Consumer Checking Changes
Important changes for consumer checking accounts and debit card transactions

Real-Time Processing

On March 20, 2016, First Horizon Bank introduced "real-time processing" for all signature debit transactions (i.e., when you press "credit") you make with your First Horizon Bank Visa debit card, as well as Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions. We introduced real-time processing for PIN debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals in late 2015. Customers have been asking for real-time processing, and we are pleased to bring you this convenience to enhance your customer banking experience.

Although real-time processing will simplify your banking activity in many ways, there are some things to keep in mind:

What is real-time processing and how will it affect my available balance?

When you use your debit card to make a purchase, your available balance will immediately be reduced by the authorized purchase amount and will be reflected across all First Horizon Bank channels. Likewise, ACH transactions may begin to affect your available balance during the business day, instead of strictly during overnight processing.

Will transactions always be processed in real time?

Not always, and perhaps not exactly. The initial authorization and the actual posted transaction may differ in amounts, depending on where you use your card. If you make an online purchase, for example, the merchant may not request authorization against your account until the order has shipped. There are also instances where you authorize a purchase and the merchant submits a different amount; the amount the merchant submits would be deducted from your available balance. For example:

  • Fuel purchases at the pump: Gas stations often submit a $1.00 authorization to ensure the card is active. The $1.00 charge would be deducted from your available balance. The gas station would "settle" the transaction with the actual amount, and this amount would be deducted from your available balance. This typically occurs one to three days later, depending on the merchant.
  • Restaurants: Your initial charge may not reflect any gratuity that you leave. As always, the gratuity will increase the amount of the charge after the restaurant or other business "settles" the charge. Depending on the merchant's practices, this could take one to three business days. However, the initial authorized amount would be deducted from your available balance in real- time.
  • Travel-related merchants: Hotels, rental car companies, and other places often place a "hold" on your funds for a multiple of the estimated purchase amount. With real-time processing, the hold amount is the amount your available balance will be reduced. As always, the actual amount will be settled later, once your actual charge is known.

Will I see the purchase immediately in online and mobile banking?

With real-time processing of signature debit transactions, your available balance will be reduced immediately but the transactions may appear under "Pending" until the merchant presents the transaction for settlement. This typically takes one to three business days.

Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions

For the most part, you have much less control over the posting of ACH transactions than you do debit card transactions. However, we want you to know that ACH transactions will change to real-time processing. The exact time of processing will be based on the time the merchant transmits the item to us. This includes both withdrawals and deposits. However, most deposits are presented and currently post overnight, so "real-time" will mean little change to you. Because ACH withdrawals could be presented to us during the day, and processed accordingly, this can result in a change in your available balance more frequently than you currently experience. See the section below entitled "What does this mean for me?" for a detailed explanation of the possible impact.

Why should I like real-time processing?

With real-time processing, your available balance will be updated in real-time whenever a transaction is authorized. Because your available balance will be reduced immediately, you should be able to better manage your checking account. There is less chance you will forget a transaction, which could result in an unintentional overdraft. Additionally, this can help you protect your account from potential fraud. With automatic updates to your account balance, you can monitor for any suspicious activity and report it immediately.

What does this mean for me?

We want you to be aware of this change because debit card authorizations and real-time debits will immediately reduce your available balance throughout the day. This means you could become overdrawn more quickly if you opted in to overdrafts for debit card transactions.* Conversely, there should be less chance of an unexpected overdraft fee due to a forgotten transaction posting several days later.

Even if your account becomes overdrawn during the day due to real-time processing, no overdraft fees will be charged if your account is returned to a positive balance by the end of the Business Day.**

Also, if you did not opt in for debit card overdraft transactions, then you could be declined for a transaction should you not have sufficient funds available at the time of the purchase. With real-time processing, this decline could happen more quickly than what you previously experienced.

For more information about overdrafts or to change your opt out/opt in status, visit or a branch, or call First Horizon Customer Support at 800-382-5465.

Because of the changes described in this letter, the Bank Depositor Agreement and Disclosures is changed as follows:

Page 10, "Payment Order of Items" is amended to read:

The law permits us to pay items (such as checks or any other transactions debiting your account) drawn on your account in any order. If more than one check or order is presented for payment on the same banking day, and the aggregate amount exceeds the available balance, you agree we may pay, accept, or charge them in any order we choose. We may also debit your account on or after receiving notice of an electronic fund transfer, wire order or other transaction debiting your account. Certain types of transactions (as noted below) are processed "real time," immediately reducing your available balance, though they may not immediately post to your account. The amounts of the overdraft and NSF fees are disclosed elsewhere. We encourage you to make careful records and practice good account management. This will help you to avoid writing checks or drafts without sufficient funds and incurring the resulting fees. 

Except for the processing of real-time transactions, including, but not limited to, wires, ACH, debit card, ATM withdrawal, internal funds transfers, bill pay, and assuming all deposit and withdrawal transactions below are made and received by us within the same business day (note: it may take up to three days for certain debit card purchases to be presented to us from the retailer), transactions currently post to your account in the following order:

  1. Credits in descending dollar amount
  2. Bank initiated debits in descending dollar amount
  3. Non-returnable debits in time stamp order (e.g. wires, ACH pre-fund transactions, debit card, ATM withdrawal, internal funds transfers, bill pay)
  4. Non-returnable debits not time stamped (e.g. "on us" cashed checks in check number order)
  5. Returnable debits, ACH debit (non pre-fund transactions) by PAR number then checks in check number order
  6. Post-system generated transactions: service charges and fees