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Interbacs glossary

In the payments industry, there are a wide variety of terms, phrases and abbreviations that all have their own definitions. It can sometimes be difficult to remember them all. Continue reading our Bacs glossary to discover the meaning of an array of phrases in the payments industry.

Terms in the payments industry

Below is a list of several terms and abbreviations that are synonymous with the payments industry, and with the services that Interbacs provides. Stick with us as we explain the meanings behind the terms and what they mean for businesses and customers.

  • Bacs
  • PAYE
  • SUN
  • Bacstel-IP
  • DDMS
  • DDFM
  • Faster Payments


Bacs (Bankers Automated Clearing System) payments are a bank-to-bank transfer between UK banks. These are some of the most common ways of sending and receiving payments. There are two types of Bacs payments:

Direct Debit - When you give an organisation authorisation to take regular recurring payments from your bank account. Examples of Direct Debits could be a phone bill, a mortgage payment, or subscription service payment.

Direct Credit - This is also referred to as a ‘bank transfer’ and occurs when another party deposits money into your account. A Direct Credit could be a refund, salary payment, or pension payment.


Extended Industry Sort Code Directory (EISCD) is a downloadable database that contains information about payment service providers that are connected to the UK clearing systems. This includes Bacs, Faster Payments, and CHAPS Sterling.

It’s used for checking account details in electronic payments, reducing the number of returned payments and the costly correction process. You can also check whether a specific bank accepts certain types of Bacs transactions. It also allows the accessing of address and telephone number information.


PAYE stands for ‘Pay As You Earn’ and refers to the tax taken on your income. If you are an employee of an organisation, then you will likely pay your tax through PAYE.

PAYE is a three-party process, involving HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), your employer or pension provider, and you. In most cases, the tax you owe can be taken off your pay or pension under the PAYE system. How often tax is taken off depends on how often you are paid. This is usually weekly or monthly for employees and most pensioners. However, some pensions might only be paid quarterly or annually.


CHAPS stands for Clearing House Automated Payment System, and is a sterling same-day system that is used to settle high-value wholesale payments as well as time-critical, lower-value (in relative terms) payments. For instance, paying a deposit on a property.

CHAPS is one of the largest high-value payment systems in the world and provides efficient, risk-free and irrevocable payments. There are more than 30 direct participants and over 5,000 financial institutions that make CHAPS payments through one of the direct participants (traditional high-street banks and some international banks).


A Service User Number (SUN) is a unique six-digit number given to Direct Debit merchants as a way of identifying them from other users. Companies are allocated their own Service User Number or submit payments indirectly through a Direct Debit bureau.

SUNs are used by Bacs to organise and manage payment records. They are most commonly used by banks as a tool for looking up information about a business within the Bacs database.


Bacstel-IP is the delivery channel that gives corporate users secure access to Bacs. It is a multi-layered, highly advanced, online submission channel and the largest Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) community in the world. Bacstel-IP provides companies with a fast, secure service for submitting, tracking and viewing payments at any time, anywhere.


DDMS stands for Direct Debit Management System and is used to edit, cancel and create new Direct Debits. Interbacs’ powerful Direct Debit management software is a full Direct Debit suite, which means fewer manual tasks and more automated payment services. Data is imported for processing and then converted into the most applicable format for a company’s systems.

Interbacs’ DDMS is highly configurable, which means a business can use it in whatever way suits them best.


A Direct Debit Facilities Management (DDFM) service enables businesses without the sponsorship of their bank to make Direct Debit collections. All of the administration and monitoring processes are managed by Interbacs’ processing team, enabling a business to benefit from the support of a professionally qualified Bacs team.

Interbacs’ Bacs accredited DDFM service is ideal for start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that don’t have a Bacs Service User Number. The business gains access to the benefits of Direct Debits, including their business name appearing on customer statements, without the administrative and financial burden of managing Bacs payments in-house.

Faster Payments

Faster Payments are electronic payments that can be made online, over the phone, or in a bank branch. As long as the receiving bank or building society uses Faster Payments too, the payment will arrive almost immediately, but it can sometimes take up to two hours.

Faster Payments are becoming very popular due to the speed at which a payment can be made.

Bacs services at Interbacs

Interbacs’ Bacs Approved Bureau Services are designed for companies that already have a Service User Number but would rather outsource the administrative hassle and expense of processing payment instructions. As your chosen Bacs Bureau, Interbacs takes care of everything and can reduce your internal processing, saving you time and money.

The advantage of using a Direct Debit Bureau like Interbacs’ is that payments are cleared directly into your bank account. Our Bacs Bureau Service makes it much easier for big businesses to manage payments efficiently. You’ll no longer need a large payment processing team. A single individual and our software can handle all of the stresses for you.

If this sounds like something your business needs, or you’d like to hear more about the services we offer, don’t hesitate to contact us on 0161 667 0758 or email us at