Understanding ACH Fees: Comparing ACH Cost to Other Payment Methods

Understanding ACH Fees: Comparing ACH Cost to Other Payment Methods

ACH payments (or ACH transactions or transfers) move funds between financial institutions electronically, eliminating the need for cash, paper checks, and credit card networks. As with most banking transactions, they can involve a range of costs, which are typically competitive with other payment methods.

The exact amount you end up paying for an ACH transaction will depend on multiple factors, such as the way you use the ACH network and the size of your payments. In many cases, these fees will apply if you are a business owner vs. a consumer. Read on to learn more about how ACH pricing works and compares to other payment methods.

What Is an ACH Transfer?

First things first: ACH stands for Automated Clearing House, the network that powers electronic financial transactions. It’s a hub that includes around 10,000 financial institutions and can support payment processing, such as direct payments, electronic checks (eChecks), electronic funds transfers (EFTs), direct debits, and direct deposits. When considering payment apps, like PayPal and Venmo, know that ACH powers those as well.

ACH transfers work similarly to other payment methods. Take your monthly internet bill, for example. If you signed up for autopay, you had to provide your checking account details. You also needed to agree to a scheduled payment.

After the sign-up, your internet provider requests funds from your bank to pay for the cost. From there, your bank processes the ACH transaction as long as you have enough funds. (It’s worth mentioning that ACH payments are quite secure, but there is fraud out there. ACH Positive Pay offers one way to protect yourself if you are concerned about scammers.)

ACH transfers require an initial setup. Following that, you can make bank-to-bank payments using the ACH network. These payments generally fall into two categories: ACH credit and ACH debit. Either way, you may wonder how long an ACH transfer takes. They usually clear within a few business days and for a relatively low cost.

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Typical ACH Payment Fees

As a consumer, you may not pay for ACH processing, though some providers may try to pass along a service charge. In some cases, using ACH may even earn you a discount. For instance, if you automate a home loan payment for a certain date every month, you might be rewarded with a discount on your rate.

However, as a business, you will likely have to spend a bit to conduct ACH business. The usual ACH transfer cost is $0.26 and $0.50, typically landing at $0.40. This means that ACH payments are one of the more affordable options for businesses, although prices may vary depending on the provider you choose to process your payments. That provider is usually known as a third-party payment processor (TPPP).

Here are some standard ACH fees you should be on the lookout for if you accept these payments.

Account Fee

The ACH account fee covers a broad array of costs. It essentially pays for the services needed to manage a payment processing account. These include recording a monthly statement, compliance costs, system maintenance, and transaction monitoring. Generally, your service provider or processor will collect this fee.

ACH Processing Fees

The ACH processing fee covers the expense to send an ACH payment to the recipient’s bank account after going through the Automated Clearing House network. ACH processing fees break up into three categories: debit, credit, and discount, which you’ll now learn about individually.

Debit Fee

The debit fee pays for a customer to make an ACH debit payment to a business. As mentioned above, this ACH debit fee typically costs between $0.20 and $1.50. The charge depends on the risk of the transaction and the type of business.

Credit Fee

ACH credits come into play when a business makes a payment to a third party, vendor, or employee. It’s similar to a debit fee in terms of cost, meaning between $0.20 to $1.50, and it pays for the transaction to be sent through the ACH network.

Higher-risk businesses (which may cluster in certain fields, from financial and travel services, to auctions and tobacco-based businesses) may face an additional charge as well. This can bring the fee to around 0.5% to 1.5% of the payment. In part, this reflects the fact that ACH credit payments tend to be worth a higher dollar amount than ACH debit transactions. As a result, an ACH credit payment is a greater risk for the merchant services provider.

Discount Fee

The name “discount fee” may be misleading for people just learning about ACH charges. It has no connection to discounted prices. Instead, it’s a fee that applies to certain high-risk ACH transactions based on a percentage. With it, payment processors can increase the cost of the service and lessen the risk of the payment.

Other ACH Fees

There are other fees you should know about with ACHs. Because when it comes to paying for financial services, no surprises is often the best policy.

Setup Fee

In some cases, your payment processor may charge you for setup. This one-time fee can be waived sometimes, though; it’s worth inquiring. You’re most likely to be able to avoid the fee if ACH processing comes as an add-on service to another arrangement you’ve made. Alternatively, you can reduce costs by working with a business that does not collect this setup charge.

Monthly Fee

Those who use ACH may also face a unique monthly fee along with processing charges. However, some may be able to pay both fees wrapped into the monthly fee. Usually, this fee costs anywhere from $5 to $30.

