CTX requires ACH Universal's Advanced (Processor) edition
What is CTX?
CTX, or Corporate Trade Exchange, is a Standard Entry Class code that can contain multiple addenda records which provide additional information on each transaction (also called remittance information, such as invoice numbering).
What is EDI?
EDI, or Electronic Data Interchange, is a set of standards governing the structure of electronically-transferred information. EDI provides the engine that structures the transmission of CTX transactions. EDI is standardized under ANSI ASC X12. There are multiple transaction sets available under EDI, the most commonly used through ACH Universal being the EPN-STP 820 set.
Why use CTX?
The common SEC Codes, such as PPD and CCD, provide specific transaction information. However, they both lack the ability to use more than one addenda record. An addenda is an extension to a transaction entry that provides additional information about the nature of the transaction, most commonly remittance information. One common example is an invoice number. PPD+ and CCD+ add the ability to use an addenda record, but you are limited to at most one addenda record per transaction and a maximum length of 80 characters. If your organization wanted to make one payment for multiple invoices and provide remittance information, there is no way to do so using a non-CTX SEC Code.
CTX has a limit on the number of addenda records--9,999 per entry--but it is so high as to be almost unapproachable in practice. In addition, CTX specifically defines the structure of the addenda records into segments. This provides ease of processing as well as flexibility in making your payments.
Using CTX in ACH Universal
The same processes used in ACH Universal for other SEC Codes are used to create and transmit CTX files. However, CTX has a few added requirements that other codes are not subject to.
ACH Universal's Advanced (Processor) edition is different than earlier editions, because it includes the ACH format 'CTX' - Corporate Trade Exchange.
The other formats you may already be familiar with are on a one-payment-to-one-invoice scenario. For example, an ACH-PPD entry containing an employee's direct deposit payroll payment is a one-payment-to-one-paycheck scenario.
With ACH-CTX, you can pay hundreds of invoices from one payment. This is a one-payment-to-many-invoices scenario.
The key here is not just the fact that you are paying multiple invoices, but that you are including the remittance information as well. CTX passes along the detailed remittance information in the addenda records that follow the payment records.
In other formats such as PPD and CCD, you can include one addenda record to provide additional information about the payment. When attaching the addenda record, these payments are often referred to as PPD+ and CCD+ (plus sign for addenda).
These formats only allow one record, and the addenda record text is free form - meaning there is no standard as to the syntax or layout (unless, of course, one was agreed to by the originator and receiver).
With CTX, you can have up to 9,999 addenda records, and the system expects the records to be in an EDI format.
ACH Universal's EDI Engine
There are many EDI standards, each with its own derivatives, dialects and subsets.
Treasury Software's built-in EDI engine supports the common business format often referred to as the ANSI ASC 820 transaction set. Virtually all business formats are a derivative or subset of this format.