Bacs, the UK's automated clearing house, is urging firms to plan their migration to its new IP-based electronic payments network, Bacstel-IP.
Migration to the new technology, which utilises Internet Protocol and public key infrastructure (PKI), is expected to be completed in 2005.
Over 50,000 businesses in the UK connect directly to Bacs to make and receive automated payments. All firms will need to upgrade to the new technology to send and receive automated payments, including direct debit or payment of employees' salaries. Bacs says firms can begin migration to Bacstel-IP as soon as their sponsoring bank is live with the system.
Nick Masterson-Jones, Bacs IT programmes director, says it is critical that companies liaise with their bank and a Bacs-approved software supplier to ensure they set a migration date to meet their business requirements.
"In addition, companies should begin to allow planning time and appropriate budget to adopt the new technology," says Masterson-Jones.