Recent Trade & Tariff Perspectives

January 19, 2022  |  Anahi Czeszewski  Product Development Manager

person checking figures on a calculator 

Benefits of Paying U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Automated Clearing House (ACH)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offers a variety of electronic payment options to importers, providing an efficient and paperless method for the payment of duties and fees and the receipt of any potential refunds. Additionally, some payment methods can offer further flexibility in the management of working capital and cashflow. Ensure you are taking advantage of the best payment method for your company by reviewing the available options discussed here.

What is ACH?

Through ACH, payments of duties and fees are pulled directly from a bank account. ACH allows for payment automation for imported goods, further providing automation and alleviating the time involved. Additionally, with this electronic payment option, the risk of checks being lost in the mail is eliminated.

CBP offers a variety of ACH payment options to importers, including:

  • ACH Debit
  • ACH Credit
  • ACH Periodic Monthly Statement (PMS)

ACH Debit

This payment type gives CBP the authority to withdraw funds through the financial institution. The benefit to this method is that payment is automatically pulled by CBP, so the worry in forgetting to initiate the transaction is eliminated. Moreover, ACH Debit can reduce administrative processing time and costs because of its automation.

ACH Credit

ACH Credit is, in effect, the opposite of ACH Debit since with ACH Credit, the importer must initiate the payment process. As CBP cannot begin the transfer of funds until the importer transmits the payment authorization, the risk increases if an issue arises with the financial institution, an employee is unexpectedly out of office, or the employee simply forgets.


With ACH PMS, duties and fees no longer have to be paid on a transaction-by-transaction basis, but rather, on an interest-free monthly basis. In fact, with ACH PMS, importers are given the ability to pay duties and fees for goods that are released during a given month as late as the fifteenth  working day of the following month. When thinking about strategies to manage cashflow, ACH PMS is worth considering.

How do I participate in ACH (Debit or Credit)?

The first step for participation in ACH Debit or Credit is to complete an application using either the CBP Form 400 (for ACH Debit) or CBP Form 401 (for ACH Credit) for application. C.H. Robinson can help make the application process seamless by completing available fields on your behalf—thus, requiring you to complete minimal fields.

We can send the application to CBP, and upon acceptance, complete the set up in our system. For ACH Debit applications, you will simply need to provide us with the Payer Unit Number (PUN) CBP has assigned to you to complete the activation.

How do I participate in PMS?

If you have an established Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Secure Data Portal account, you can log into the ACE Portal and request PMS processing. However, if you do not have an ACE Portal account, you can still take advantage of PMS. Connect with your C.H. Robinson representative to participate in PMS through our ACE Portal account.

Know that when analyzing your monthly PMS payments, there are benefits of establishing an ACE Secure Data Portal account, including the ability to track the trade activities through customized account views, and the numerous customizable reports available.

Where can I learn more about the ACE Portal benefits and features?

U.S. importers and exporters, and other trade community members, can find their trade data online through the ACE Secure Data Portal. On the other hand, new users can apply for an account online to take advantage of the system’s numerous benefits. Additionally, CBP regularly updates its development and deployment schedule, so you can keep up to date on any changes.

Are there any other benefits in having an ACE Secure Data Portal account?

There are many benefits to having an ACE Portal account for shippers, including it being free. Additional benefits include:

  • Communicate electronically with CBP and other agencies
  • Access reporting options to manage trade compliance and daily operations of brokers
  • Identify unauthorized filers/activity
  • Determine trade remedy and antidumping/countervailing duty case impacts
  • Retrieve Importer Security Filing (ISF) progress reports
  • Manage your direct payment account for duties, taxes, and fees with CBP
  • Review and download comprehensive import and export data sets for detailed analysis

Has CBP published the PMS dates for 2022?

In a recent Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS) Message, CBP attached the PMS statement dates for 2022, which are as follows:

Periodic Monthly Statements (PMS) Dates for 2022

Periodic Monthly Statements (PMS) Dates for 2022 

How can C.H. Robinson help?

To get started with the payment of duties and taxes to CBP using one of the ACH payment methods outlined above, be sure to connect with one of our trade policy experts to get started today.


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