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Vendor Express EFT/EDI
Fact Sheet

Introduction:

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.

Formats:

  • 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.
  • Input Formats:
  1. FMS Proprietary Payment Format - currently used to create CCD+ payments.
  2. ASC X12 820 Payment Orders - used to generate CTX payments.
  3. Flat File Payment Order - also used to generate CTX payments. The Flat File Payment Order is for non EDI-capable agencies.

Enrollment Form:

  • 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 recipient’s 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 three sources:
  • 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 number: 7540-01-274-9925.
  • 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.

Remittance Information:

  • 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/.

Questions/Contacts:

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:

Kansas City, MO
(816) 414-2100

Philadelphia, PA
(215) 516-8154

San Francisco, CA
(415) 817-7300


   Last Updated:  March 14, 2014