Check Processing

R26 ACH Return Code: Mandatory Field Error

Read Time: 3 min

When processing Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments, you may experience occasional declines. This is a normal, even expected occurrence for this payment method. In fact, if you’re reading this, you’ve likely come across ACH return code R26. In this post, we explain what an ACH return is, what ACH return code R26 means, and how to resolve an R26 return code so you can get paid.

Note: If you have received a different ACH return code, please refer to our complete list of ACH return codes to learn more.

What is an ACH return?

Before digging into ACH return code R26 specifically, we’ll define what we’re talking about—ACH returns.

An ACH transaction is an electronic funds transfer (EFT) occurring over the ACH Network. The Automated Clearing House is the network in the United States used by participating banks and other financial institutions to authorize transactions and move money. Some common examples of ACH transactions include eChecks, recurring payments, and direct deposits.

An ACH return, on the other hand, is a failed ACH transaction. There are many reasons an ACH transaction may fail, including insufficient funds, a closed bank account, and an incorrect amount. In total, there are 80 different ACH return codes. The specific ACH return code you receive with the declined transaction (in this case, ACH return code R26) tells you exactly what went wrong with the transaction in question.

What Does ACH Return Code R26 Mean?

white puzzle with one missing piece showing purple background - ACH Return Code R26

Now that we’ve reviewed the basics of ACH payments and returns, let’s dive into the R26 ACH return code.

This error code means that a crucial piece of information is missing or incorrect. Most commonly, this error is due to a miskeyed entry. If you have received this return code, your transaction was not sent to your customer’s bank at all. It instead declined on your end of the transaction.

ACH return code R26 is an operator reject code. This means that the ACH operator received data that did not meet the criteria for acceptance needed to process. For example, a formatting specification was not met.

Formal definition

The formal definition of the R26 return code is as follows: “Erroneous data or missing data in a mandatory field.”[1]CBS Bank. “Quick Reference Guide: ACH Return Reason Codes & Time Frames“. Accessed February 14, 2022.

Solutions to Fix R26 Return Code

Generally, processing ACH payments is frictionless, but occasionally you’ll receive ACH returns. To fix the R26 return code, you need to correct the erroneous or missing data. Look at the data submitted for processing and double-check for typos and/or empty fields. To complete this transaction, here are the potential solutions:

  • If it was a simple error or typo, try the transaction with the corrected data.
  • On the other hand, if the data you entered is correct and matches what you received from your customer, contact your customer. Let them know why the transaction declined and double-check your data against theirs.
  • If this does not work, you may need the customer to offer another bank account or form of payment.
  • Finally, if all else fails, request the product or service be returned to you, if applicable, due to failed payment.

Note: There is no option for recourse with this decline code (i.e. you will not be able to dispute this transaction or have it reversed in your favor).

Article Sources

  1. CBS Bank. “Quick Reference Guide: ACH Return Reason Codes & Time Frames“. Accessed February 14, 2022.

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