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  • Account limit

    ​A monetary limit set by the sponsor on an individual account to restrict the value passing through for a fixed period

  • Account Switching Service

    ​The service designed to make it straightforward for customers to switch their bank account and their regular recurring payments such as Direct Debit and Standing Orders to another bank or building society


    ​Automated Direct Debit Amendment and Cancellation Service - the Bacs service allowing banks or building societies to advise Direct Debit service users of any amendments to or cancellations of Direct Debit Instructions (DDIs). Also used to advise service users of the new bank account details when a customer transfers their account from one paying bank to another. The communication is sent electronically​

  • Advance notice

    ​The notice period (normally 10 working days plus postal time) given to the payer in respect of the date of debiting and the amount to be debited​

  • Agency bank

    ​Any bank or building society that is not a member of Bacs​

  • Aggregator
    A third party that provides one or more Payment Service Providers (PSPs) with a technical access solution enabling​ the submission of input to, and, more importantly, the collection of output from, the Bacs service

  • Amalgamation of collections

    ​Multiple or combined payments relating to more than one contract collected under a single Direct Debit Instruction (DDI)​

  • Arrestment

    ​This is a legal warrant lodged by a Sherriff Officer or a Messenger-at-Arms with a person owing money to or holding goods on behalf of another who is being sued by a third party, for payment of a debt performance of an obligation​


    ​Automated Return of Unapplied Credits - a mechanism by which paying banks return unapplied credits to the service user via Bacs​


    ​Automated Return of Unpaid Direct Debits - the automated system used by banks to return unpaid Direct Debit payments. Unpaid Direct Debits are advised to the service user by Bacs using the Automated Unpaid Direct Debit (AUDD) report​​


    ​The Automated DDI Service - the Bacs system for electronically lodging Direct Debit Instructions (DDIs)​​


    ​For the purpose of AUDDIS the AUDDIS Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) is either the Instruction or any subsequent written communication from the customer to the originator amending the terms of the original AUDDIS DDI​


    ​Advice of Wrong Account for Automated Credits Service - if a Bacs Direct Credit has incorrect account destination details the receiving bank will try to locate the correct account and advise the originating organisation of the details. AWACS is the automated system used by banks to notify the organisation of the correct details to be used for future payments​

  • BAB

    ​Bacs approved bureau - a commercial bureau awarded approved status by Bacs​

  • 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, as well as the provision of managed services for third parties, such as the Cash ISA Transfer Service, and the development, management and ownership of the Current Account Switch Service.

    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.​

  • Bacs cycle

    ​The three day cycle (minimum three English bank working days) taken for a payment instruction to be submitted to Bacs for processing and the time it reaches the destination account. The processing cycle has the following stages: arrival, input, processing and entry​

  • Bacs Direct Credit

    ​An electronic payment processed by Bacs and made directly to a bank or building society account​

  • Bacstel-IP

    ​A service providing a highly secure access channel into Bacs. It uses internet technologies and public key infrastructure (PKI) security to allow access to Bacs payment services, including payment file processing, report accessing etc. Bacstel-IP carries out some online validation of submissions​

  • Bank

    Whenever the word bank appears, it refers to bank or building society​​

  • BASS

    ​A Bacs Approved Software Service. Solution suppliers wishing to market Bacs connectivity packages submit their products for testing and if approved, may market themselves as suppliers of a Bacs Approved solution / software​​

  • Branch

    ​A department or office of a financial institution, identified by a sort code​

  • Bureau

    ​An organisation that sends payments to Bacs on behalf of an organisation which uses the Bacs service. Different categories of bureaux are: Commercial - submitting data to Bacs on behalf of totally independent third party customers; Bank - offering members services direct; In-house commercial group - working solely for the group and submitting data to Bacs incorporating either a single company that has different user numbers for different applications or a company group where each individual company has its own user number(s); Other - any bureau not in the above categories​​

  • Calendar day

    ​A day according to the Gregorian calendar, for example, 11 July 2007​

  • Cash ISA

    ​An account that allows you to earn interest tax free on cash savings​

  • CHAPS Co

    ​Clearing House Automated Payments System - a system providing same day settlement between financial institutions for low volume, high value transactions​

  • Cheque & Credit Clearing Company

    ​Cheque and Credit Clearing Company - is the paper clearing processing cheques and bank giro credits​

  • Clearing

    ​Method of exchange between financial institutions​

  • Consequential loss

    ​A loss incurred by a payer which is a consequence of the direct loss suffered as a result of an erroneous Direct Debit transaction​

  • Core reference

    ​A unique reference on the Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) of a minimum of six alpha numeric, upper case characters which matches the DDI to the subsequent Direct Debit payments (Also see reference​)​​

  • Counter claim

    ​A claim raised by a service user against a paying bank following settlement of an indemnity claim which the originator believes to be unjustified​

  • Credit

    A transaction that credits a destination account​​

  • DDI (Direct Debit Instruction)

    ​An authority signed by the customer allowing the service user to collect Direct Debit payments from his / her account​​

