Bacs direct participation


Bacs direct participation is open to banks, building societies, authorised electronic money institutions and authorised payment institutions.

When determining whether Bacs direct participation is right for you, you should consider the eligibility criteria and the decision tree below. Payment service poviders can be sponsored into the Bacs system by a Bacs participant if direct participation is not considered appropriate. View the current list of Bacs participants.

Direct participants of Bacs have a number of roles, they:

  • Settle at the Bank of England
  • Underwrite the Direct Debit Guarantee
  • Guarantee Bacs (Bacs Payment Schemes Limited is a company limited by guarantee)
  • Fund Bacs
  • Underwrite all risks incurred via Bacs
  • Direct Bacs and determine its plans
  • Use Bacs to support their customer propositions. 

Bacs participation eligibility criteria - updated 31 Decemeber 2020

To become a direct participant of Bacs a number of criteria need to be met. Each member must:

  • Have a settlement account at the Bank of England
  • Either carry out business and operate an office in the UK, or where requested, provide an independent council / legal opinion which confirms that the payment service agreements are legally binding and enforceable in the jurisdiction where the prospective participant is domiciled, and which confirms any other matters so required, to ensure the safety, integrity and efficiency of the payment service
  • Meet agreed technical and operational requirements, including having an agreement in place with VocaLink (or another provider of approved clearing services), and having an approved trust service
  • Be a bank, building society, authorised payment institution or electronic money institution
  • Sign a legal document in respect of participation, and of the settlement arrangements
  • Pay a share of Bacs costs. 

Bacs participants operate in a clear and transparent governance structure, supported by key legal agreements, rules and procedures. Key documents are listed below, some are immediately available, and some are available under Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) as participation application progresses. 

Available now

The following documents can be found in the Information Hub to the right of your screen:

Bacs Membership Costs
Memorandum and Articles of Association
Payment System Rules​ 

Available under NDA

Bacs Participant on-boarding process
Bacs Settlement Agreement​
Bacstel-IP rules
Payment System Membership Agreement
Bacs Scheme Rules
Bacs Functional Specification
Bacs Codes of Conduct – Systems, Sponsorship, Channels, and Trust Service
Bacs Security Policy
Bank Reference Data - Member's Guide
Deed of Charge / Deeds of Funding
Settlement Service Provider Agreement
Key Supplier contracts and Service Level Agreements
Managed Services (Current Account Switching and Cash ISA Transfer services) legal agreements
Budget and Financial reports

Prospective direct participants of Bacs are required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement with Bacs before being provided access to these documents. This is required to protect the security and intellectual property of Bacs Payment Schemes Limited.

Enquire about participation of Bacs or the participation criteria. ​


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