What is Bacstel-IP?
Bacstel-IP is a secure access channe for submitting Direct Debit payments and Direct Credit payments directly into the Bacs system in the UK.
The Bacstel-IP channel is utilised only by organisations who are classed as a direct submitter - that is, organisations who originate payment instructions, who create their own payment files and who submit to Bacs directly. It's normally used in conjunction with Direct Debit software (e.g. Bottomline Technologies ePay) and eliminates the need to use a Direct Debit bureau.
In this article, we outline how to find out if your organisation requires Bacstel-IP. We'll also discuss how you can access the Bacstel-IP service and the security credentials required to use it.
Bacstel-IP is only required if your organisation is classed as a direct submitter
A direct submitter is an organisation which originates payment instructions, creates payment files and submit those payments files directly to Bacs. Direct submitters typically use Direct Debit software such as Bottomline Technologies ePay.
Indirect submitters use a bank or commercial bureau to submit their payment files to Bacs. They either create the payment files themselves or the files can be created by the bank or bureau. If your organisation is an indirect submitter, you won't need to access the Bacstel-IP service.
How to access Bacstel-IP
Bacstel-IP is an online submission channel which is safe and resistant to data tampering. Direct submitters use the service to submit their payment files to Bacs. They can also track payments and view payment reports using the service.
There are two ways of accessing the Bacstel-IP service: using Bacs approved software or using the Bacs payment services website.
Accessing Bacstel-IP with Bacs approved software
You'll need Bacs approved software to submit payments using Bacstel-IP (the Bacs website will only allow you to view information about past submissions). The software will also enable you to access payment processing reports.
Bacs approved software will have all been assessed to meet certain standards of quality including:
Ease-to-use and secure connectivity
Must include validation routines to validate bank account data prior to the submission of a file (must use the latest version of the Industry Sorting Code Directory)
Must comply with the Bacstel-IP interface for digital signing and the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) security standard
List of organisations with Bacstel-IP compatible software
The following organisations have been awarded "Bacs approved software status" for their Bacstel-IP software:
Accountis (Fundtech FSC Ltd)
Data Interchange Plc – SmarterPay
Grange IT Limited
SAA Consultants Ltd
A full list of Bacs approved software can be found on the Bacs website.
Note: Some providers (e.g. Fundtech) will use Bacstel-IP within their product name. This typically just shows that the product is a Bacs approved software solution. To be sure, you should still check the list of approved providers on the Bacs website.
If you'd like to have full control over the payment process including having your own SUN and your own payment pages, it isn't necessary to become a direct submitter. GoCardless Pro allows you to take thousands of payments using an automated process which saves time and money compared to using Bacstel-IP software. Learn more or contact the sales team for more information.
Bacs payment services website
You can use the Bacs payment services website to view information about past submissions (a smartcard is required to use the service). You can also access your processing reports and view details of your service users and contacts.
You won't be able to submit payments using the website (only Bacs approved software will allow you to do this).
Security credentials for Bacstel-IP
Access to Bacstel-IP is controlled by a high level of security. To access the payment services, you'll need either public key infrastructure (PKI) or a contact ID and password.
Greater privileges are given to users who provide PKI credentials. For Bacs approved Bacstel-IP software, it is only possible to use PKI credentials. You can log in to the Bacs payment website using either of the credentials though some services won't be available if you use the Contact ID and password credentials.
Public key infrastructure (PKI)
Direct submitters can upload, validate and authorise payment files to send directly to Bacs in one of two ways:
A smartcard – you can use a smartcard and smartcard reader to digitally sign information that is displayed to you.
A hardware security module (HSM) – A HSM is a piece of hardware that is installed into your systems and holds PKI credentials. HSMs will allow you to automate submissions and accessing reports. If you make frequent submissions or if you'd like an automated process, you'll need a HSM with your Bacstel-IP software.
Contact ID and password
To obtain a contact ID and password you will need the following:
A piece of security information
A hint to your security information
Unique URL (web address) in an email from Bacs payment services.
Alternatives to Bacstel-IP
If you'd like to take Direct Debit payments but you don't want the hassle of being a direct submitter to Bacs, GoCardless might be able to help. With GoCardless, you can take Direct Debit payments through a modern REST API. For more information, call us on 020 8338 9537.