Monthly Minimum Fee

This may sound like the monthly fee we just described above, but there may indeed be a monthly minimum fee as well. This is a minimum processing charge that could be assessed in addition to your regular monthly charge. Or it might replace that monthly fee.

Batch Fee

ACH files can contain one or more groupings, called batches. Batches contain one or multiple transactions, and they are sorted based on certain clusters of data. When your ACH transfers are batched in this way, you are charged a batch fee. It’s assessed per each batch processed and is typically under a dollar per batch.

ACH Return Fee

Returning an ACH transfer is possible. However, it usually comes with an ACH return fee that costs between $2 to $5 per transaction.

ACH Chargeback Fee

Customers use chargebacks to dispute what they believe are erroneous payments. This process comes with a chargeback fee, and it’s typically higher than fees for ACH returns. The ACH chargeback fee tends to cost between $5 and $25.

High Ticket Surcharge

The original intention for ACH fees was to apply them to low-ticket (that is, not too pricey) purchases. As a result, there’s an additional charge added for high-ticket transactions. You’ll find that payment processors likely charge a surcharge on purchases over $5,000.

Expedited Processing Fee

You may need expedited processing for an ACH transfer. Depending on the payment processor, this service can come with an additional charge.

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Comparing ACH Fees to Other Payment Methods

When it comes to electronic transactions, you may find that different techniques can sound quite similar. However, processes vary, and so too can fees. Here’s what you need to know about the fees associated with other payment methods.

ACH vs Wire Transfer

Wire transfers are transactions between two financial institutions where each is responsible for verification. In a wire transfer, a bank sends money from one account into another. This process can take little or virtually no time when it occurs within the same bank. However, if the money must transfer between distant or international banks, it can take a bit longer, but it is often viewed as one of the quickest ways to make a payment.

While this can be a fast method, it’s also costly, often averaging between $25 to $45 when sending money and around $15 when you receive funds in this way. As a result, wire transfers may be best for one-time, large payments.

ACH vs Paper Checks

Paper checks are the traditional route for payment processing and may work well if you want to transfer money between banks in a way that avoids electronic transactions. But the overall cost can vary depending on the business’s size, where the checking account is located, and timing.

It’s not unheard of for banks or financial institutions to offer free checking accounts to small businesses. They may even throw in checks at no additional cost. These two selling points, along with low monthly fees, can make paper checks an incredibly cheap financial method.

However, experiences vary. The financial institution may offer a free checking account, but only if the business maintains a certain minimum balance. Not only that, but monthly fees and the time spent filling out or processing checks can be costly. According to NACHA, sending money via a check results in a cost between $2 and $4 per transaction.

ACH vs Credit Card and Debit Cards

Credit cards are a standard payment method, particularly for businesses collecting online payments. All the cardholder has to do is use their card to purchase the business’ goods or services. When they do, the credit card network verifies that the payer can indeed afford to do so. This is why credit card transactions are considered “guaranteed funds” payments. ACH doesn’t do this vetting during processing, which means transactions can be rejected. Thus, they may result in a penalty fee. Debit cards are another convenient way to pay. A person swipes or taps their card to pay, and funds are automatically deducted from their account.

ACH processing is relatively slow compared to credit card processing. But ACH pricing is lower than credit card and debit fees.

Recommended: What Is a Credit Card and How Does it Work?

ACH vs Online Invoice with Pay Link

If a vendor includes an easy, clickable payment link in an online invoice to customers, that convenience can trigger fees. In terms of processing, this is likely to cost up to 3.3% of the transaction’s total, and you may also pay a 15- to 30-cent fee for each transaction.

ACH vs PayPal

Now, let’s consider how processing via PayPal stacks up. In the U.S., PayPal fees range from 1.9% to 3.49%, depending on whether the transaction was in-store or online, and then there’s an additional fee per transaction, ranging from $0.09 to $0.49. International transactions will be assessed an additional fee. If you use a QR code with your PayPal transactions, you can lower the cost somewhat.

ACH vs Apple Pay Fees

Apple doesn’t assess a fee from merchants to accept and use Apple Pay for payments, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting a freebie. You will have to pay your processing partner at the standard rates for credit- and debit-card transactions.

The Takeaway

Businesses and individuals alike rely on ACH transfers to process transactions. And there’s a reason for it: These digital payments are quick, convenient, and accessible. ACH transfers also have the benefit of being a lower-cost option compared to methods like wiring funds and some other common techniques. Finding the right way to pay bills and collect payments is a personal decision, with many variables. Money matters, of course, but there may be other benefits to consider as well.

When it comes to your personal banking, finding the right partner is equally important.

