Payments Council – ensure your systems are up to date
Payments Council takes action to support businesses and charities who accept Direct Debits or make Direct Credit payments
Last month Payments Council contacted more than 50,000 UK businesses and charities to notify them, that from 1st January 2012, they need to make sure whatever system they use to check a new customer’s sort code is correct and is updated at least monthly, preferably weekly. By doing this they will be best protecting their business or charity from the risk of an automated payment failing.
This important change has come about because new sort codes are being issued far more frequently as more new financial institutions and products emerge. Out-of-date sort code reference information could result in a new customer’s sort code being wrongly rejected, leading to customer complaints and potentially lost business or donations.
Businesses and charities usually check sort codes using a reference information database, which is likely to be updated in downloads from the organisation’s payment solutions supplier. Customers, supporters or suppliers provide their bank account number and six digit sort code if they want to pay by Direct Debit or be paid by Bacs Direct Credit.
Hilary Plattern, Director of Strategy, Payments Council says:
“Whether you are a satellite TV supplier or a small charity, if you accept automated payments from customers it is critical that the system you use to check a new customer’s sort code is correct and is kept bang up-to-date. If it isn’t and a sort code is wrongly rejected, a customer’s patience can be tested and their business can quickly be lost. This is why we are trying to make contact with every business and charity who could be impacted.
“Anyone wanting to find out more can contact their bank, commercial provider or alternatively VocaLink if they purchase the Industry Sort Code Directory direct from them.”
The Payments Council is also reminding businesses and charities that front-line staff in call centres and their websites all need access to, and need to be using, up-to-date sort code reference data.
As part of this change Bacs Payment Scheme Rules will require businesses and charities – that are payment originators – to ensure that their Bacstel-IP related software and other payments-related databases and applications are up-dated with fresh sort code data at least monthly. Previously the requirement was at least quarterly.