What is a 'Batch Header Record'

A batch header record is a standard record of information regarding the transfer of a group of data (a batch), usually within the banking field. The batch header record contains information that is crucial for the successful processing of the batch. It identifies the origin of the transaction and summarizes the debits and credits involved. When combined with the entry detail records, the batch header record fully describes the transaction. Although the batch header record is predominantly used in banking transactions, it is also used in other important transfers, such as between businesses, departments and hospitals.

BREAKING DOWN 'Batch Header Record'

In banking, the batch header record is used in the automated clearing house (ACH), which is a batch-oriented electronic funds transfer system. To begin, the transaction is given a file header record to identify the origin and characteristics of the file. This is followed by a number of batches, each with its own batch header record. Each batch also contains entry detail records, each of which can be followed by one or more addenda records, as necessary or as required by the SEC code being used.

Information Included in the Batch Header Record

Typically, a batch header record begins with a record type code, a numerical code that indicates that the record is a batch header record. The batch header record also identifies the company or organization from which the batch to follow originated. It will also identify the purpose of the entries found in the batch. For example, an originator might include a code like "Salary" or "Electric Bill" in the batch header code to indicate the purpose of the transactions to be described in the batch entries.

The batch header code will further indicate the effective entry date of all transactions included in the batch. This data applies to all the entry detail records in the batch.

If the originator wishes to vary or change any of the effective entry date or purpose data, they need to create a new batch in order to classify that data under the batch header record. For example, if an originator wants to process payments for both regular salary and employee bonuses, they need to create two batches with two batch header records, one for "Payroll" and one for "Bonuses." The information included in the batch header record is essential to the efficient and accurate processing of the batch.

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