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Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Do ACH payments have fees?

Yes, ACH payments come with fees. However, these are generally the lowest fees versus any other payment processing option.

Why do banks charge ACH fees?

Banks charge ACH fees to cover the processing service and potential costs, like penalty fees.

How do you avoid ACH fees?

Since ACH fees vary, the best way to avoid them is through research. Reading terms ahead of time can help you find whether a provider is the right option for you. In general, accessing ACH through a third-party can drastically increase the number of fees.

Do US banks charge for ACH transfers?

As a customer, ACH transfers are typically free, and your bank doesn’t collect a fee. As a business conducting ACH transactions, however, you might be charged a fee for an occasional ACH transaction. It’s more likely, however, that if you are completing these transactions regularly that you will work with and pay a third-party payment processing company rather than your bank.

What is ACH on my bank statement?

ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. It is a network used to transfer funds between bank accounts around the United States. When you see it on your bank statement, you know that payment was made electronically through the ACH network.


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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Our account fee policy is subject to change at any time.
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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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How Much Money Should I Spend on Rent?

The rule of thumb has been that your rent should account for no more than 30% of your gross income, but that percentage isn’t right for everyone. Figuring out your “magic number” can require a little thought.

Individual circumstances matter: Maybe you have a heavy monthly student loan payment while your best friend has none. That means they can likely afford a higher rent than you can at the moment. Also, economic and social forces are shaping how big a bite rent takes out of a paycheck. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, almost one-third of Americans are spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs, an increase of almost 5 million households vs. three years earlier. That 30% just may not be realistic anymore.

Keep reading for detailed information on how much to spend on rent and how to budget for it.

How Much You Should Spend Depends on Your Situation

Whether you rent or own, housing is typically the largest expense the average U.S. consumer must pay for every month.

Determining how much you can afford is really a matter of monthly budgeting and striking a balance. You can look at your take-home pay and then consider how much you are spending on all of your monthly expenses.

You’ll want to account for the necessities, like housing, utilities, health care, debt payments, food, and clothing, as well as some discretionary expenses, such as entertainment and travel. Ideally, you will also be saving and have some wiggle room when paying your bills to cover unexpected expenses that can crop up.

As noted above, each person’s situation will be unique. One person might have a high salary but steep debt payments (student and car loans and a credit card balance to contend with). Another might earn less but be debt-free and therefore able to allocate more toward rent.

Where and how you live also makes a difference. In America’s biggest cities, it’s common for renters to pay a larger share of their income for housing. For example, one recent Moody’s Analytics report found that 57% of those in the New York metro area pay more than 30% of their income toward rent and 36.6% of those in Miami are in the same (very pricey) boat. When compared to the person who lives in, say, a small city in the Midwest or South, there’s likely a major price gap.

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Figuring Out How Much You Should Spend on Rent

There are several ways to come up with solid guidelines for how much to pay in rent based on your particular situation.

Use a Budgeting Rule

You’ve already learned about the rule of thumb — one that’s been around for decades — which puts the ideal housing costs at 30% of your after-tax income, no matter how much you earn.

That rather broad guideline dates back to the Brooke Amendment, which capped public housing rents at 25% of an individual’s income in 1969. Congress raised the cap to 30% in 1981, and eventually it became the go-to guide for determining “cost burden” — the amount of income a family could spend and still have enough left for other expenses — even those who aren’t in low-income households.

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Another perhaps more useful approach is the 50/30/20 budget method, which was made popular by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s book All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.

The 50/30/20 budgeting method suggests dividing your after-tax income into three main categories, putting 50% toward needs (essential costs like housing, transportation, groceries, utilities, etc.), 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings.

Following those guidelines, your rent would qualify as a need. But it remains up to you to decide how much of that 50% you want to — or feel you have to — spend on housing. If you live in a major city or tech hub, your rent may be high enough that you have to make adjustments to other essentials in your budget and/or borrow from other categories (say, cutting back on those wants, such as dinners out).

Factor in Costs

Another way to look at your rent budget is to remember that your housing costs are more than just your monthly payment to the landlord. If you only do your financial projections using that single expense, you could wind up with a too tight budget.

It can be valuable to consider all the facets of your rent: There may be a security deposit, moving costs if you are heading to a new place, utilities like electricity and wifi, as well as the cost of furniture if you are a first-time renter. Remember to add in any parking costs related to a rental, as well as renter’s insurance.

Develop a budget that acknowledges these expenses. Will you have to dip into savings for that security deposit? Will some expenses have to go on your credit card? Making these calculations can give you a better bead on your housing costs and may lead you to a new and improved budget.

Look at Other Ways to Save

There are other moves you can make to free up funds for rent if your monthly costs are running high. A few ideas:

•   Consider getting a roommate. That can cut your housing costs dramatically and can be a good option if you feel you are living paycheck to paycheck.

•   Look for less expensive locations. These may just be a few blocks or a zip code away from your ideal area, but they can make a major difference in your cost of living. For instance, if you can live 20 minutes further away from your workplace, you might reap significant savings on your rent.

•   Check with providers about monthly charges and interest rates. Sometimes, you may get lucky and find that your wireless provider can lower your bill or your credit card can take your annual percentage rate, or APR, down a notch.

•   Look for other ways to economize on non-rent expenses. Join a warehouse club and split the bounty with a friend or two to save on food costs. Minimize the number of streaming services you have. Cut back on rideshares and take public transportation; check out free music and other cultural offerings in your town.


💡 Quick Tip: When you feel the urge to buy something that isn’t in your budget, try the 30-day rule. Make a note of the item in your calendar for 30 days into the future. When the date rolls around, there’s a good chance the “gotta have it” feeling will have subsided.

The Takeaway

One common guideline says that 30% of your income (before taxes) can be allotted to rent. But everyone’s financial situation is different. Some people live in cities that are pricey; other people have student and car loans that must be paid. By using budget guidelines, you can determine the right figure for your circumstances.

Having the right banking partner may also help you budget better.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Is 30% on rent unrealistic? Is it too much?

Spending 30% of your gross income is a popular guideline, but only you can determine if it works for you. For some people, 30% will be too much, given their other expenses. For others, such as those in major cities, 30% may be a desirably low number.

How much of my salary should I spend on rent?

The usual guideline is to spend no more than 30% of your pretax salary on rent, but some people may find that they must spend more than that. Currently, about one third of all renters spend more than that figure.

Am I overspending on rent?

Some ways to tell that you are overspending on rent would be if you are living paycheck to paycheck, if you are not able to pay down your debts, and if you are not able to save money. If you are in this situation, it can be wise to take a holistic look at your budget, including rent, and see where you can find a better balance, which might include lowering your rent.


Photo credit: iStock/Jacob Wackerhausen

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

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ACH Return Codes (R01 - R33): Understanding What They Mean and What to Do

ACH Return Codes (R01 – R33): Understanding What They Mean

ACH return codes are generated when an ACH (Automated Clearing House) payment fails to process and therefore gets returned. ACH payments, which essentially transfer funds between financial institutions, can be a huge convenience. They allow you to set up automatic monthly bill pay and receive direct deposit of one’s paycheck, for instance. There are, however, likely to be times when a transaction doesn’t work as expected, perhaps due to incorrect coding or insufficient funds. ACH return codes indicate exactly what went wrong.

Here, you’ll learn about what ACH return codes are and what steps you can take to help complete this kind of banking transaction, especially if you are managing a business that relies upon them.

What Are ACH Return Codes?

First, know that ACH refers to the Automated Clearing House, a U.S. financial network that provides electronic transfers among banks and credit unions. If you receive your paycheck by direct deposit or set up bill pay from your checking account, you are using the ACH system. It’s considered a fast, secure, and simple way to move money.

ACH returns occur when an ACH payment can’t be completed.

There are a few reasons why these transactions aren’t successful, including:

•   The originator (the entity who requested payment) provided inaccurate or incomplete payment information or data.

•   The originator isn’t authorized to debit the client’s account with an ACH payment.

•   There aren’t sufficient funds to complete the transaction.

The ACH return code alerts the parties involved so they know there’s an issue, whether a recurring automatic bill pay suddenly stopped or a one-time payment could not go through. The specific reason can then help the situation be remedied so the payment can hopefully be sent again properly.

Here’s an example to clarify this concept: Perhaps your wifi provider is authorized to withdraw payment monthly from your checking account. If the Originating Depository Financial Institution (ODFI; the wifi provider’s bank) or the Receiving Depository Financial Institution (RDFI; the entity receiving the payment request; aka your bank) isn’t able to transfer funds, a return code will be generated to explain exactly why the transaction wasn’t completed.

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How ACH Returns Work

If an ACH payment can’t be completed, as mentioned above, a specific return code will be generated. The person or business originating the payment request can then work to resolve the issue.

A few details to note about how ACH returns work:

•   If an ACH return occurs due to insufficient funds, the consumer may be on the hook for an ACH return charge. It’s similar to when a check bounces; the end user pays a small fee; in this case, usually $2 to $5.

•   Timing-wise, most ACH returns only take about two banking days, though a few of these ACH codes involve transactions that can take up to 60 days to process.


