For over 50 years, Bacs has been at the heart of the payments industry. On 1 May 2018, Bacs Payment Schemes Limited became a wholly owned subsidiary of the new home for UK retail payments, Pay.UK. The responsibility for the operations of Direct Debit, Bacs Direct Credit, the Current Account Switch Service, Cash ISA Transfer Service and the Industry Sort Code Directory were handed over to Pay.UK.
Direct Debit, Bacs Direct Credit, the Current Account Switch Service, Cash ISA Transfer Service and the Industry Sort Code Directory are owned and operated by Pay.UK. The Bacs payment systems are recognised as systemically important infrastructure under the Banking Act 2009. This means that, as the owner and operator of Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit, Pay.UK is regulated by the Financial Markets Infrastructure Directorate at the Bank of England.
Since its inception, more than 140 billion transactions have been debited or credited to British payment service provider (PSP) accounts via Bacs and, in 2019, 6.5 billion UK payments were made this way.
A new record was set in November 2019, with 124 million transactions processed in a single day, while the value of transactions processed reached £58.8 billion on one day alone in April 2017, another record.
More about Direct Debit
A Direct Debit is an instruction from a customer to their PSP authorising an organisation to collect varying amounts from their account, normally for regular payments for everything from household bills to charitable donations. A record 4.5 billion Direct Debits were processed in 2019.
Almost nine out of 10 British adults have at least one Direct Debit commitment, with 73% of household bills paid this way; 62% of people in GB prefer to pay regular bills by Direct Debit, with 41% advocating it for all regular bills. The number of people who feel positively towards Direct Debit is at 77% in 2016.
Direct Debit payments are protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee, a money back consumer safeguard.
For more information about Direct Debit, visit www.directdebit.co.uk.
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 PSP account.
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.
Find out more about Bacs Direct Credit.
More about the Current Account Switch Service
From launch in September 2013 to the end of 2019, more than 6.3 million UK current accounts have successfully moved between PSP providers using the Current Account Switch Service, which is owned and managed by Pay.UK.
The service, which offers consumers, small businesses, trusts and small charities a simple, reliable and stress-free way of switching current accounts, was created to increase competition, support the entry of new PSPs in the current account market place and give consumers greater choice when switching from one PSPs current account to another. It is now offered by 49 PSPs – up from 33 at launch - giving almost total coverage of the current account market.
Once a current account has been opened with a new PSP, the Current Account Switch Service will transfer all the activity relating to the old account to the new one. That includes moving incoming and outgoing payments, and transferring the account balance, as well as closing the old account.
The service is backed by the Current Account Switch Guarantee, which promises to reimburse account holders if they incur any fees or charges as a result of the switch over.
Find out more about the Current Account Switch Service.
More about the Cash ISA Transfer Service
The automated Cash ISA Transfer Service was launched in October 2012 to improve the quality and ease of transfers, reduce paper flow and increase efficiency.
Thanks to the service consumers can benefit from an improved experience, as transferring is easier and may be faster than before, due to a standard process that providers follow.
The service supports transfers of:
- An Adult Cash ISA to another Adult Cash ISA
- An Adult Cash ISA to an Adult Stocks and Shares ISA
- A Junior Cash ISA to another Junior Cash ISA
- A Junior Cash ISA to a Junior Stocks and Shares ISA.
Find out more about the Cash ISA Transfer Service.
More about the Biller Update Service
Launched in June 2013, the Biller Update Service (BUS), operated by Bacs on behalf of Pay.UK, provides participating organisations with a centrally-managed facility to update and disseminate biller information. It allows receiving organisations to update and maintain their own biller lists which they provide to customers via telephone and internet channels.
BUS ensures new requests submitted to the service are validated and then circulated to all receiving organisations, improving the accuracy and consistency of the biller information they provide.
Key benefits of the service include:
- Updates will have been validated with the submitting organisation before being published
- Information provided to users will be consistent
- Users can update their own biller lists to improve the quality and accuracy of the information they provide to customers.
Find out more about the Biller Update Service.