Everything you need to know about Bacs payments

Bacs payments are the cheapest way to send payments from one bank account to another, also known as bank transfer. We put together a simple guide about instant Bacs.

  1. What is a Bacs payment?
  2. How long does a Bacs payment take?
  3. How much does a Bacs payment cost?
  4. Advantages & Disadvantages of Bacs payments
  5. Alternatives to Bacs payments

What is a Bacs payment?

A Bacs payment is a bank transfer from one bank account to another bank account, taking three business days to arrive. However, a Bacs payment can also be a Direct Debit, which is the opposite of a bank transfer - meaning a business pulls money out of a bank account with relevant permission of the other party. Bacs payments are not same-day payments or instant, but it is still the number one bank payment type businesses use in the UK.

How long does a Bacs payment take?

A Bacs payment takes three days to arrive, and is only sending on business days. There are multiple options to get connected to Bacs, either through your business bank or through a Bacs bureau. In any case the Bacs cycle starts with a file submission, which has to be submitted up until a certain cut-off time and gets sent on the third business day.

  • Day one: File input
  • Day Two: Recipient bank receives file delivery
  • Day Three: Cash settlement (debit and credits)

The payment normally arrives very early in the morning on the third day, usually by about 7am. Beware, only Monday to Friday, even though it is a electronic payment system it takes non-working days off.

How much does a Bacs payment cost?

A Bacs payment is the cheapest way to send payments. It only costs a few pennies, mostly depending on the volume and the bank, or Bacs bureau. When sending say 1,000 plus payments monthly this should be less than 10p, also watch out for hidden bank charges such as:

  • Bacs File charges
  • Charges on rejected Bacs files (up to 100 pounds)
  • File re-input or amendments (up to 300 pounds)
  • File reversal (up to 2,000 pounds)
  • Smart Cards

Advantages & Disadvantages of Bacs payments

Advantages

Disadvantages

Alternatives to Bacs payments

Bank to bank payments can also be made through the CHAPS and the Faster Payments system. CHAPS are same day payments for high value transfers which cost about 20-30 pounds per transfer. Faster Payments are instant payments from bank-to-bank for payments up to the value of 250,000 pounds per transfer.

Find out more about Faster Payments?