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What if I don't have a Bacs Service User Number (SUN)?

Bacs payments are a vital part of many businesses' financial operations. However, to receive Bacs transfers, a company must have — or have access to — a Service User Number (SUN).

Many companies don't meet the requirements to qualify for a SUN and, therefore, can't reap the benefits of collecting Direct Debit payments.

So, how can you collect Bacs payments without a SUN? This blog post explains it all.


What is a Bacs Service User Number?

A Bacs Service User Number (SUN) is a unique, six-digit number used to identify a business that pays or receives money through a Direct Debit Bacs transaction. 

Any communication made with Bacs requires a SUN, as it's used to create records of each transaction. Banks use SUNs to verify that the correct business name is displayed on the Direct Debit payer's bank statement.

Without a SUN, businesses can't set up Direct Debit payments — online or via paper — or submit to Bacs. A SUN enables payers to send you regular Direct Debit payments at an agreed frequency.


What are the benefits of having a SUN?

If your business is fortunate enough to have its own SUN, you can manage your payments system directly, making it more efficient.

Control over incoming payments creates better cash flow and reliable service for regular outgoing payments, such as salaries, which improves business efficiency.

However, these benefits are hard to come by, as obtaining a SUN can be difficult for many businesses. To qualify for a SUN for Direct Debit transactions, your company will likely need to have been established for over three years or have an annual turnover of more than £1 million.

The final decision ultimately lies with the bank, which reviews requests based on the following parameters.

  • Your ability to demonstrate how you will enforce Direct Debit scheme rules, minimise submission errors and maintain the scheme's reputation
  • Whether you have sufficient financial reserves to make refunds under the Direct Debit Guarantee
  • Your ability to compensate your sponsor bank for any charges facilitated by the Direct Debit Guarantee

However, there's a way to experience the benefits of collecting Direct Debit payments without the sponsorship of your bank.


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Do I need a Service User Number?

For smaller businesses that have been established for fewer than three years and have an annual turnover of less than £1 million, the cost and complexity of obtaining their SUN number might not be worth it — that's if it's available in the first place.

Solutions are available if your business doesn't yet meet the requirements to obtain a SUN but would benefit from collecting Direct Debit payments.

My business doesn't have a SUN. How can I utilise Direct Debit?

Direct Debit Facilities Management (DDFM) services enable businesses without a SUN to make Direct Debit payment collections on behalf of a third-party company's SUN.

The third-party solution manages your company's administration and monitoring processes, giving you access to the main benefits of Direct Debit payments without the hassle of managing it yourself. These benefits include having your business name appear on customer statements, automated payment collection and an improved cash flow. 

Facilities Management services are ideal for start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with many solutions offering added extras on top of collecting Direct Debit payments.

Interbacs' DDFM service provides several extra features and benefits, including:

  • Securely hosted, Bacs-compliant web solutions, including online sign-up and account validation pages
  • Telephone sign-up scripts designed to help you achieve your onboarding targets
  • Documentation design, such as professional Direct Debit instruction and mandatory letters
  • Compliance guarantee, meaning your website and official Direct Debit documents will always conform to Bacs rules

You'll also be supported with your Direct Debit collections by a Bacs-trained processing team, with the entire DDFM service tailored around your specific business needs.


Are you looking to start collecting Direct Debit payments?

But not sure which payment solution is right for you? We can help.

Our Solution Finder takes the answers you give to a few simple questions and produces the best payment collection option for your company.

To get started on your journey towards never chasing another payment, click below.

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