Bacs approved bureaus

This guide walks you through what a Bacs approved bureau is and the benefits and reasons for using one.


What is a Bacs approved bureau?

A bureau is a Bacs user which can submit payment instructions on behalf of service users (but cannot originate payment instructions on its own behalf). A bureau can either create and submit payment files for their users or just submit files created by the user themselves.

Bacs must approve any organisation that submits Direct Debit, Bacs Direct Credit or Faster Payments transactions on behalf of a third party. It provides this approval under the Bacs Approved Bureau Scheme.

Each Bacs approved bureau is required to pass an inspection review by Bureau inspectors and is then inspected at three yearly intervals (or if any major organisational changes occur) to ensure that they continue to meet good practice standards.

A Bacs approved bureau is therefore a bureau which has been approved by Bacs. In addition to Bacs approval, each bureau requires authorisation by a Bacs Member.

GoCardless is a Bacs approved bureau and is authorised by RBS. You can find a list of Bacs approved bureaus here.

Why use a Bacs approved bureau?

More than 50% of the organisations using Bacs make their Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit payment submissions through a Bacs approved bureau rather than submitting directly to Bacs.

Organisations choose to use a Bacs approved bureau for a number of reasons:

  • They may only collect or make a small number of Direct Debit or Bacs Direct Credit payments each month.
  • They may be unwilling/unable to devote a whole department to submitting and monitoring Direct Debit and Direct Credit payments.
  • They might be unable to fulfil all of the criteria to be awarded their own SUN and make direct submissions themselves to Bacs. This may be because they are unable/unwilling to give a large bond to their sponsor bank or because they are a small or new organisation.

Using a Bacs approved bureau can have several benefits too:

  1. Saves you time. Some bureaus let you automate most of the payment collection process meaning less admin for you – and less chance of making errors.
  2. Saves you money. If you take less than 500 payments each month then using a bureau is probably a cheaper option for you. Make sure you look at fully loaded costs – not just transaction costs – as some bureaus charge you lots of hidden extras. GoCardless charges you just 1% per transaction (capped at £2) and nothing else.
  3. Makes the SUN application process easier. Some bureaus offer you support in getting approval from the banks. With GoCardless, you can use our SUN so you can get started straight away. With GoCardless Pro, we help you to get your own SUN, in a process taking just 4-6 weeks (rather than 4-9 months).

GoCardless and Bacs

GoCardless is a Bacs approved bureau and provides your organisation with a cost-effective way to collect Direct Debit payments. For more information, call us on 020 8338 9537 or send a message to our Direct Direct experts:

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You can also sign up directly for a GoCardless account via our website.

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