Bacs - Getting Started


  • UK payments are processed and distributed by a central body called Bacs, a not-for-profit organisation owned by 16 leading banks and building societies.
  • Bacs is split into two companies - Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), which governs the scheme, and VocaLink, which is responsible for the processing infrastructure.
  • Bacs operates two primary payment methods, Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit (the latter is used to process the vast majority of UK salaries).
  • During an average year, Bacs processes in the region of 6 billion payments, totalling nearly £4 trillion GBP.

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The Bacs Process


  • A standard Bacs Direct Credit operates on a 3-day cycle. If you want a payment to credit someone's account on Friday, you must submit it before the deadline on Wednesday.
  • Day 1: Files can be transmitted to Bacs via specialist software, such as ePay, but they must be received by 22:30 (this window ends earlier for Internet banking users).
  • Day 2: The payment is processed. At this point it can still be recalled.
  • Day 3: The amount value is credited to the recipient's accounts and debited from the originator's account.
  • Bacs payments can be scheduled for up to 31 days in advance of the payment date, and can also be recalled as late as day two of the cycle.

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Direct submitters

  • Direct submission means that by using a piece of software, such as ePay, payment files are sent to Bacs and no middleman (such as Internet banking or a bureau) is involved.
  • Users upload, validate and authorise a file to send to Bacs, using a Smart Card or HSM (Hardware Security Module) for security.
  • The progress of the submissions throughout the Bacs process can be tracked through the software.

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Indirect submission

  • An indirect submitter does not send payment information directly to Bacs and instead relies on a middleman (such as a bureau or bank) to send it on their behalf.
  • Indirect submitters can use ePay Online to submit files via our bureau service.
  • ePay Bureau processes files from indirect submitters but transmits these directly to Bacs.

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