When you need to send money from one UK bank account to another, in most cases you’ll use the BACS system. What happens with a BACS payment made on Friday? Bank transfers can be tricky when sent over the weekend, so when can you expect funds to reach your account? Here’s what to expect with a BACS payment on a Friday, in terms of process and timings.
What is a BACS payment?
First things first: BACS stands for Banker’s Automated Clearing Services and it’s a payment system used to clear financial transactions between UK-based banks and financial institutions. The system enables funds to be electronically transferred either via a pull-based Direct Debit or deposit-based Direct Credit. Most businesses use BACS for regularly scheduled payments like payroll and standing orders to suppliers.
All you need to set up a BACS payment is the recipient’s bank account number, account holder name, and sort code. You may also need to obtain a Service User Number (SUN) from your own bank or third-party service provider. In the case of Direct Debit, you’ll need a first-time authorisation from the account holder to set up pull-based BACS payments.
How long do BACS payments normally take to clear?
BACS payments typically take three days to clear. Here’s how the process works:
Day 1: The BACS payment request is submitted.
Day 2: The recipient bank receives the payment request.
Day 3: The transaction is settled, and funds cleared to the recipient account.
What’s important to remember for those sending a BACS payment on Friday is that these are working days – the process stops over the weekend.
If a BACS payment is made on Friday when will it clear?
It normally takes three working days for clearance, so if a BACS payment is made on Friday, when will it clear? Provided the request is sent before any bank cut-off times, the funds should clear in the recipient account by Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the time of day it was sent on Friday.
Usually, these transactions take place by 7am. With a BACS payment sent early in the day on Friday, you should see the funds cleared on Tuesday morning. If the payment hasn’t hit the recipient’s account by mid-morning, you can expect that it will take an additional day.
Of course, any bank holidays will add extra time to the process since these do not qualify as working days.
Are there faster alternatives to BACS payments?
There are many situations where same-day payments aren’t required, but sometimes you need a faster transfer service. A BACS payment sent Friday takes closer to five days due to the weekend delay, so what are your options if you need the funds cleared more rapidly?
CHAPS payments go through the Clearing House Automated Payment System. There’s no limit to the amount of money you can transfer, and most UK banks are direct CHAPS participants. Provided you submit your payment details by the bank’s cut-off time, transfers are settled on the same day. However, if you miss the deadline the CHAPS payment is received the following working day.
Faster Payments is another option available to all UK bank account holders. It’s even faster than CHAPS, supporting immediate one-off payments, scheduled payments, and standing orders with funds delivered instantly. Unlike CHAPS and BACS transfers, Faster Payments is available on weekends as well as working days. However, you will pay a higher fee for the convenience – at least 50p per transaction depending on your bank.
By understanding your options, you can select the best bank transfer service. GoCardless can facilitate BACS Direct Debit for scheduled or recurring payments. If you’re in a hurry, our Instant Bank Pay service complements bank debit with the power of open banking, for instant confirmation of bank-to-bank payments.
We can help
GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.