About Bacs

Bacs is the not-for-profit organisation that regulates and manages the Direct Debit scheme. Bacs’ objectives are to ensure that a quality service is provided and that rules and regulations are adhered to by both users and banks. Bacs’ key responsibilities are to: Maintain the integrity of the scheme, Update the scheme rules and Act as an ombudsman / governing body for the service.

Bacs has grown in strength since its creation in 1968 and has processed over 130 billion payments in the last five decades. In 2017, a record 6.34 billion UK payments were made this way with a total value of £4.9 trillion, including over 4.2 billion Direct Debits. A new record was also set on 31 August 2017, with 114 million transactions processed in a single day.

On 1 May 2018, Bacs Payment Schemes Limited became a wholly owned subsidiary of the new home for UK retail payments, the NPSO. (NPSO Limited is the holding name for the New Payment Services Operator that has been set up to consolidate Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company Limited (C&CCC) which incorporates the Image Clearing System (ICS)). 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 the NPSO. As the owner and operator of Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit, the NPSO is regulated by the Financial Markets Infrastructure Directorate at the Bank of England.

For further information please visit www.bacs.co.uk.

The Bacs Processing Calendar

The Bacs processing calendar is a valuable tool to help you ensure you don’t miss those important processing dates over holiday periods. It also supplies you with the all important Julian dates you need to process your payment files.  Download the files below

2018 Bacs Processing Calendar

2019 Bacs Processing Calendar

Bacs History

  • 1968
  • 1971
  • 1983
  • 1985
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2007
  • 2018

BACS started as the Inter-Bank Computer Bureau

The Inter-Bank Computer Bureau changed its name to the “Bankers Automated Clearing Services Limited”. This is where we get the term ‘Bacs’

ACSTEL (a telephone service) was introduced. This meant that Bacs could process transactions over a phone line which resulted in a quicker, more efficient service. Previously data had to be sent using magnetic tapes which were biked to their destination – a slower and less secure service. With the introduction of Bacstel, the number of Direct Debits being processed increased.

The company shortened its name to “BACS Limited”

The company split into two separate arms:

  • Bacs Payment Schemes Ltd. This arm took responsibility for promoting and governing the scheme as a Not for Profit Organisation
  • BACS Ltd. This arm owned the infrastructure that processed the scheme

To avoid confusion, BACS Ltd changed its name to VOCA

All Service Users migrate to using Bacstel-IP software, a system which allows users to submit and monitor payments via the internet. This resulted in a further increase in the use of Direct Debits

VOCA merged with LINK, the organisation that runs the UK’s cash machine network and became known as VOCALINK. VOCALINK provide domestic and international transaction services to banks and corporate organisations.

On 1 May 2018, Bacs Payment Schemes Limited became a wholly owned subsidiary of the new home for UK retail payments, the NPSO. (NPSO Limited is the holding name for the New Payment Services Operator that has been set up to consolidate Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company Limited (C&CCC) which incorporates the Image Clearing System (ICS)).

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 the NPSO.

About the NPSO - the New Payment System Operator:

NPSO Limited is the holding name for the company that has been set up to consolidate Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company Limited (C&CCC) which incorporates the Image Clearing System (ICS) that will replace the paper processing system for cheques currently managed by C&CCC. These retail payment systems, which process over £6.4 trillion worth of payments every year between them, are joined by UK Payments Administration Ltd (UKPA), which provides people, facilities and business services expertise to support the systems behind the payment system operations.

These retail payment services were brought together to reduce complexity and risk and to enable a more competitive payments industry in the UK.

For further information please visit www.newpso.uk.

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