Bacs, Bureau Service, Direct Debit, News
19, SEP 2016

Anyone who collects Direct Debits should have this information to hand in the rare event that they need it. That is just the trouble – we assume everything is ok until suddenly it isn’t.

I was prompted to write this as today is the day that organisations who have ignored warnings and messages about a Bacs security update will find themselves unable to send any Bacs files. Other common issues are smart card failure, files submitted in error and other IT issues. So what do you do when it all goes wrong? Well the first thing is to plan for it in advance!  The following will help make sure you are ready for the unexpected.

  1. Act fast – if you have sent a file to Bacs that you shouldn’t have done then you may still be able to pull the file before it is processed. It is critical that you act fast as problems are much harder to rectify further down the line.
  2. Speak to an expert – Every disaster situation/ Bacs problem is subtly different and they are nearly all resolvable.  Knowledge is everything here – some problems that may look as though they will require a huge amount of work to rectify can be quickly and easily resolved if you know what you are doing.
  3. Contact your sponsoring bank.  This is a really important step – many people are reluctant to admit that they have made an error however your bank will have seen far worse errors and have probably dealt with the one you are having many times before. The quicker you speak to them the more help they can be.
  4. Have a spare smartcard reader. It is such a simple thing to find that a card reader fails – they can easily be bought.
  5. Make sure that your contact details are up to date with your sponsoring bank.  When you need to urgently pull a file or solve a problem you don’t want them to say they can’t help you as you are not the registered contact. They also may need to contact you urgently if they see a problem with your submission. That can be out of hours – do they have out of hours contact details for you?
  6. Ensure you have a minimum of 2 smartcard holders – ideally more in most cases. When colleagues leave or go on long term sick you don’t want them to be your back up plan.
  7. Have a bureau on standby. Having a relationship with a Direct Debit bureau is critical – if your software or smartcards fail then a Bacs Approved Bureau can still get your file submitted on time. If you engage with a bureau beforehand then they can be ready to go should the worst happen. You simply need to link your Service User Number to their bureau number so they can send a file on your behalf. This is recommended by Bacs for all Service Users.
  8. Keep a list of important contact numbers somewhere you can access it even if you lose your normal machine. You will need numbers for you sponsoring bank, Bacs helpdesk, your software support team and or Bacs approved bureau. Have you got an out of hours’ number for them and do they have one for you?

Here is a list of the main numbers:- sponsoring-bank-telephone-contact-list.

Do you have questions or need help? If so, please contact us to discuss.