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Real-time payments #

The RTP® Network is a payments system that was launched by The Clearing House in 2017 as the newest payment rail in the U.S. since the advent of the ACH Network. Payment speed and availability are the primary benefits of utilizing the RTP® Network, as businesses can send and receive payments to eligible bank accounts 24/7/365. In addition, RTP® transfers come with other favorable characteristics, such as greater transparency of payment status that provides confirmation of funds availability to the end user sending or receiving a payment.

The core of the Dwolla Platform was built around a simplified connection to the U.S. banking infrastructure for businesses to easily initiate digital payments via the ACH Network. As the Dwolla Platform evolves, RTP® adds a new processing channel for businesses, providing flexible payment capabilities to build within their own applications.

While RTP® and ACH are similar in many ways, there are some key differences:

ACHRTP®Sent via the ACH Network operators (either the Federal Reserve Bank or The Clearing House).Sent via the RTP® Network operator, The Clearing House.Rules and regulations issued by National Automated Clearing House Association (Nacha).Rules and regulations issued by The Clearing House (TCH).Funds can take 1-3 days to be available.Funds made available within seconds.Agreed-upon processes for correcting erroneous transactions (i.e. reversal requests).Funds are irrevocable once sent (although not guaranteed or required, a request for return of funds may be issued).
Warning
RTP® is a premium feature available for Dwolla customers. Enabling RTP® does require additional Dwolla approvals before getting started. Please contact Sales or your account manager for more information on enabling this account feature.

Use cases and characteristics #

The RTP® Network supports credit “push” transfers, whereas ACH supports credit push as well as debit pull transfers. RTP® is particularly suited to support disbursement use cases. Whether your business is built around B2B, B2C or a combination, you can power your application with RTP®.

  • Balance Funded Transfers - The RTP® Network is a good funds model, and to initiate transfers through the Dwolla Platform, funds must be available in the sender’s Dwolla balance.
  • Credit Sends Only - RTP® transactions are all credits. The RTP® Network does include “Requests for Payment,” but only a very small number of financial institutions support this, and it still relies on a credit to be initiated by the payer upon receiving the request. As adoption of Request for Payment increases among businesses, we expect more FIs will support this feature.
  • RTP® Enabled Financial Institutions - More than 56% of FIs support RTP®, with adoption growing at an aggressive pace.

Identifying an RTP®-enabled Funding Source #

On the Dwolla Platform, Funding Sources allow bank accounts to be added or retrieved. Available for both a Dwolla Master Account and Customers (end-users) resources, funding sources have represented payment accounts used for ACH, Wire, and/or Push-to-Debit activities. Dwolla will be able to identify a bank account as RTP®-enabled upon creation of a Funding Source, so no additional information is needed from your end users or application.

Retrieving an RTP®-enabled Funding Source

When retrieving an existing Funding Source resource from the API, the response will contain a “channels” attribute which represents the different capabilities available for transfers. For a bank account, historically the only values available have been “ach” and “wire”. The example below represents how “real-time-payments” is returned within the “channels” array to identify an RTP®-eligible account.

json
"channels": [
  "ach",
  "real-time-payments"
]

Initiating an RTP® credit transfer #

In order to initiate a transfer with RTP® processing, an optional processingChannel JSON object must be included in the transfer request. The processingChannel object contains the destination key with a value of real-time-payments. This processingChannel object will be returned when retrieving the transfer from the API. Specifying the destination processingChannel with real-time-payments will require a permission to be enabled.

The following example assumes the sending party has funds pre-loaded to their balance Funding Source and that the destination party has a bank account connected that is RTP®-enabled.

JavaScript
var requestBody = {
  _links: {
    source: {
      href:
        "https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/funding-sources/b268f6b9-db3b-4ecc-83a2-8823a53ec8b7",
    },
    destination: {
      href:
        "https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/funding-sources/ecf993e2-fa22-4cea-8022-c7861200288f",
    },
  },
  amount: {
    currency: "USD",
    value: "10000.00",
  },
  processingChannel: {
    destination: "real-time-payments",
  },
};

appToken
  .post("transfers", requestBody)
  .then((res) => res.headers.get("location")); // => 'https://api.dwolla.com/transfers/636de847-7d02-e711-80ee-0aa34a9b2388'

Webhook notifications #

Webhooks notification events will be processed in the same sequence as an ACH transfer. The primary difference is that once the transfer is created, the completion or failure events will be triggered moments later rather than days. The specific events include -

Event TopicDescriptioncustomer_bank_transfer_createdSent when the RTP® transfer is createdcustomer_bank_transfer_failedSent if the RTP® transfer fails*customer_bank_transfer_completedSent if the RTP® transfer is completed successfullycustomer_funding_source_channels_updatedSent when a funding source is identified as RTP® eligible

*Based on responses from TCH and Cross River Bank, we will provide more descriptive failure reasons.

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Financial institutions play an important role in our network.

Dwolla, Inc. is the operator of a software platform that communicates user instructions for funds transfers to our financial institution partners.

Dwolla is an agent of Veridian Credit Union. All ACH and Wire transfers are performed by Veridian Credit Union. Your Dwolla Balance, if any, is held in one or more pooled holding accounts held by Veridian Credit Union. These funds may not be eligible for share insurance by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

Sponsorship and Settlement of Push-to-Debit payment services provided by MetaBank®, N.A.
Push-to-Debit payments are typically available within 30 minutes.

Real-Time Payments are performed by Cross River Bank, which holds funds on behalf of the Receiver of such transactions in one or more pooled custodial accounts. These funds are not subject to FDIC pass-through deposit insurance.