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Guide to obtaining a Direct Debit Service User Number (SUN)

As a Bacs Approved Bureau with over 20 years’ experience in helping charities and commercial businesses to collect Direct Debits, we are often are asked how do you get a Direct Debit Service User Number (SUN).

Service user number guide

Having your own SUN means you are in control over your payments and data. It can make your business more efficient, and save you any commission or monthly fees that are charged by the third party.

So generally, SUNs are given to organisations who are sponsored by Bacs members – i.e. UK banks, which means you will need to go to your bank and make an application. Your bank will need to make sure you meet certain criteria and what these requirements are might vary depending on the bank.

However as a rough guide, they broadly look at whether you can carry out and enforce the Direct Debit scheme rules, minimise submission errors and maintain the scheme quality and integrity. This can be done by your Bacs bureau who will take care of the manual work involved. Your bank will also need reassurance that you have sufficient reserves to make any refunds under the Direct Debit Guarantee which protects customers against payments made in error. What these reserves are will depend on the bank.

We’ve put together a quick 6 step how-to guide to how you can get a Bacs Service User Number, which could help explain the process more simply:

1. Contact your Relationship Manager at your bank

Whether you have a direct contact with them, or going via your Finance team, you will need to directly speak to your Relationship Manager and ask them that you would like to apply for a Service User Number.

You will need ask for the following forms (which may differ depending on your bank):

  • Bacstel IP Indirect Submitter
  • AUDDIS and Paperless application forms
  • Indemnity form

If you are using Rapidata to setup and process your Direct Debits, your Customer Success Manager will guide you on these forms, what they mean and what information you need to provide.

2. Complete and return the completed application forms

Send your completed forms back to your Relationship Manager who will have to approve and once done, will send on to the bank’s Bacs Team. They then issue your six digit Service User Number (SUN).

With your own SUN, you have direct control over your Direct Debit payments ensuring your payments are made directly to you, making you more more productive, with better cash flow control and customer retention.

3. Complete AUDDIS test file

AUDDIS – the Automated Direct Debit Instruction Service – automates the transfer of Direct Debit Instructions (DDIs) between you and the bank. Essentially it makes the processing of DDIs easier, faster, more efficient and cost-effective.

You can only carry out Paperless Direct Debit if you are an AUDDIS user. Paperless Direct Debit means that DDIs can be set up over the phone, web
or face-to-face without the donor having to sign a paper Instruction.

So you can begin to set up new Direct Debits, you (or your Bureau if you’re using one) will need to send a test file to your bank, and provided this all goes smoothly, your bank will give you a live date once successful.

4. Complete Paperless Direct Debit training

Paperless Direct Debit speeds up and make the sign up much easier, whilst at the same time reducing admin costs and saving time. In order for you to take Direct Debit payments via the telephone or online, you have to complete the Bacs Paperless Direct Debit training course.

This course needs to be successfully completed by 2 members of staff, but your sponsoring bank can provide further information on what this means.

5. Obtain documents approval with the Bacs Team

The Bacs team at your bank will need to approve those documents that you use for signing up new payers or supporters, and includes the confirmation or advance notice letter (ANL) that you must sent out. It’s vital that these documents meet the Bacs Guides and Rules.

At Rapidata our ANL and confirmation emails are already Bacs approved so there’s no need to go back to your bank for further sign off.

6. You will be issued a live date

Once you have your live date, you can setup and process Direct Debits under your name – congratulations!

This is a very simple guide to getting a Service User Number, as there are different options and things to consider if you already have Direct Debits in place.

Find out how you can benefit from our Direct Debit Service User Number related solutions whether or not you currently have a SUN, please browse our services here or speak to us today.


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