Automated payments at all-time high as Bacs breaks six billion barrier

Source: Bacs

2015 was yet another record breaking year for Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs).

The company behind Direct Debit in the UK shattered previous highs for payments passing through its system, processing more than six billion transactions throughout the year.

On one day alone, in July, Bacs processed a massive 103 million Direct Debits and Bacs Direct Credits – that’s 6.7 million every hour the system was open, or 111,000 transactions each minute.

And the year brought huge growth in the use of Direct Debits; the number of payments made this way rose by 239 million, surpassing the last record of 161 million set in 2004 by some way. In percentage terms, that’s an increase of 6.6 per cent.

2015 was also the first full year that the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency offered Direct Debit as a payment option, and 10.8 million of the UK’s road-users opted to pay for their Vehicle Excise Duty that way.

And that attitude towards the payment method is reflected more widely, too - in 2015, the proportion of people who felt positively towards Direct Debit stood at 85 per cent, with two thirds (66 per cent) saying they prefer to pay most of their bills by Direct Debit. Almost nine in ten adults (89%) had at least one Direct Debit commitment, with 73 per cent of all household bills paid this way, up from 71 per cent in 2014.

Michael Chambers is the chief executive officer of Bacs. He said: “Despite having been around for almost half a century, Direct Debit continues to be the payment method of choice for UK businesses and consumers alike, and is leading the way in automated payments by a considerable margin. Against a backdrop of innovation and new payment options, we processed more Direct Debits and Bacs Direct Credits than in any other year, and broke our own records for the number of transactions processed in just one day more than once last year.”

As well as its core payment methods, Bacs also owns and runs the Current Account Switch Service, which was developed to remove barriers to switching for consumers, small businesses, and small charities. With 43 participants covering almost 100% of the UK current account market, the service has been used for more than 2.5 million switches since it launched at the end of 2013, and is currently being promoted through an extensive advertising, PR and social media campaign.

Bacs is also responsible for the Cash ISA Transfer Service, Biller Update Service, and the Extended Industry Sort Code Directory, as well as the new Bulk Redirection Service which is used by banks, government departments, and large corporates for moving substantial numbers of accounts and regular payments between banking providers.

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