  • Debit

    A transaction that debits a destination account​​

  • Destination account

    The account to which a transaction is addressed​​

  • Direct Debit

    ​A payment of an agreed amount collected from a customers bank account by a service user on request. The amounts and dates may vary from payment to payment​

  • Direct Debit Guarantee

    ​The guarantee offered by the paying banks to payers in respect of the Direct Debit Scheme specifying their rights and safeguards​

  • Dormancy period

    ​A period, normally 13 months, from Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) lodgement or last Direct Debit payment, after which a paying bank will drop details of a DDI because no payments have been collected​

  • Due date

    ​The debit date as advised to the payer in the advance notice from the service user​

  • EISCD (Extended Industry Sorting Code Directory)

    ​See ISCD​

  • Entry day (day 3)

    ​See Bacs cycle​

  • Expiry

    ​When a Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) has expired​

  • Facilities management (FM) client

    ​A business that has not been sponsored into the Direct Debit Scheme by their bank and therefore does not have a service user number (SUN) and engages the services of a facilities management (FM) provider to collect and administer Direct Debits on their behalf.

  • Facilities management (FM) provider

    ​An organisation that acts as a service user for those businesses that do not have their own service user number (SUN) to collect and administer Direct Debits on their behalf.

  • FAQ

    ​Frequently asked questions - documents listing and answering the most common questions on a particular subject​

  • Field

    ​Field of a data record (also see Field 9, 10 or 11)​

  • Field 10

    ​The reference (maximum of 18 characters) applied to the Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) by the service user when it is lodged with the paying bank. This must also appear in the Direct Debit payment record​

  • Field 11

    ​The payer’s account name (maximum of 18 characters). This must be the name of the person who is paying the Direct Debit and has signed the Direct Debit Instruction (DDI).​

  • Field 9

    ​The short name of the service user (maximum of 18 characters) which appears in the Direct Debit payment record and may appear on the payer’s bank statement​

  • File

    ​A self balancing set of records from a service user​

  • FTP

    A networking protocol​​

  • HTML

    A scripting language​

  • HTTP

    A networking protocol​

  • Indemnity

    ​A document which contains a legally binding undertaking to make payment to a paying bank in response to an indemnity claim. An indemnity, in standard form, is an essential requirement of the Direct Debit Scheme​

  • Indemnity claim

    ​A claim made by the paying bank in respect of an incorrect Direct Debit being applied to an account​

  • Industry sector

    ​An area of business such as a market sector, for example, the insurance market​

  • Input day (day 1)
  • Input deadline

    ​Time by which a transmission must be completed (22.30) if the items are to be processed on the following processing day​

  • Input report

    ​The confirmation of processing of an organisations file available to the service user on input day​​

  • Instruction
  • Interbank Transfer of Direct Debit Instructions

    ​A service to assist customers when moving their bank or building society accounts by electronically transferring Direct Debit and Standing Order information between banks or building societies. Also known as Transfer of Direct Debit and Standing Orders (ToDDaSO)​​​​

  • Internet Protocol

    ​The Internet Protocol (IP) is a set of computer technologies that enable many computers to exchange information reliably and efficiently, wherever they may be, worldwide​

  • Irregular payments

    ​Irregular payments, which occur more than once in a 13 month period, are allowed by the Scheme​

  • ISA

    ​Individual Savings Account​


    ​The ISCD and the EISCD are directories that combine a number of key databases. They contain information about all banks / building societies connected to any of the UK clearing systems: Bacs, CHAPS and Cheque and Credit Clearing. The directories contain a record for each bank / building society branch and other financial institutions involved in the UK payment systems. They include the sorting code, branch details and details of the bank that settles transactions for the branch in each of the clearings. The ISCD is available to existing subscribers only. New subscribers will receive the EISCD which includes further fields in its information relating to the Faster Payments Service​​

  • ISDN

    ​Integrated Services Digital Network - a communications technology used to transmit relatively high speed digital data through a single channel over telephone lines​

  • Item

    ​A term used to describe a single Bacs transaction​

  • Item limit

    ​A ceiling monetary amount, requested by a service user, to be set against individual items. When the limit is exceeded, the record is noted on the input report​

  • Julian date

    ​Julian dates run serially throughout the year. 1 January is always 001 and 31 December is 365 (366 if a leap year)​

  • Limit value

    ​A financial limit agreed with the sponsoring bank on an individual account to restrict the value passing through that account for a fixed period​

  • Live status

    ​An organisation or bureau, who has successfully submitted test files and has been authorised by their sponsoring bank to submit live files to Bacs​

  • Lodgement (lodged)

    ​The process of the paying bank accepting the Direct Debit Instruction (DDI)​

  • Member

    ​A bank or building society that is a member of Bacs​

  • Migration (AUDDIS)

    ​The process by which an originator transfers non AUDDIS Direct Debit Instructions (DDIs) to the automated AUDDIS system (Also see AUDDIS​)​

  • Modulus checking

    ​An arithmetic check comparing a valid link between a sort code and account number range​

  • Nominated account

    ​The account quoted on a record as the originating account for a particular organisation from which credit / debit transactions are to be distributed​​

  • Notice of expiry

    ​Is deemed to have been given if the service user identifies the final payment under the expiring Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) by use of transaction code 19. (Also see expiry​)​​

