Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about direct debits and our services.

  • What is a Direct Debit?

    A Direct Debit is a simple way for organisations to collect regular and occasional payments from an individual’s account. Once a customer has given advanced notice of the amounts and dates of collection, money can be collected automatically.

    Once used exclusively by large corporations, new Direct Debit providers like Interbacs allow businesses of all sizes to set up Direct Debits.

  • What is the difference between a Standing Order and a Direct Debit?

    A Standing Order is set up by somebody to a company or person. This amount is solely controlled by the payee, this amount is set and will not change.

    A Direct Debit is managed by a company, to be charged to the payee. This amount can change dependant on the payee’s policy with the company, any changes in the price will only be in effect once the payee has been notified of the amendment.

  • Is Bacs the same as bank transfer?

    A Bacs Direct Credit is like a bank transfer that you would send from one bank to another.

  • What is Bacs?

    Previously known as Bankers Automated Clearing Services, Bacs Payment Schemes Ltd now prefer to be simply known as Bacs.

    Bacs the organisation is a payment network owned and operated by the 16 largest UK banks and business societies.

    Bacs is responsible for the clearing and settlement of Direct Debits in the UK the company also runs the Bacs Direct Credit Scheme, which is used to pay salaries and invoices. Somewhat confusingly, using the Bacs Direct Credit Scheme is commonly referred to as making a Bacs payment.

  • What kind of payments is Bacs used for?

    Bacs payments are predominantly used for paying employees and suppliers but they are also used for pensions, expense payments, insurance settlements and more.

    In recent years, the number of Bacs Direct Debit payments have exploded as more small gyms, golf clubs, insurance companies and others seek to collect payments expediently.

  • How much does a Bacs payment cost?

    The cost of a Bacs transaction will vary depending on the volume of payments and the bank or Bacs bureau involved but will typically average around 23p per transaction.

    Bacs is the cheapest way to send payments. Compared with quicker payment options like CHAPS and Faster Payments, Bacs payments are only a fraction of the price.

  • How long does a Bacs payment take to process?

    The Bacs cycle is a three-day process. In this time, payment files are submitted and processed with payments debited or credited on the third day.

  • What time do Bacs payments clear?

    Bacs payments usually clear in the morning, between midnight and 7am.

  • Can Bacs payments be recalled?

    Businesses have a certain amount of control over Bacs Direct Credits and Direct Debits. They can submit payment instructions up to 30 days before a payment is due to be taken.

    These payment instructions can be recalled as long as the bank is notified before a specific cut off time. This cut off time is usually a few days before the payment is due to be made. After this cut off time, payments cannot be recalled. Similarly, these payments cannot be recalled once they have been made.

  • Are Bacs payments safe?

    Bacs payments are safe and reliable. It has been used to make more than 130 billion transactions since 1968 and research shows that Bacs has never misplaced a payment.

    Bacs uses an SSL encrypted system to protect data and users. Bacs Direct Debits are only available for approved organisations and the Direct Debit Guarantee protects customers against payments made fraudulently.

  • What is the Direct Debit Guarantee?

    The Direct Debit Guarantee protects customers against payments made in error or fraud. All banks and building societies that accept instructions to pay Direct Debits offer the Guarantee.

  • Can Bacs be used internationally?

    Bacs is only for UK transfer; international sort codes and account numbers will not work on the Bacs system.

  • Will Bacs clear on a weekend or bank holiday?

    Bacs payments are only processed on working days. They are not processed on Saturdays, Sundays or on bank holidays including Easter Monday, Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

  • What is the difference between the Bureau service and Facilities Management Service?

    Large businesses that can obtain a Service User Number (SUN) from a sponsoring bank can access the Bacs Bureau service.

    Businesses that cannot obtain their own SUN need to use a facilities management service. In this arrangement, the facilities management provider will take responsibility for collecting payments on behalf of the client.

    Learn more about our Bureau Service here.

    Learn more about our Facilities Management Service here.

For more information about direct debits or Interbacs payment services, speak to a member of the team. Call: 0161 667 0758 or email:

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