💡 Quick Tip: Want to save more, spend smarter? Let your bank manage the basics. It’s surprisingly easy, and secure, when you open an online bank account.

Common ACH Return Codes

There are 85 distinct ACH return codes. Here, you’ll learn about some of the most common ones. These return codes are typically received by the entity requesting payment and their bank.

Code: R01
Meaning: Insufficient funds (the account’s available balance isn’t sufficient to cover the funds transfer, similar to being in overdraft)
What to do: The entity requesting payment can attempt the transaction again as a new transaction within 30 days of the original authorization date (up to two times), or contact the customer for an alternate payment method.

Code: R02
Meaning: Account closed (a once-active account has been closed).
What to do: The entity requesting payment can ask the customer to correct their account information or provide a different bank account or form of payment to complete the transaction.

Code: R03
Meaning: No account exists or unable to locate account (even though the account number structure is valid, it doesn’t pass the check digit validation).
What to do: The request’s originator should contact the customer to confirm their routing number, bank account number, and the name on the bank account. If this information differs from what was originally entered, they can submit a new payment with these new details. Or request another form of payment.

Code: R04
Meaning: Invalid account number.
What to do: The entity requesting payment should check the account number, and retry the transaction. Or obtain the correct bank account number and submit a new payment with that account number.

Code: R05
Meaning: This transaction should have been processed as a consumer, not corporate, transaction.
What to do: The request’s originator should check that you have used the right codes. They can contact the customer and ask for a new form of payment. In some cases, they may need to file an appeal with Nacha (the non-profit organization that manages the ACH network) for this kind of returned transaction.

Code: R06
Meaning: Returned at ODFI’s request (ODFI requested that the RDFI return the ACH entry), often because the transaction is believed to be fraudulent.
What to do: The entity seeking payment should contact the ODFI to understand why the transaction was rejected, and then, depending on the response, resubmit or alter the request.

Code: R07
Meaning: The previous authorization for an ACH transaction was revoked by the customer.
What to do: The originator of the request should suspend recurring payment schedules entered for this specific bank account to prevent additional transactions from being returned. Then they need to address the issue with the customer, and try to resolve the issue by getting a new form of payment or asking to debit a different bank account.

Code: R08
Meaning: The customer has issued a stop payment on the item.
What to do: The entity requesting funds should contact the customer to resolve the issue, and then re-enter the returned transaction again with proper authorization from the customer. Or request a new form of payment.

Code: R09
Meaning: Due to uncollected funds, the originator can’t access enough money to cover the transaction.
What to do: The originator should try the transaction again, and re-enter it as a new one within 30 days of the original authorization date (up to two times in 60 days).

Code: R10
Meaning: The customer advised this transaction is not authorized or is improper in some way.
What to do: The entity requesting payment should check the details and authorization on the transaction to determine if an error was made. They can connect with the customer to determine why this code was triggered. If the details can be rectified, they can resubmit the transaction per ACH guidelines.

Code: R11
Meaning: An electronic check deposit was not executed correctly.
What to do: The originator of the request can correct the underlying error and resubmit the corrected electronic deposit within 60 calendar days.

Code: R12
Meaning: The branch where the account is held was sold to another DFI (development financial institution).
What to do: The entity making the request should obtain the customer’s new routing and bank account information, and submit a new transaction.

Recommended: What is Liquid Net Worth

More ACH Return Codes

The following ACH return codes are less common than those mentioned previously, but still occur and are worth knowing. Here’s a look at what makes these codes tick:

Code: R13
Meaning: Invalid routing number provided.
What to do: The request’s originator should get the correct routing number from the customer to use when resubmitting the request.

Code: R14
Meaning: The account was being managed by someone who is now deceased or can no longer continue overseeing the account (such as an account held for a minor or an incapacitated person).
What to do: This is handled on a case-by-case basis; the request’s originator might try to contact the beneficiary or new representative for the account.

Code: R15
Meaning: Beneficiary or account holder is deceased.
What to do: No further action can typically be taken.

Code: R16
Meaning: Account is frozen and funds are unavailable.
What to do: The entity making the request should obtain a new payment form.

Code: R17
Meaning: Known as a “file record edit criteria” code, this indicates that there is a discrepancy in the file code, and the transaction cannot be processed.
What to do: The fields causing the processing error need to be identified (typically by the originator of the request) in the addenda record information field of the return to complete the transaction.

Code: R20
Meaning: The receiving account is not a transaction account (aka, it’s an account against which transactions are prohibited or limited).
What to do: The entity making the request can contact the customer, and request either the authorization to charge a different bank account or a new form of payment.

