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Bacs corporate information

About Bacs

Bacs has been maintaining the integrity of payment related services since 1968, with responsibility for the schemes behind the clearing and settlement of UK automated payment methods, Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit.

Since its inception, more than 110 billion transactions have been debited or credited to British bank accounts via Bacs and, in 2014, 5.8 billion UK payments were made this way. A new record was also set in July 2015, with 103 million transactions processed in a single day, while the value of transactions processed reached £52.3 billion on one day alone in April, another record.

Bacs is a membership company limited by Guarantee and has maintained carbon neutral status since 2012.

The Government acknowledges that the Bacs payment system is of critical importance to the UK financial system and has confirmed that it meets the recognition criteria set out in the Banking Act 2009.

More about Direct Debit

A Direct Debit is an instruction from a customer to their bank or building society authorising an organisation to collect varying amounts from their account, normally for regular payments for everything from household bills to charitable donations.

Eight out of 10 British adults have at least one Direct Debit commitment, with 71 per cent of household bills paid this way; 68 per cent of people in GB prefer to pay most bills by Direct Debit, and the number of people who feel positively towards Direct Debit reached 85 per cent in 2014.

More than 3.6 billion Direct Debits were processed in 2014, and Direct Debit payments are protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee, a money back consumer safeguard.

For more information about Direct Debit, visit

More about Bacs Direct Credit

Bacs Direct Credit is a simple, secure and reliable service, which enables organisations of all sizes to make payments direct into a bank or building society account - unlike cash or cheques, Bacs Direct Credit payments cannot be lost, stolen or delayed in the post. In 2014 there were nearly 2.2 billion Bacs Direct Credit transactions.

There are more than 150,000 organisations in the UK using Bacs Direct Credit; while it has been widely adopted to pay benefits, wages and salaries – nearly 90 per cent of the country’s workforce is paid this way and one billion benefit payments are made via Bacs Direct Credit – it is also the payment method of choice for a range of other applications such as pension payments, employee expenses, insurance settlements, dividends and refunds.

What is VocaLink?

VocaLink Limited, is an international payment transaction specialist which provides payment services to banks and corporates. It runs, services and maintains the infrastructure network that processes automated payments on behalf of Bacs. For more information go to:   

What is the relationship between Bacs and VocaLink?

The history of the two companies is closely intertwined. However, in short, VocaLink owns the infrastructure on which payment schemes operate and Bacs maintains the integrity of the current schemes.

To provide historical context: In 1968, the electronic transfer of funds between banks was introduced by the Inter-Bank Computer Bureau. In 1971 this organisation was renamed Bacs (Bankers Automated Clearing Services); later shortened to Bacs Limited in 1985.

Throughout the eighties and nineties, Bacs invested heavily in new technologies that took full advantage of advances in processing power and software engineering. In 2002, this culminated in a step change in the delivery of Bacs services with the initial introduction of Bacstel-IP – a system which allows users to submit and monitor payments via the internet.

This development was quickly followed by a governance review and an analysis of the payment market which split Bacs into two separate organisations - Bacs Ltd and Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs). On 12 October 2004, Bacs Ltd became Voca Limited. Today, both organisations work closely together. Subsequently, on 2 July 2007, Voca merged with LINK - the operator of the UK cash machine (ATM) network. The resulting company - VocaLink - provides domestic and international transaction services to banks and corporates.

What is the relationship between Bacs and Faster Payments?

Faster payments is a new payment system which has been developed by the UK banking industry, it enables electronic payments, typically initiated via the internet or phone to be processed in hours. The new service runs alongside the existing Bacs service. Bacs' involvement is in the delivery and management of the approved software and approved bureau services for direct corporate and bureau access to the Faster Payments processing infrastructure, employing expertise and elements from its current solution set. This allows business users to submit files of payments directly in the Faster Payments Service.


© Bacs Payment Schemes Limited 2015