What is the Credit Gateway?
The Credit Gateway is a deposit program that the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Management Service (FMS) uses for the receipt of federal agency Fedwire and Automated Clearing House (ACH) credit transactions.
FMS already processes Fedwire and ACH credit transactions, so why is the Credit Gateway needed?
The Credit Gateway allows us to consolidate several deposit programs. This includes the Fedwire Deposit System (FDS) and Remittance Express (REX). It also includes the Federal Reserve Electronic Tax Application (FR-ETA), under specially branded Credit Gateway functionality called the Federal Tax Application. Eventually it will include FMS’s electronic lockboxes and ACH credits processed by the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) as well. Its implementation also is a necessary step toward our long-term goal of decommissioning our CA$HLINK II system. By consolidating functionality from various systems, we believe that we can provide better service at lower cost.
Who serves as FMS’s points of contact?
Within FMS’s Federal Finance (FF) Assistant Commissioner area, responsibility for the Gateway is with the Settlement Services Division. The Credit Gateway itself is a service operated by an FMS-designated financial agent, US Bank.
Agencies should direct operational questions (i.e., questions relating to specific Credit Gateway transactions) to US Bank. US Bank can be reached at 1 (877) 815-1206 or 1 (314) 425-1841 or at customer.care@USBank.com.
Agencies can direct other questions (such as account setup questions or general inquiries) to the Settlement Services Division. The Settlement Services Division can be contacted through the Credit Gateway program manager, Randolph Maxwell, at 1 (202) 874-3720, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
How does the settlement process operate?
Funds settle through routing numbers at Federal Reserve Banks. For any legacy programs that settle transactions to routing numbers at Federal Reserve Banks (including FDS, REX, and FR-ETA), funds settle in the same manner as they have previously.
How will agency reporting be provided?
Information is best accessed through FMS’s Transaction Reporting System (TRS). Information also will be available through CA$HLINK II, but with some limitations compared to TRS.
Agencies will be able to access both TRS until CA$HLINK II until the latter is decommissioned, which is planned for 2012. That said, the reporting functionality of TRS exceeds that of CA$HLINK II and agencies should begin using TRS well before CA$HLINK II goes away.
Please note that the reporting information below does not apply to FTA transactions. In general, detail-level information on these transactions is provided through other systems to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). TRS and CA$HLINK II only have summary-level on these transactions.
Fedwire information is available with detailed transaction data on a near real-time basis in TRS. TRS also has deposit ticket numbers available after the end of the Fedwire banking day. TRS has the ability to provide agencies with automated, downloadable files as well, which it makes available after the close of the Fedwire banking day using a standard XML file format.
Agencies also can access Fedwire information through CA$HLINK II, but only after the close of the banking day.
ACH credit information is available on the morning of the settlement date in TRS. This includes detailed information on settled transactions, including deposit ticket numbers. It also includes details on future-dated ACH credit transactions. (“Future-dated” ACH credits are entries we have received but which will not settle on the current banking date.) TRS has the ability to provide agencies with automated, downloadable files as well, which are available on the morning of the settlement date and in a standard XML file format. These automated files from TRS can include data on future-dated ACH items if the agency so desires.
Agencies also can access ACH credit information through CA$HLINK II, but this system does not include information on future-dated items.
The table below summarizes this discussion.
Why should my agency use TRS?
TRS is our long-term solution for agency reporting on collections, eventually replacing reporting solutions we provide to agencies in many programs, including CA$HLINK II. For Credit Gateway transactions, TRS “meets or beats” the reporting that CA$HLINK II provides. In addition, TRS consolidates much of the information on deposits that agencies currently must obtain through other FMS programs. Additional information about TRS, including an "Introduction to TRS" webinar and how to prepare for TRS, can be obtained at http://fms.treas.gov/trs.
To use TRS, your agency must be enrolled in that application. If you are interested in enrolling your agency with TRS, you also may reach the TRS Agency Outreach Team at (301) 699-6814 or TRSAgencyOutreach@pnc.com.
CA$HLINK II reporting will cease at the end of 2012, so agencies should be using TRS well before then to prevent any transition issues. We strongly encourage agencies to use TRS.
What is an account ID, why does it matter, and how will it be used?
Through Credit Gateway Account IDs, the Credit Gateway standardizes the way that we associate Fedwire and ACH credit transactions with your agency or a specific cash flow. Unlike FDS and REX—which each had legacy account IDs of different lengths and structures—the Credit Gateway employs a 12-digit account ID. The gateway employs two versions of this account ID: Converted and New. There are some differences between these IDs to accommodate the legacy account IDs that FDS and REX have employed, but they have the same general structure.
The Credit Gateway Account ID is important for several reasons. Among other things, it allows us to associate Fedwire and ACH credit transactions with both an Agency Location Code (ALC) and a cash flow. It also has implications for agency and GWA reporting, as set out in the following sections.Fedwire
Converted Account IDs—Historically, some agencies used eight-digit ALCs as their FDS Account ID. The ALCs also were sometimes known as the Fedwire Beneficiary IDs. (In practice, we have not used the concept of an account ID when referring to how we organized FDS transactions; instead, we simply organized transactions around an agency’s ALC. However, "account ID" and "ALC" are broad and not always synonymous terms, so it is sometimes necessary to distinguish between them even if in FDS they were the same.) Remitters may include this information when they initiate a payment. Because the FDS Account ID was the ALC, we have had no standard means to allow agencies to track cash flows at a level under the ALC.
The Credit Gateway assigns each of these legacy FDS agencies a Converted Credit Gateway Account ID. The Converted Account ID is 12 digits. It begins with a leading "8," is followed by the agency’s eight-digit ALC, and ends with three zeros. (Example: 822222222000; where 22222222 is the agency’s Fedwire Beneficiary ID and ALC). Use by an agency’s remitters of the Converted Account ID code is optional; the remitters may continue to simply use the agency’s ALC. If a remitter includes an ALC in a payment, we map it to the appropriate Converted Account ID.
New Account IDs—For new accounts, the Credit Gateway issues each account a New Credit Gateway Account ID. The structure of the New Account ID is similar to that of the Converted Account ID, but is different in two important ways: First, use of the New Account ID code by remitters is mandatory. Second, if an agency has more than one cash flow associated with the same ALC, we iterate the three-digit suffix to treat each of an agency’s cash flows as a new, separate account. In this fashion, amounts that may otherwise have been associated with a Converted Account ID can be associated with a New Account ID.ACH Credit
Converted Account IDs—Historically, agencies used a dedicated, six-digit account ID for each REX account. Remitters included this information when they initiated a payment. An agency could have more than one REX Account ID associated with its ALC. Among other things, this allowed for REX Account IDs to be established at the cash flow level, rather than the ALC level.
Under the Credit Gateway, each agency is assigned a Converted Credit Gateway Account ID for each of its existing REX Account IDs. The Credit Gateway Account ID is 12 digits. It begins with “800”, is followed by the agency’s six-digit REX Account ID, and ends with three zeros. (Example: 800111111000; where 111111 is the agency’s REX Account ID). Use of the converted Credit Gateway Account ID by remitters is optional; remitters may continue to simply use the legacy REX Account ID. If a remitter includes a REX Account ID in a payment, we map it to the appropriate converted Credit Gateway Account ID.
New Account IDs—Under the Credit Gateway, any new agency account is setup using a New Credit Gateway Account ID. The new account is 12 digits. It begins with a leading "8", is followed by the agency’s eight-digit ALC, and ends with a three-digit cash flow identifier. (Example: 822222222000; where 2222222 is the agency’s ALC). For new cash flows, remitters must include the New Account ID as part of their payment information. This structure is used to separate an agency’s cash flows from one another. The three-digit suffix at the end of each Credit Gateway Account ID can be iterated to treat each of an agency’s various cash flows as a new, separate account. In this fashion, amounts that may otherwise have been associated with a Converted Account ID can be associated with a New Account ID.
The table below summarizes this discussion.
How are account IDs used in agency reporting?
