Bacs, Bureau Contingency, security, Smart Cards
Bacs, Bureau Service, Direct Debit, Security, Smart Cards
13, NOV 2020

Blog by Sarah Cottee, Training Manager

Recent Direct Debit Training courses have highlighted an increase in payers experiencing issues with their Smart Cards when working remotely due to Covid restrictions.

Issues that could impact your processes include:

  • A user is away on leave / furlough / sick / made redundant
  • Your Smart Cards break or expire
  • You cannot access your office (lockdown)
  • You cannot access your current processing solution remotely

Ensuring that you get your Direct Debit files to Bacs as scheduled is essential for any collecting organisation. Failure to do so will mean missed collections, restricted cash-flow and (potentially) unhappy customers! Service users must ensure they have backup plans in place in case of disaster

Smart Cards are simple to use but when it goes wrong the whole Direct Debt process can come to a standstill.

What should you be doing to stop issues with Smart Cards:

  • Ensure that individuals keep their Smart Cards with them – not locked in a draw in the office! (and therefore, unobtainable if access to the office is not possible)
  • Ensure Smart Card software is installed on your back-up machine. It is often overlooked but without it you will not be able to authorise submissions. Even if you use a cloud solution – you may be able to access it from anywhere with internet access but if you cannot submit a file because you have not installed a Smart Card reader then it doesn’t help you ensure your collections.
  • Ensure you keep your security contact details up-to-date at the bank and at Bacs. If not, the bank / Bacs may be unable to accept verbal instructions regarding your Direct Debit files as they won’t recognise the individuals authority to provide them.
  • Do not share Smart Cards or pin details. They are issued to a named individual and any transactions authorised by that card are the responsibility of that individual.
  • Always have more than one Smart Card active at any time to ensure the ability to process in case of loss/damage to one of the cards. Do not forget if you lock out your Smart Card with too many wrong passwords attempts you will need to order a new card from your sponsoring bank which could take up to 2 weeks to receive. How will you submit files during this time?
  • Do not leave Smart Cards plugged into the Smart Card reader after submitting the Direct Debit files. This helps ensure that cards do not get lost or damaged
  • All Smart Cards have a expiry date (written on the front of every card)– make sure you know when it is due to expire so you have enough time to order your replacement before it runs out

Are you confident that your organisation’s Direct Debit system is resilient and recoverable? Will it continue to operate despite serious incidents or disasters that might otherwise interrupt it? OR can you ensure it will be recovered to an operational state within a reasonably short time frame? Do you have a Contingency plan in place?

Don’t forget when it comes to Direct Debit the best back-up plan you can have, is linking to a Contingency Bureau. This means you can continue with your current processing solution but if something goes wrong you have a plan B. When using a Contingency Bureau you don’t need Smart Cards.

For further details about our Bureau contingency offering please see our website or contact the team info@cleardirectdebit.co.uk