What Is ASAP?
ASAP is an all-electronic payment and information system developed jointly by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The latter, in its capacity as Treasury's fiscal agent, operates the system. ASAP is a system through which grantee organizations receiving federal funds can draw from accounts pre-authorized by federal agencies. ASAP is also being used to make timely payments to financial agents that are performing financial services for FMS and other federal agencies.
How Does ASAP Work?
In short, ASAP operates as follows: Federal agencies and organizations receiving federal funds enroll one time to use ASAP. Federal agencies establish and maintain accounts in ASAP to control the flow of funds to organizations. Federal agencies enter spending authorizations into their ASAP accounts in accordance with their program needs and schedules. Payment Requestors at organizations initiate payment requests through ASAP to meet cash needs. This is done primarily through on-line connections that organizations have with ASAP. In a case where a financial institution is acting as an agent of the organization, a request for funds can be made via the Federal Reserve's FEDWIRE system. Approved requests for next day or future day (up to 32 calendar days from the date of the payment request) payments are paid via the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system, or by FEDWIRE if same day payment is required.
A Closer Look
Federal agencies can establish ASAP accounts for Recipient Organizations via on-line or batch processes. Once an ASAP account is established, the federal agency can enter authorizations to increase or decrease the available balance of its ASAP accounts at its own discretion.
Both on-line and batch-processed authorizations can be effective as of the current processing day, or they can be effective up to a year in advance, in which case the authorization is warehoused until its effective date. Authorization transactions, once certified, immediately update the system. Federal agencies are able to perform ASAP account and authorization functions on-line from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time each business day. Federal agencies can initiate batch processes for ASAP account and authorization activity 24 hours a day.
Recipient Organizations can use on-line processes to request payments. Recipient Organizations are able to initiate same day payment requests and receive the payment within minutes from 8:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Eastern Time each business day. Recipient Organizations are able to initiate payment requests for an ACH payment from 8:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
Payment requests are approved or rejected automatically, unless placed on Agency Review by the FPA or based on the amount of available funds in the ASAP account. The available balance for an ASAP account is displayed when initiating the payment request. Recipient Organizations will receive immediate notification of approval or rejection for all on-line payment requests with the exception of those subject to Agency Review.
The ASAP system also provides Recipient Organizations with a book entry feature to make adjustments between accounts without having to initiate a payment request. Recipient Organizations are also able to return funds to an ASAP account via the FEDWIRE and ACH payment systems.
Federal agencies and recipient organizations can view relevant data on-line, such as up-to-the-minute account balances, account history, and the status of payment requests affecting their ASAP accounts. Federal agencies also receive daily reports relating to the ASAP accounts under their authority.
The Bureau of the Fiscal Service, through its ASAP Customer Support team processes federal agency and recipient organization enrollments, provides customer support, and resolves operational issues.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is responsible for system administration support for the system. FRB system support includes daily system operations, communications, security, and system maintenance.