The rules governing account IDs impact how agencies access transaction data within CA$HLINK II and TRS. In all cases, both systems allow searches by ALC. However, there are differences between the two systems, especially for reporting on transactions tied to FDS and REX accounts that have been converted to the Credit Gateway.
For converted accounts, CA$HLINK II requires users to search using an ALC or REX Account ID. The ALC must be used for Fedwire transactions. (The ALC doubles as the FDS Account ID.) Either the ALC or REX Account ID can be used for ACH credit transactions. This is the case even if the remitter provides a Converted Account ID as part of the payment; we map the transaction to the legacy FDS or REX Account ID. CA$HLINK II does not allow use of a Converted Account ID for searches.
For new accounts, CA$HLINK II requires users to search using an ALC or a New Credit Gateway Account ID. The ALC must be used for Fedwire transactions. Either the ALC or New Credit Gateway Account ID can be used to search for ACH credit transactions. If it is used, the New Credit Gateway Account ID must be entered in the REX Account ID search parameter field in CA$HLINK II.
For converted accounts, TRS takes the opposite approach of CA$HLINK II. TRS requires users to search using an ALC or Converted Account ID. This is the case even if the remitter provides a legacy REX Account ID as part of the payment; we map the transaction to a Converted Account ID. TRS does not allow a search by REX Account ID. (TRS allows a search by an FDS Account ID, but only because that ID is the ALC.)
For new accounts, TRS is somewhat similar to CA$HLINK. TRS allows searches by ALC or New Credit Gateway ID, though it goes beyond CA$HLINK by allowing these to be used for searches on both Fedwire and ACH credit transactions.
The table below summarizes this discussion.
How does GWA reporting occur?
Both the converted and new Credit Gateway Account IDs double as Classification Keys (C-Keys) in the Shared Accounting Module (SAM) program, which is in FMS’s Governmentwide Accounting (GWA) Assistant Commissioner area. Use of the C-Key allows for the classification of an agency’s transactions to Treasury Account Symbols and Business Event Type Codes (TAS/BETCs).
Before an agency becomes a GWA reporter for collections, the SAM Team will work with the agency to assign the appropriate TAS and BETC to the agency’s Credit Gateway Account ID. We are able to report this C-Key to GWA so that the agency’s information is properly classified to a TAS/BETC. The New Credit Gateway Account ID is especially useful in this regard, because (unlike FDS) it allows for Fedwire transactions to be broken down by cash flow.
To begin the process of associating a TAS and BETC to the agency’s Credit Gateway Account ID(s), contact the SAM Team at (314) 444-4238 or (314) 444-6248 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will deposit tickets be numbered?
We base the deposit ticket number associated with each day’s deposits on a combination of the day of the month and a sequence number. The numbering scheme is slightly different for Fedwire deposits and ACH credit deposits. Agencies should not build business logic around these numbers.
What will happen if a remitter provides incorrect information with a payment?
Generally, if a remitter fails to follow payment instructions, the Credit Gateway automatically reverses (Fedwire) or returns (ACH) the transaction. We generally do not attempt to manually correct the transaction. In particular, we generally reverse/return the transaction if a remitter fails to use either a valid, configured:
We may attempt to manually correct certain Fedwire transactions above a certain dollar threshold.
How are ALC corrections handled?
Although generally we do not correct transactions with incorrect transaction data, there may be instances in which corrections are needed. For instance, a remitter may send a payment using a valid, configured account ID, but one that is associated with the ALC of another agency. Alternatively, an agency may determine that its own account ID is associated with an ALC that needs to be updated.
The Credit Gateway is able to correct erroneous ALC information for those transactions originally processed through the Credit Gateway. Requests for ALC changes to Credit Gateway transactions should be initiated through US Bank, using the contact information provided above.
How are agency-initiated Fedwire reversals and ACH returns handled?
Fedwire reversals and ACH returns that agencies need to initiate are possible through the Gateway even for transactions that originally were deposited through FDS or REX. Requests for reversals and returns should be directed to US Bank, using the contact information provided above.
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