The ACH network is a nationwide electronic funds transfer system for participating depository financial institutions. The American Clearing House Association, Electronic Payments Network, Federal Reserve and Visa act as ACH Operators, central clearing facilities through which financial institutions transmit or receive ACH debits and credits. The ACH network serves 20,000 financial institutions, 3 million businesses, and 100 million individuals. The ACH Network is commonly used for direct deposit of payroll and government benefits such as Social Security, direct payment of consumer bills, business-to-business payments, federal tax payments, and, increasingly, e-commerce payments. In 2000 there were 6.9 billion ACH payments made worth more than $20 trillion.