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What is bulk payment processing?

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Last editedNov 20222 min read

It is vitally important to stay on top of regular outgoing payments in order to preserve the company’s cash flow. But as your business grows, you take on new employees, build relationships with new vendors and accumulate more debtors. As such, you may need to process payments in large volumes.

Bulk payment processing (also known as batch payment processing, mass payments, payouts or batch out) is how businesses can make payments to dozens, or even hundreds, of payees at a time with pinpoint accuracy.

What is a bulk payment system?

A bulk payment system is a banking system that enables you to make payments to multiple payees on a bulk list. The bulk list is made up of beneficiaries chosen to receive payment from a single account. 

Payment can be made in a number of ways, including:

Using a bank-to-bank payment system like our open banking-powered Instant Bank Pay helps you get paid faster, without the high fees that come with credit and debit card transactions. You can use one payment link to request payment from many customers via website button, email, or even SMS.

Bulk payment systems automate the sending of batch payments that otherwise eat up an unwieldy amount of administrative time.

When should I send bulk payments?

Businesses send bulk payments for all kinds of reasons. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Making salary payments to employees

  • Paying fees owing to contractors and freelancers

  • Paying dividends to shareholders

  • Paying Direct Debits to vendors  

  • Making payouts to contest winners

These payees are all added to a bulk list which can be uploaded to the bulk payment processing system of your choice. 

Bulk payment processing time

There are two different types of bulk payments, with direct implications on the processing time for these payments. Those who want to make bulk payments within the UK typically have several options to choose from. 

Standard domestic bulk payments

These payments facilitate the transfer of funds to multiple UK-based recipients from a single debit account. 

Standard domestic bulk payments have a number of options in terms of processing times, depending on the sender’s needs:

  • Immediate Bulk Payments (IBULK)

  • Next-Day Bulk Payments (NBULK)

  • Future Dated Bulk Payments (FBULK)

Fees vary depending on the sender’s bank and bulk payment tariff.

Bulk Inter Account Transfers (IAT)

Bulk inter account transfers, or IAT bulk transactions, facilitate the transfer of funds to multiple credit accounts from a single debit account. They are commonly used to facilitate payments to debtors overseas, due to their security and reliability.

These typically take 48 to 72 hours to clear. 

Advantages of batch payments

As your business grows and your outgoings become greater and more diffuse, bulk payment processing can prove advantageous for a variety of reasons.


Bulk payments require the use of Secured Sockets Layer (SSL) and other sophisticated forms of encryption that cannot be read while the transaction is in progress. And because they periodically facilitate recurring payments for the same amounts, they make it easier to identify instances of fraud.


Bulk payments can be sent instantaneously, making them an excellent option for payroll and other obligations where payments need to be made on time. 


Batch payments are generally cheaper to process than processing dozens, hundreds or even thousands of payments individually. Bulk payment processing not only frees up administrative time, but prevents excessive fees from impinging on profit margins.

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GoCardless is a global payments solution, setting people and businesses free from the frustrations and cost of outdated payment methods. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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