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100 billion reasons to use Bacs payments...

Bacs, the company responsible for the schemes behind the clearing and settlement of automated payments in the UK, celebrated a major landmark lat year - 100,000,000,000 transactions processed since 1968. 

100,000,000,000. That’s 100 billion. A pretty impressive number, especially when you think that:

  • About 100 billion minutes age, the Roman Empire was flourishing and Christianity was emerging.
  • About 100 billion hours ago, we were living in the Stone Age (the Middle Palaeolithic, to be more precise).
  • About 100 billion days ago, Australopithecus (an ape-like creature related to the ancestors of modern humans) was wandering around the African Savannah.
  • About 100 billion months ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth. Perhaps hunting in vain for ape-like creature related to the ancestors of modern humans.
  • The universe is a mere 13.7 billion years old.

Ancient History – 1968 and all that…

So what is Bacs, exactly? Let’s go back in history (don’t worry – we’re not going as far back as the dinosaurs again), to 1968 when Dennis Gladwell set up the Inter-Bank Computer Bureau – which became Bacs (Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services).

Bacs was revolutionary – an exciting new method of transferring funds electronically without having to rely on ineffective paper-based transactions between banks.

In 1970, the first Direct Debit was made. Bacs continued to invest in the development of debiting technology, which has transformed the way we make payments. In 2012, Direct Debit payments outstripped cash for the first time.

Bacs Services – Direct Debits & Direct Credits

Bacs is the central payment system used to process several different types of electronic payments. By far the most popular are Direct Debits and Direct Credits:

Bacs Direct Debits - An instruction from a customer to their bank or building society authorising an organisation to collect varying amounts from their account. Around 80% of the UK population now have at least one Direct Debit!

Bacs Direct Credits – This is a simple, secure and reliable service, which enables organisations of all sizes to make payments by electronic transfer directly into a bank or building society account. Over 90 per cent of the UK workforce is paid via Bacs Direct Credit.

Some notable benefits that Bacs services provide are:

  • Automating regular secure payments for goods or services.
  • Helping to reduce banking charges by up to 80% (when compared to conventional bank payments such as cheques and cash).
  • Reducing administration time spent transferring bulk payments.
  • Delivering payments electronically. An extremely cost-effective method.
  • Eliminating the risk of delayed cheques – and doing away with the old “the cheque’s in the post” excuse.


Every day, Bacs make an incredible 97.6 million transfers. On peak days, they process 6.3 million transactions.

There’s no doubt about it, Bacs continues to be at the forefront of payment related services - and is a major, firmly established part of the UK financial system.


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