Check Processing

R15 ACH Return Code: Beneficiary or Account Holder Deceased

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ach return code r15

Before you learn more about ACH payments and return code R15, it helps to define ACH. ACH stands for Automated Clearing House – an electronic means of transferring payments from and to bank accounts. Familiarizing yourself with some of the 80 ACH return codes helps your company operate more efficiently. Some of the more common ACH returns include insufficient funds, invalid account numbers, or cancellations.

It also helps to find out more about how ODFI and RDFI operate when decoding a code, such as the R15 return code:

ODFI stands for Originating Depository Financial Institution. An ODFI assists an originator in sending bank transactions via an ACH operator. Most major banks have ODFI approval to put through ACH transactions. Payment gateways, payment processors, and ACH payment APIs are also ODFIs.

A Receiving Depository Financial Institution (RDFI) is the bank that receives entries from an ACH operator for credit or debit to customer accounts. Banks and third-party payment processors are authorized as an RDFI so customers can accept ACH funds.

What Does ACH Return Code R15 Mean?

If you receive an ACH return code R15, it means the beneficiary or account holder is deceased. When receiving this code, remember that a beneficiary and account holder do not have to be the same person.

Formal Definition.

When you receive an R15 ACH return code, you are faced with two possible scenarios:

1. The account’s beneficiary has died. The beneficiary is the person who, upon the death of the account holder, received the right to use the account.

2. The owner of the bank account (not a beneficiary) has died. This person is not a representative payee, but the actual account owner. A representative payee is someone appointed by the Social Security Administration to receive payments for the owner of a bank account who cannot manage the payments themself.

Solutions to Fix an R15 Return Code

The way you handle an R15 return code depends on the payment situation, or the type of payment transaction. Therefore, what you do depends on the type of payment being processed. Is the payment a tenant payment or a remittance to a vendor or landlord?

For tenant payments, association payments, or for rental application fees, you should contact the applicant or resident before you take further action. Ask them how you should proceed.

In the case of rental owner or vendor payments, get in touch with the vendor or rental owner to see how you should process the transaction. Get the e-payment information from a voided check, if one is available.

If you cannot obtain a voided check, contact the account holder’s bank and get a letter or another official form for payment processing.

Final Thoughts

To handle an R15 ACH return code, you need to determine the type of payment being processed so you know who to contact about further processing. In some cases, you may need to contact a deceased account holder’s or beneficiary’s bank to receive the guidance needed to ensure successful ACH processing.



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