Code: R21
Meaning: The ACH file contains an invalid or incorrect company identification number.
What to do: The originator of the request should double-check their information, or contact the company to obtain the correct information.

Code: R22
Meaning: The individual ID number is invalid.
What to do: The entity making the request should check their information and resubmit, or contact the customer to obtain the correct information.

Code: R23
Meaning: The account holder or their bank is refusing to accept the transaction.
What to do: The originator of the request can work with the customer to clear up the issue, or ask them to contact their bank to resolve it.

Code: R24
Meaning: Duplicate entry.
What to do: If the transaction is indeed a duplicate, there’s nothing else to do. If it isn’t, the entity making the request can contact their customer or their customer’s bank to resolve the error.

Code: R29
Meaning: The customer has notified their bank that the requesting entity is not authorized to conduct this transaction.
What to do: The originator of the request should suspend recurring payment schedules, and then address the issue with the customer. For instance, they could request new payment information from the customer or ask them to contact their bank to authorize the payment.

Code: R31
Meaning: This indicates that the receiving bank is requesting to return a certain kind of ACH transaction (a CCD, or cash concentration disbursement, and CTX, or corporate trade exchange, only).
What to do: The entity making the request can reach out to their customer to resolve this issue or request a different form of payment.

Code: R33
Meaning: There is an issue with a transaction involving a converted check (known as XCK), such as when a damaged paper check is converted to an electronic version.
What to do: The originator of the request should contact their customer for another payment form.

Recommended: Average Savings by Age

The Takeaway

ACH return codes express the reason why an electronic Automated Clearing House payment could not be completed. Knowing what each code represents can help determine what the next steps should be to keep payments flowing smoothly or get refunds completed.

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Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What causes an ACH return?

ACH returns occur when an Automated Clearing House payment can’t be completed, perhaps due to inaccurate or incomplete information or insufficient funds. When this happens, an ACH return code is generated, providing a reason for the return.

What is ACH return fee?

When ACH returns occur, especially due to insufficient funds, a fee can be charged. It’s similar to how a bounced check incurs a fee. The amount is generally around $2 to $5.

How long does an ACH refund take?

Typically, an ACH refund takes about five to 10 banking days to occur, though some situations can take longer to resolve..


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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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How Refinancing Credit Card Debt Works

Spending is on the rise — and so is consumer debt. Americans carry, on average, three credit cards and have $6,501 in credit card debt. Overall, U.S. credit card debt is $129 billion higher than it was one year ago.

That amount of debt can be a challenge to pay down along with regular monthly household expenses. Some people may choose to refinance their high-interest credit card debt in an effort to secure a lower interest rate or a lower monthly payment. Refinancing credit card debt can be one way to make progress toward eliminating it completely.

What Is Credit Card Debt?

If you’re putting more purchases on credit cards than you can pay off in a monthly billing cycle, you have credit card debt.

Interest will accrue on the balance that carries over to the next billing cycle. If you don’t pay at least the minimum amount due, you’ll likely also be charged a late fee. Since credit cards use compound interest, you’ll be charged interest on accrued interest and fees. That can add up quickly and make it more difficult to get out of debt.

Carrying a balance on more than one credit card can make the debt even more difficult to manage. If your goal is to be free of credit card debt, refinancing can be one way to achieve that.

What Are Some Benefits of Refinancing Credit Card Debt?

Credit cards are revolving debt and typically have variable annual percentage rates (APRs).

Refinancing credit card debt with an installment loan that has a fixed interest rate, such as a personal loan, will mean you’ll have a fixed end date to your debt and will have the same APR for the entire term of the loan.

If you’re refinancing multiple credit card balances into one new loan or line of credit, you’ll have fewer bills to pay each month. That could potentially make monthly budgeting a simpler task.

Recommended: What Is a Good APR for a Credit Card?

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debt with a personal loan from SoFi.


How Might Debt Refinancing Affect Your Credit Score?

Something to keep in mind when your goal is to pay down debt is that it’s a long game.

That being said, in the short term your credit score can decrease slightly when you apply for new credit and the lender looks at your credit report. During the formal application process, the lender will perform a hard inquiry into your credit report, which may result in a slight temporary drop of your credit score.

If you’re comparing multiple lenders, and they offer prequalification, they’ll do a soft inquiry into your credit report, which won’t affect your credit score.

Building your credit — or rebuilding it — through refinancing credit card debt can be possible if you make on-time, regular payments on the new loan. Reducing your credit utilization can be another positive result of refinancing credit card debt. Both of these can potentially increase your credit score.

