Process Payroll Contributions (File Upload)

Key Takeaway

User-friendly instructions for employers with more than 50 participants.

Prior to submitting your first payroll file to Alerus, we would like you to submit a test file in order to ensure format accuracy. Create a file using the standard payroll format guide and follow the instructions below to submit your test. Note: When you submit your test file, please indicate “this is a test file” in the comment section. After successfully submitting a test file, you will continue to use the format to upload your payroll files in the future.

To log in, you will need your User ID sent via email and your Temporary Password sent via postal mail. Your Password will arrive several days after you receive your User ID. If you do not have your User ID, please contact your account administrator.

Submitting Contributions

  1. 1

    Log into Employer Access, then click Plan Access and select your Plan ID.

  2. 2

    Under Manage My Contributions, select Contribution Submission.

  3. 3

    Click Add New Contribution or click Copy to copy a prior submission.

  4. 4

    Select the appropriate payroll frequency, then set the payroll date and click Create.

  5. 5

    Select Upload to submit a file, choose the data to import Contributions Only/Contributions and Loans combined, Loans only, or contribution only and multi-loan file, select the Contribution Structure, then click Next.

  6. 6

    To import a file, select Browse and attach your file. Click Upload and a sample of your imported file will appear in the File Viewer (lower part of screen).

  7. 7

    Under $ Source totals, enter the amount for each contribution source included in the file. Click Validate. This will perform a consistency check on your file.

  8. 8

    Review Validation Results – rejects and warnings, if any. Rejects in participant data will be bolded. The rejects must be corrected before proceeding. The warnings should be reviewed. Make any corrections in the file and re-upload.

    Common Data Rejects/Warnings and How to Resolve Them

  9. 9

    Select the Funding Method: ACH (if set up), check, or wire/ACH credit. Enter the amount and click Next. If you would like to set up an ACH account to facilitate the most efficient contribution processing, please contact your account administrator.

  10. 10

    The Verification page allows you to perform a final check before submitting your file. It includes a source breakdown and a review of participant detail. Verify all data is correct and click Submit. The contribution is not received at Alerus until the Submit button has been clicked.

  11. 11

    The Confirmation page is the final screen and includes the data verified on the previous screen. Select Print for a PDF confirmation. In Contribution Submission, you will see both the submitted file and the PDF confirmation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should I contact if I have questions on how to submit payroll data to Alerus?

Contact Alerus at 800.433.1685 and a representative will assist you with your payroll submission questions.

Is the transfer of information secure using the Alerus web site for contribution submission?

Alerus deploys several different measures to protect the security and confidentiality of employee information. These include:

  • Electronic files must be transmitted using Internet browsers that have a high-security standard of 128-bit encryption.
  • A valid user ID and password are required to access the contribution website.

What is the ACH cutoff time?

If the contribution file is received by 1 p.m. Central Time on a business day, the ACH is typically initiated that day. If the file is future dated, the ACH will be initiated on the business day coinciding with or following the pay date.

How does Alerus define a “non-business day”?

Non-business days are Federal Reserve holidays, closed market days, and weekends. We are unable to process transactions on those dates. To find Federal Reserve holidays, refer to payroll tools on To find closed market days, refer to the holiday calendar on

What is the Department of Labor (DOL) requirement regarding the timing of depositing retirement plan contributions into the trust?

The DOL states “plan contributions should become plan assets on the earliest date they can reasonably be segregated from the employer’s general assets.” For example, if an employer could reasonably segregate plan contributions from their general assets in three business days, the DOL requires that you remit contributions within that timeframe and not delay remittance beyond that time.

What causes a delay in contributions being deposited into the trust?

The most common reasons for a delay in contributions being deposited are:

  • The deposit amount does not match the contribution detail.
  • Alerus does not have enrollment information for all participants that made a contribution.

How do I submit information to Alerus if I use a payroll vendor?

Contact your payroll vendor to request establishing a downloadable file using Alerus’ standard payroll format.