receiving their statement. The institution must then investigate the claim and respond within 45 days. If it finds that an error did indeed occur, it must correct it immediately and credit any lost funds back into the customer’s account.

Technologies for Implementing a Risk-Based Approach

In order for businesses to effectively implement a risk-based approach to AML compliance in 2023, they will need to invest in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), blockchain technology, and robotic process automation (RPA). These technologies provide the necessary tools for organizations to quickly identify areas of risk within their operations so that they can take steps to mitigate them before they become serious issues. Additionally, these technologies enable organizations to monitor transactions more closely in order to detect any suspicious activity or attempted frauds early on in the process.

Electronic Checks

The EFTA provides directions on how to easily access your financial accounts online or transfer money between accounts, as well as make payments and purchase things. For example, transferring funds from a checking account to a savings account is made possible with the guidelines of this agreement.

Regulations on Fees & Charges

The EFTA also sets out limits on fees and charges imposed by financial institutions for electronic funds transfers. For example, banks cannot charge customers more than 25 cents per transaction (with some exceptions). The act also prohibits banks from charging excessive overdraft fees—fees that are higher than what is necessary to cover their costs associated with providing overdraft services—and from charging consumers fees for using ATMs outside of their network if those ATMs are part of a shared network owned by multiple banks. Finally, banks are prohibited from imposing any fee or charge that was not disclosed in advance or agreed upon by the customer prior to engaging in the transaction.

Direct Deposits and Recurring Bill Payments

Through the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), consumers have the option of setting up both direct deposits and recurring payments electronically. This is a great way to manage your regular bills, such as utilities, without having to worry about missing due dates or late fees. The EFTA helps protect these automated financial transactions and ensures that they are processed securely.

Utilizing the EFTA, consumers have the right to cancel their automatic payments at any time. Once initiated, these transfers are debited from a customer’s designated checking, savings, or money market account on a given date each month and sent directly to whatever entity is owed payment. By contacting their financial institution, individuals may choose to end this service at any point in favor of more suitable options.


The Electronic Funds Transfer Act provides several important protections for both customers and merchants alike when engaging in electronic payments transactions. It requires financial institutions to provide clear disclosures about fees and potential liabilities associated with such transactions; sets out dispute resolution processes; and prohibits excessive fees and charges imposed by banks and other financial institutions on customers engaging in such transactions. By understanding these provisions, merchants can ensure they comply with all applicable laws while providing safe and secure payment options for their customers.

At Global Legal Law Firm, our lawyers are familiar with the rapidly changing nature of electronic payments processing, and the ever changing regulations involved, with decades of expertise in ISOs, processors, commercial collections, credit card brands, and other forms of electronic payment processing litigation. Let us guide you through this new and volatile environment, rather than attempting to navigate it on your own.

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