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FAQs

 

​We have pulled together some commonly asked questions to help the media understand more about Bacs and its services. We have also included some questions asked by customers to give you an insight into some of their possible concerns.

    Corporate
  • ​What is Bacs?

    For over 50 years, Bacs has been at the heart of the payments industry. Since its inception, more than 130 billion transactions have been debited or credited to British bank accounts via Bacs and, in 2017, 6.34 billion UK payments were made this way. A new record was set on 29 November​ 2018, with 123 million transactions processed in a single day, while the value of transactions processed reached £52.3 billion on one day alone in April 2015, another record.

    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​.​​​

  • ​Who are the participants of Bacs?

    Bacs participants are made up of banks, building societies, Authorised Electronic Money Institutions and Authorised Payment Institutions. For more details visit www.bacs.co.uk/Participants

  • ​What are Bacs' responsibilities?

    ​Bacs is responsible for:

    • Administering the Scheme's payment rules and standards, and providing advice on best practice
    • Enhancing the quality of clearing, settlement and payment services
    • Ensuring compliance with the Bank of England regulatory requirements
    • Developing new payment services to meet the needs of corporate customers and consumers.​
  • How did Bacs come about? What is the history of Bacs?​

    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 and Bacs Payment Schemes Limited reclaimed the Bacs name. 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 was VocaLink. On 2 May 2017 VocaLink was acquired by Mastercard. Vocalink provides domestic and international transaction services to banks and corporates.


    Vocalink owns the infrastructure on which payment schemes operate and Bacs maintains the integrity of the current Schemes.​


    In May 2018, Bacs Payment Schemes Limited became a wholly owned subsidiary of Pay.UK. ​Pay.UK has taken overall responsibility for the activities previously carried out by Bacs Payment Schemes Limited, Faster Payments Scheme Limited, The Cheque & Credit Clearing Company Limited, and UK Payments Administration Ltd. which process a combined £6.7 trillion worth of payments annually.​

  • ​Who is Pay.UK​.​​​​?

    Pay.UK​.​​​ maintains and develops the payment systems and standards which are the lifeblood of the UK economy. They are the leading authority for payments, working in the public interest to ensure the payment systems the UK relies on for its banking are safe, open, innovative and resilient.


    Pay.UK​.​​​ vision for the future is to enable a vibrant UK economy with Pay.UK​.​​​​ as the leading payment authority in the UK, delivering the best in class payment infrastructure and standards in the UK for the benefit of people everywhere.


    Find out more about Pay.UK​​​​​ here: www.wearepay.uk​.​​

  • ​What benefits will Pay.UK​​​​​​ bring?

    One consolidated operator will be able to take an over-arching view of the retail payments sector. Building on the expertise of the existing payment schemes, Pay.UK​.​​​​ will deliver best practice in terms of technology, governance and risk management. This will deliver greater efficiency, more innovation and even greater access to payments and the infrastructure that facilitates them.


    Find out more about the Pay.UK here.​​​: www.wearepay.uk​.​​

  • ​Will this development affect Bacs payments operations?

    ​There will be no impact for consumers, service users, or payment services providers (PSPs) following the transfer of operational responsibilities to Pay.UK​.​​​​ It will be business as usual.

  • Who are Bacs' key stakeholders?​

    • ​Bacs member banks and building societies
    • Regulators, such as the PSR, FCA, and the Bank of England
    • Vocalink
    • Users of the Vocalink service
    • Consumers and businesses using the Bacs services​.
  • What are Bacs' core products?​

    ​Bacs has two main products. These are Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit.​

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