  • On or immediately after

    ​On or within three bank working days of the specified payment date given in the advance notice​

  • Originating account

    ​The account from which a payment originates​

  • Overlimit

    ​Referral of a file, which exceeds the limit for the nominated account set up by the sponsor​

  • Participants of the Direct Debit Scheme

    ​These are the sponsor, the service user and the paying bank​

  • Payer

    ​The person who by signing a Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) has given authority for his / her account to be debited by the service user using the Scheme​​

  • Payers branch

    ​The paying bank branch holding the payers account to be debited​

  • Paying bank

    ​The bank maintaining the payers account​

  • Payment date

    ​The date when a Direct Debit is due to be debited to the payers account​

  • Preferers

    ​People who prefer to use Direct Debit for most of their bills​

  • Processing cycle

    ​The minimum time taken for a payment instruction to be submitted to Bacs for processing and the time it reaches the destination account. The processing cycle has four stages: arrival, input, processing and entry. (Also see three day cycle​)​​

  • Processing day (day 2)
  • Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

    ​PKI is a computer technology for secure exchange of information amongst individuals and computer systems. It allows a trusted organisation, such as a bank, to issue digital certificates to people and organisations that need to trust each other. It is generally used in conjunction with Internet protocol (IP). The certificates are used by their holders to prove their identity. They can also digitally sign documents and transactions. The signature proves the authenticity of the transaction and also proves that the data exchanged has not been modified or tampered with. Digital signatures are now acceptable in a court of law. The same technology is also used to encrypt data in transit so nobody other than the intended recipient can read it​

  • Receiving account

    ​Also referred to as destination account​

  • Record

    ​In Bacs terms a record corresponds to a credit or debit transaction​

  • Reference

    ​The reference allocated by a service user to each individual Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) and Direct Debit. (Also see core reference​)​

  • Refund request

    ​A claim which is not covered by the valid claim criteria. Generally where a bank has made a payment in error​

  • Re-presentation

    ​A Direct Debit that has been returned unpaid to the service user being resubmitted for payment​​

  • Selectives

    ​People who are selective about their use of Direct Debit and use it for only some of their bills​

  • Service user

    ​A company, group of companies, charity etc. that is sponsored to use one or more Bacs service​

  • Service user guide Bacstel-IP

    ​The technical specification for submission to Bacs​

  • Service user number (SUN)

    ​The unique six digit number allocated to organisations authorised to use the Bacs service​

  • Single payment

    ​A Direct Debit which will be collected once only​

  • Solution supplier

    ​A Bacs solution supplier is a company providing Bacs approved software solutions to businesses wishing to access the Bacs service. Solutions include Bacstel-IP software and hardware packages, mailbox services for Bacs reports and total management solutions to handle and run Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit systems. (Also see Bacs approved software service (BASS)​)​

  • Sort code directory

    ​A register of valid Bacs sort codes maintained by the paying banks. This information may be held by service users to check a payers bank branch sort code​

  • Sorting code

    ​A six digit code uniquely identifying the location of where an account is held​

  • Sponsor / sponsoring bank

    ​A Bacs member authorising organisations and bureaux to submit data for processing. Though the term sponsoring bank is often used, this actually refers to banks and building societies​

  • Standing order

    ​An instruction given by a customer to their bank to make a payment of a fixed amount on specified regular dates to a named individual or organisation​

  • The Scheme

    ​Where Scheme appears with an upper case S this refers to the Direct Debit Scheme​

  • Third party debt order

    ​An order of an English, Welsh or Northern Irish court addressed to a bank to pay money from a debtors account to a judgement creditor in satisfaction of a judgement debt​

  • Three day cycle

    ​The service offered by Bacs where the minimum time taken for the processing cycle is three processing days. Input, processing and entry occur on consecutive processing days​

  • ToDDaSO

    ​Transfer of Direct Debit and Standing Orders (Also see Interbank Transfer of Direct Debits and Standing Orders​)​​

  • Trading name

    ​A name under which a company conducts its business. This name may differ from the service user’s registered name​

  • Transaction code

    ​A series of codes used in connection with transactions processed via Bacs determining the type of transaction, for example, for Direct Debits - 01,17,18, 19 - AUDDIS Instruction 0S, 0C, 0N​

  • United Kingdom (UK)

    ​For the purpose of the Scheme, the United Kingdom (UK) comprises England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man​

  • Unpaid Direct Debit

    ​A Direct Debit that is returned uncollected by the paying bank, for example, insufficient funds​

  • Unpaid Direct Debit reason codes

    ​A series of codes used to denote the reason for returning a Direct Debit unpaid either by automated means via Bacs (ARUDD) or by manual advice​

  • VocaLink

    ​VocaLink is the commercial company that physically processes the Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit payments, and maintains the payment network. VocaLink’s products and services make all kinds of data transactions significantly more accessible to banks, governments and businesses​

  • Working days

    ​For the purposes of the Scheme, working days is defined as English bank working days excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays​

  • XML

    ​eXtensible Markup Language, XML, is a widely used system for defining complex data structures in such a way that it becomes easier to manage and exchange between applications​

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