Top of main content

What is a BACS payment?

A BACS transaction is an electronic money transfer between banks.

If you pay the household bills or use a subscription service, you will have made a payment via BACS before.

There are two types of BACS transactions:

  1. Direct Debit
    This is where you give permission for a company to automatically take payments from your account on an agreed schedule, such as each month. Examples include mortgage payments, utility bills or council tax.
  2. Direct Credit
    This is where money is paid into your account by a third party. Examples include salaries, pensions and expenses.

What does BACS stand for?

BACS stands for Bankers’ Automated Clearing System.

It’s a regulated payment system run by Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (now Pay.UK) and is one of the most common ways that money is sent and received from bank to bank.

How to set up a BACS transaction

If you’re an HSBC customer, here’s how you can make a BACS payment via Direct Debit:

  1. Gather your details
    You’ll need your name and address, your bank’s name and address, and your account number and sort code.
  2. Request a Direct Debit
    This could be online, over the phone or you may need to request a physical form from the company.
  3. Finalise the set-up
    Agree a date when payments will be taken. Payments will continue to be made on the agreed date until you cancel the Direct Debit.

We’ve pre-filled the account details for hundreds of major companies so, if you’re paying a company, try searching our company list first. If the company you're paying isn't included, you'll need to add them as a new payee.

Explore: How to set up a Direct Debit and making payments

How to get paid by Direct Credit

To get paid by Direct Credit, you’ll need to give the payer your sort code and account number.

You should receive the payment automatically once:

  • The payment is initiated and approved by the payer
  • The sending bank has processed it

If a BACS payment is not received, check with the payer and confirm the payment details are accurate.

Explore: What bank details do employers need?

How long does a BACS payment take?

A BACS payment normally takes three working days to go through, as long as it’s sent before the cut-off time. So if a BACS payment is sent Friday before the cut-off time, it should arrive by Tuesday the next week.

Can BACS payments go in at any time of day?

BACS payments will usually go into an account between 1am and 7am. This is the standard BACS payment time, so if a payment doesn’t arrive by 7am, it may be processed the next working day.