It’s important not to overuse the credit cards you refinanced into a new loan, however, or you might accumulate even more debt than you started with.

Will Canceling My Unused Credit Cards Affect my Credit Score?

After you’ve refinanced your existing credit card debt into a new loan, you might be tempted to cancel those credit cards. But that strategy could negatively affect your credit score.

Whether it’s a good idea to cancel a credit card really depends on the card. If you’ve had the credit card for a long time, closing it would shorten your credit history, which could result in a credit score drop. But if it’s a card you genuinely don’t have a reason to keep, such as a retail card for a store you no longer shop at or a card that has a high annual fee that can’t be justified with your current spending habits, closing the account might be the right step for you.

If you plan to keep a credit card open, it may be a good idea to use it for a small, recurring charge so the card issuer doesn’t close it for inactivity. Setting up autopay can make this a convenient way to ensure the card stays open but is paid in full each month.

What Are Some Options for Refinancing Credit Card Debt?

Your overall creditworthiness will be a determining factor in finding available refinancing options. Lenders will look at your credit report and credit score, paying attention to how you’ve handled credit in the past and how much total debt you have in relation to your income.

Balance Transfer Credit Card

If you can qualify for a low- or no-interest credit card, you could use it to transfer a balance from another credit card. You’ll typically be charged a balance transfer fee equal to a percentage of the balance you’re transferring. The promotional rate on these types of cards is temporary, sometimes lasting up to 18 months or so, but can be as short as 6 months.

If you pay the transferred balance in full within the promotional period, you may not pay any interest at all, or a minimal amount. However, if you still have an outstanding balance on the card when the promotional period is over, the APR will revert to the card’s standard rate for balance transfers.

Home Equity Loan

A potential source of refinancing funds might be your home, if you have equity in it. Funds from a home equity loan can be used for just about anything, even things unrelated to your home. You can calculate how much equity you have in your home by subtracting the amount you owe on your mortgage from the current market value of your home.

In addition to the amount of equity you have in your home, lenders will typically also look at your income and your credit history to determine how much you might qualify for. It’s common for lenders to limit a home equity loan to no more than 80% to 85% of the equity you have in your home. There are typically closing costs with a home equity loan including appraisal fee, title search, origination fee, or other fees, and can be between 2% and 5% of the loan amount.

A home equity loan is a second mortgage secured by your home. If you fail to repay the loan, the lender can foreclose on your home.

Debt Consolidation Loan

Some lenders offer loans specifically for debt consolidation. These are actually personal loans, the funds from which can be used to pay off your existing credit card debt. Then, you’ll be responsible for repaying the debt consolidation loan. There may be fees charged on this type of loan, so be sure to look over the loan agreement carefully before signing it.

For a credit card consolidation loan to be as effective as possible at reducing your debt, it will ideally have a lower APR than you’re paying on your credit cards. In this way, you would be paying less in interest over the life of the loan. If a lower monthly payment is your goal, you may opt for a longer-term loan, but may pay a higher interest rate.

Recommended: How to Get a Debt Consolidation Loan with Bad Credit

The Takeaway

If your credit card debt is piling up and you’re finding it challenging to pay it down, you may be considering refinancing. Some credit card refinancing options include balance transfer credit cards with a promotional APR, a home equity loan, or a debt consolidation loan.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?

Root Canal Cost: How Much and How To Pay for It

Having to get a root canal is already painful enough — but then comes the prospect of paying for it.

While the specific cost of a root canal will vary depending on your geographical location, the location of the tooth, your dentist, and other factors, it can easily cost as much as $1,600 or even more out of pocket if you don’t have insurance — and several hundred even if you do.

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to finance dental work that make it possible to afford the care your teeth require. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Root Canal Treatment?

A root canal is a dental treatment that can remove infection and bacteria from the pulp beneath the hard exterior of the tooth. It’s a pretty common procedure — millions of them are performed each year.

While root canals are often characterized as unpleasant, modern dentistry means this medical intervention can take place relatively painlessly while preserving the natural tooth for both chewing and complementing a smile. All of which is to say, if you’re in need of a root canal, you’re not alone.

Reasons for a Root Canal

There are many different reasons your dentist might prescribe a root canal, including:

•   Tooth decay

•   Large cavities

•   Chips in tooth enamel

•   Periodontal disease

•   Dental trauma

In any of these situations, bacteria might infect the pulp of the tooth and, if left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding structures such as gums, other teeth, or even the jawbone. In extreme cases, dental infections can contribute to heart attack or stroke, along with causing a lot of pain.

