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In this article, we'll give you all the information you need to know about Bacs payments, including how long they take to process.

Bacs payments timings

Bacs (known as Bankers Automated Clearing Services), is operated by Pay.UK and covers the clearing and settlement of UK automated payments. Simply put, Bacs is a bank transfer from one bank account to another. Due to the secure and faster Bacs payment time, it is a preferred payment type over other forms of payments. 

How long do Bacs payments take?

Bacs payment time is three business days which works as follows:

Day 1

The organisation submits the file to the Bacs payments system, which can only be done between 7 am and 10.30 pm.

Day 2

File is delivered to the recipient’s bank and processed.

Day 3

Money is then collected from the sender’s account (or settled in Bacs terms), and the recipient is credited – provided there are sufficient funds available. 

There are many things to consider when asking how long Bacs payments takes. If you collect Direct Debits yourself, it’s crucial that you know of any changes that may affect your processing. 

Can Bacs payments go in any time of the day?

Simply – no. If an organisation fails to submit a file to the Bacs payments system before 10.30 pm, a delay will be incurred in the process and as a consequence, for the recipient.

Additionally, Bacs transfers can only be processed on business days (Monday to Friday), meaning that organisations must take into account that non-business days (weekends and bank holidays) will affect the timeframe of payments.

Bacs payments are usually credited between 1 am and 7 am on the third day, however, if the payments haven’t been made by 7 am on the allocated date, it’s likely it will need to wait until the next day. This can be tricky if you’re paying salaries, so make sure you know the Bacs payment time to manage any expectations. 

How much do Bacs payments cost?

Payments by Bacs are very affordable and cost effective. It will depend on the amount and the volume of payments you process, and depending if you use a third party. There’s no cost to receiving Bacs payments.

Are you ready to start using Bacs payments?

In order to use Bacs payments, your organisation needs a Service User Number. You can apply for your own SUN via your bank as a direct submitter, which may take longer, but could give you increased flexibility and reduced churn. Alternatively, you can use a Facilities Managed (FM) service, where a third-party provider will submit the files to Bacs for you. 

If you would like to know more, we created a 6-step guide to help organisations apply for their own Service User Number.

Other benefits to being a part of Bacs payments services include reporting on failed payments. Invalid Direct Debit Instructions will be reported to your organisation via the bank returned AUDDIS (Automated Direct Debit Instruction Service) service with a defined reason code. Any amended or cancelled Instructions will be reported through the ADDACS (Automated Direct Debit Amendment and Cancellation Service) reports, again with a reason code which guides you on the next steps to take.  

Ready to start getting paid?

Give your organisation the stability and freedom it needs to drive higher levels of growth by seamlessly automating your payment processes.