Bacs is one of the ways Zai enables UK platforms to send and receive bank account transfers. Below we explain what Bacs is, how long it takes and what Bacs payments are commonly used for.

What does Bacs stand for?

Bacs stands for Bankers Automated Clearing Services. Bacs payment services are operated and managed by, who are also responsible for managing Faster Payments and the Image Clearing System for cheques. In 2021, there were 4.6 billion payments made by direct debit and almost just under 2 billion direct credit payments.


What is a Bacs payment?

A Bacs payment is a bank transfer from one UK bank account to another. It's one of the most common types of bank-to-bank transfers in the UK. Bacs payments are a reliable and secure way of transferring money.

There are two types of Bacs payments - direct debit or direct credit. Zai supports Bacs direct credit payments.
Bacs direct credit is a 'push' payment where they payer sends funds directly into a UK business bank account. The payer controls the payment, i.e. when the payment is made, and how much is paid.

How long does a Bacs payment take?

Usually, a Bacs payment takes three working days. 

Day 1: Payment is submitted to the Bacs system.

Day 2: The bank processes payment.

Day 3: Funds are transferred and payment settled.

What is a Bacs payment used for?

Bacs direct credit is one of the most popular ways for UK businesses to make payments. Typically, it's used to make regular payments such as salaries, pensions, state benefits, and tax credits.

How is a Bacs payment made?

To make a Bacs direct credit payment, the following information is required:

  • Payee's name.
  • Name of their bank.
  • Bank account number and sort code.

Bacs v CHAPS

The CHAPS system also facilitates the transfer of funds between bank accounts in the UK, but operates in significantly different ways to Bacs. The key differences are: 

  • A CHAPS payment is processed in near real-time.
  • CHAPS is typically used for transfers that have a high value, due to fees involved.