Taking good care of your teeth can help prevent these causes, but sometimes, accidents or predisposition to decay can play into the equation. In any case, if your dentist prescribes a root canal, it’s probably worth heeding their advice.

How Much Does a Root Canal Cost on Average?

While, again, the cost of a root canal procedure varies greatly depending on factors we’ll dive into in more depth below, the average cost hovers around $1,600 without insurance. With insurance, your bill might be considerably lower: between $200-$1,000 out of pocket, depending on your coverage and the extent of the procedure.

Recommended: Guide to Dental Loans

How Much Is a Root Canal and a Crown?

In many cases, you may also require a crown along with a root canal, which can help protect the tooth for future chewing and use. A crown can add a substantial amount to the overall bill: as much as $1,000 if you’re paying out of pocket.

Factors That Impact the Cost of a Root Canal

Here are some of the specific factors at play that can pull the cost of your root canal up or down.

Insurance Coverage

Obviously, the cost of a root canal — or any dental or medical procedure — is likely to be higher if you don’t have insurance coverage or if your provider is out of your insurance company’s network. Because root canals are usually medically necessary, as opposed to just cosmetic, it’s likely your insurer will cover the procedure itself.

Tooth Location

The location of the infected tooth in your mouth can also have an impact on the total cost of the root canal. That’s because certain teeth are more difficult for dentists to work on than others.

For instance, molars, which are set more deeply in the mouth, are harder to reach and thus command higher costs for dental procedures. Bicuspids, or premolars, cost slightly less, while front teeth needing root canals are likely to cost the least.

Geographical Location

Like most other goods and services, the cost of a root canal can vary largely depending on the local economy — or the prices set by the dental professional you choose.

Type of Dentist

While most general dentists can perform a simple root canal, some teeth with more complicated infections might require an endodontist, who specializes in dental pulp specifically (the part that is treated during the procedure).

Root canal treatment cost by a specialist may be more expensive than treatment by your general dental professional, as can the use of high-tech equipment such as an ultrasonic needle or water laser.

Root Canal Complications

Although they’re very common and generally safe, like most other medical procedures, root canals do come with some risk.

For example, the root canal can fail due to a breakdown of materials or the provider’s failure to remove all of the bacteria during the procedure. In addition, sometimes the tooth becomes slightly discolored after the procedure due to bleeding on the inside of the tooth.

Ways to Pay For a Root Canal

Although root canals can be expensive, there are many ways to pay for this vitally important procedure without chewing through your savings.

Dental Insurance

Carrying dental insurance is a great way to lower the cost of procedures such as root canal — though keep in mind you’ll be responsible for monthly premiums as well as a potential copay or coinsurance costs.

Health Savings Account

A health savings account is a tax-incentivized account that can help you save and pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses more affordable. However, you must have a high deductible health plan to contribute to one.

Personal Loan

Personal loans are a type of financial product that allows you to borrow money for almost any purpose, including dental or medical care. Because they’re unsecured, meaning no collateral is required, they tend to have higher interest rates than auto loans or mortgages — but the rates can be lower than those offered by credit cards.

As with most financial products, your specific rates and terms will vary depending on your credit score and other financial aspects. While rates may be higher, there are still personal loans for low-credit borrowers — and taking one out may still make more financial sense than decimating your emergency fund or putting the procedure on credit.

Credit Card

Although they usually have fairly high interest rates, credit cards are another option for paying for necessary medical interventions in a pinch. If you can qualify for a credit card with a 0% promotional interest rate, you’ll have some time to pay the balance without interest if you can pay it off before the promotional period ends.

Recommended: Can Medical Bills Affect Your Credit Report?

Other Dental Procedures a Personal Loan Can Cover

Along with root canals, personal loans can be used to cover other common dental procedures, as well, including:

•   Periodontal surgery

•   Dentures

•   Tooth bonding

•   Wisdom tooth removal

•   Dental fillings

The Takeaway

Having a root canal can be an important medical intervention for your health and the survival of your affected tooth. And although the procedure is expensive, there are ways to pay for it that won’t add financial pain to your dental pain.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

How much is a root canal and a crown?

A root canal procedure averages $1,600, and the restorative crown can add another $1,000 the total cost. Costs can vary depending on what part of the country the procedure is performed in and which tooth is being treated.

Why is a root canal so expensive?

Root canals are performed by licensed medical professionals who use specialized equipment. More complex situations may need to be treated by an endodontist, a dental specialist who has completed additional years of training beyond dental school.

What does a root canal cost without insurance?

The full, out-of-pocket cost of a root canal may range from $800 to $1,800, depending on a variety of factors.


Photo credit: iStock/AndreyPopov

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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