The Financial Management Service (FMS), a bureau of the Department of the Treasury,
implemented the Vendor Express Program in July 1987. Vendor Express electronically
transfers money and remittance information through the Automated Clearing House (ACH)
network to commercial payees of Federal agencies. FMS expanded the program with Electronic
Data Interchange (EDI) capabilities in 1994.
The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, part of
Public Law 104-134, has, in addition to other requirements, mandated the
use of electronic funds transfer (EFT) for Federal payments, except for
tax refunds. The Vendor Express EFT/EDI Program, also referred to as "Corporate
ACH" or "Financial EDI (FEDI)," plays a very important
role in implementing mandatory EFT.
EDI is the computer-to-computer transmission of business information in a
standardized format. The formats used are in the form of transaction sets, with one
transaction set equating to one business document and identified by a unique three-digit
code; e.g., the 820 Payment Order/Remittance Advice. These transaction sets are developed
and maintained by the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12, chartered by the American
National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1979 to develop EDI transaction sets. The 820
Transaction Set, Payment Order/Remittance Advice, is used to electronically order payments
to be issued and remittance information to be sent.
A key feature of the Vendor Express EFT/EDI Program is the use of addenda records in ACH
payment formats. An addendum record contains payment-related accounting information
transmitted along with the actual payment. Initially, Vendor Express used the Cash
Concentration or Disbursement Plus Addendum (CCD+) ACH payment format, which accommodates
one addendum record with 80 characters. Because of the limited addendum capability, one
CCD+Vendor Express payment is used to pay for only one invoice.
The Corporate Trade Exchange (CTX) ACH format was implemented by Treasury in 1994 to
issue payments for multiple invoices.. The CTX format allows for up to 9,999 addenda
records with approximately 800,000 characters. This large addendum record capability
allows for a complete 820 transaction set to be transmitted in the addenda records.
FMS Proprietary Payment Format - currently used to create CCD+ payments.
ASC X12 820 Payment Orders - used to generate CTX payments.
Flat File Payment Order - also used to generate CTX payments. The Flat File
Payment Order is for non EDI-capable agencies.
The ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Payment Enrollment Form (SF 3881), is an
optional form that agencies may use to enroll their vendors in the Vendor Express EFT/EDI
Program. It contains the financial institution information necessary to route an ACH
payment to the recipients account. Agencies will stock the form and supply it free
of charge to the vendors to initiate the enrollment process. The SF 3881 is available from
FMS home page on the Internet on http://www.fms.treas.gov/vendor.html
FMS Fax-on-Call system on (202) 874-8616; select image # 3881
The Regional GSA Customer Supply Centers, which identify the form by its national stock
The Federal agency initiates and completes the Agency Information section of the SF
3881; the vendor completes the Payee/Company Information section; and the financial
institution completes the Financial Institution Information section. Then, the vendor
should return the completed SF 3881 to the agency that initiated the form.
The ACH Remittance Information Processing Rule, effective September
1998, requires that financial institutions provide addenda information to their corporate
customers upon request. Vendors are encouraged to discuss remittance delivery capabilities
with their financial institution prior to submitting the SF 3881 to the Federal agency.
Financial institutions have different remittance delivery capabilities ranging from
electronic transmissions to facsimile reports. In late 1998, the Federal Reserve Bank will
make available EDI translation software to financial institutions greatly increasing the
number of financial institutions that are able to provide this service to their customers.
Several Federal agencies have developed alternative systems to provide remittance
information to their vendors, including the Payment Advice Internet Delivery (PAID) System
developed by the FMS. A list of these systems is available at https://fmsapps.treas.gov/paid/.
For additional information on the Vendor Express EFT/EDI Program or questions about
completing the SF 3881, contact the FMS Customer Assistance Staff nearest you: