4th Nov 2014

BACS Service User Numbers and How to Get Them

If your business wants to collect payments via Direct Debit, you’re going to need a Bacs SUN (Service User Number). AccessPay explains what this takes with this comprehensive guide.

Now we realise that not every business has a SUN, and some don’t even know what they are. With that in mind, here’s a quick explanation – starting with the obvious question:

UPDATED Version: Please see AccessPay’s Comprehensive Guide to SUNs.

What is a SUN?

A SUN is a unique six-digit number that Bacs uses to identify businesses collecting payments by Direct Debit.

Banks use SUNs to verify the correct business name to display on the Direct Debit payer’s bank statement and use this information to identify the organisation that would be liable for any chargebacks if something goes wrong.

It’s important to note that businesses can’t submit directly to Bacs without having a SUN.

How do I go about getting a SUN?

Each bank is different and has its own application process, so you’ll need to contact your bank directly to discover their unique criteria.

Bacs issue SUNs to businesses that have been sponsored by Bacs members, which is made up of the UK’s major banks.

What is the criteria for being given a SUN?

Although the approval process and criteria for approval varies from bank to bank, most will involve checks for:

  • Integrity
  • Financial standing
  • Management expertise
  • Administrative capabilities

SUN has been designed to assess a business’ capability to operate within the Direct Debit scheme rules, in order to maintain the integrity of the scheme.

I’ve got a SUN! What now?

Once you have become a Bacs service user, you have a choice of two methods of setting up Direct Debit instructions to collect payments from your customers – paper or paperless. There are also additional services and payment providers available. AccessPay, for example, is a Bacs-Approved Software Supplier.

To ensure that the SUN label retains credibility, any named supplier will be closely monitored. Be warned, if a significant amount of customers complain about your service through the Direct Debit Guarantee, it could cause you to lose your SUN, and the ability to set up Direct Debits.

Of course, that’s not something that happens to AccessPay clients – our paperless Direct Debit Management Solution manages all aspects of the payment process with ease. Automated reporting, alerts and notifications identify and tackle any payment issues long before they become a problem.

Or to put it another way – our cloud allows your SUN to shine!