15th Feb 2017

Always have a “plan B”

Does your disaster recovery plan include contingency payments? When you find yourselves unable meet payroll and supplier payments, or collect direct debits through Bacs, perhaps you’ll remember this blog post. By the end of this piece, you’ll be thinking to yourself  “I should have put a Plan B in place”.

I know we’ve all heard it before – and, yes, I can hear you muttering the words – “we know this already”. But let me say it again:

“No matter how big or small your organisation may be, you cannot get away from implementing a disaster recovery plan”. –A wise man once said

Importance of disaster recovery planning

All businesses know that infrastructure failure, hardware damage or loss and staff availability and illness can seriously impact their operations.

Disaster recovery (DR) plans are put in place for these very eventualities. They ensure, even when the worst happens, your business continues to receive the essential services required to still function on a day-to-day basis.

Have you accounted for Business Payments?

It stands to reason that contingency payments solutions should be included as part of your organisations’ disaster recovery plan. Reassuring customers, suppliers and employees that your business will be able to continue to provide timely and accurate payments and collections is vital.

As a result of putting contingency payments solutions in place, if for any reason your existing payment processes were interrupted, payments would still arrive on their due date. Basically, this reduces the risk of missing payment deadlines and causing inconvenience for everyone involved.

Contingency Payments Solutions

If you submit payments through an Online Banking Portal

System outages, IT meltdowns and cyber-attacks are major events that can prevent businesses from accessing their online banking portals. Users who are left unable to make payments in these sort of circumstances, unfortunately have very little in the way of a contingency payment solutions.

Other than telephone banking, most major banks don’t offer an alternative payments option. Although there are some exceptions:

Barclays partners with AccessPay to offer additional connectivity channel for corporate clients

In September 2015, Barclays launched a first of its kind cloud-based Contingency Payment Access solution in order to boost its commitment to corporate clients.


This new service allows Barclays corporate customers to gain access to an additional channel for managing payments should they be unable to access their primary channel


Read the full story of Barclays’ partnership with AccessPay here

What should you consider?

Start by carrying out a feasibility study which will enable you to weigh up your options. If a contingency payments solution is required, then it could be worth your while to consider becoming a direct submitter to Bacs, which would circumnavigate the Bank’s front end systems by going straight to the clearing house – find out more with this piece: “Online Banking Vs Payment Automation“.

Also, if you decide to go down this route, you will need to obtain a Bacs Service User Number (SUN) from your sponsoring bank.

If you are an Indirect Submitter

Indirect submitters who use a bank or a Bacs Approved Bureau to submit payment files on their behalf, the ideal contingency payment solution for you would be:

  1. A second Bacs Approved Bureau – Did you know you can register your SUN on up to 8!
  2. A low-cost contingency direct submission platform
  3. An online banking platform

If you are a Direct Submitter

You can link your SUN and Smart Cards to up to 3 different Bacs Approved Software Suppliers – so acquire a second, cloud-based one!

You can start your journey towards this goal by registering for the service. Afterwards, just contact your bank to nominate your contingency Bacs Approved Software Supplier and provide your direct SUN.

Final note

Remember, including a contingency payments solution as part of your disaster recovery is key to avoiding costly mistakes. In most cases a minor glitch or a genuine mistake won’t put you out of business. However, a major event or poor planning can lead to disgruntled stakeholders, which in turn could result in you losing customers and experiencing a loss in reputation.