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How to automate Bacs and Faster Payments

To completely automate Bacs Direct Debit, Direct Credit, or Faster Payments transactions, your business will require two critical elements:

1. A Bacs Service User Number
2. Access to a HSM (Hardware Security Module)

What is a Bacs Service User Number?

A SUN (Service User Number, sometimes referred to as an Originator ID) is a unique, six-digit number which identifies the business paying or receiving money through Bacs or Faster Payment transactions.

All communications with Bacs require a SUN, which is used to create a record of each individual transaction. SUN details are also stored in a database maintained by Bacs.

The bank then uses the SUN to find the business name to display on the payer or payee’s bank statement.

If the payment is later charged back by the customer (in the event of a Direct Debit error), the SUN on the payment is used to identify the business that is liable for the chargeback.

What is a Smart Card?

A Smart Card is a security device used by businesses to validate and authenticate electronic payments and banking transactions.

It’s a credit card sized device containing a memory chip which stores security keys, enabling the encryption and authentication of transactions when connected to a Smart Card reader.

Providing an enhanced level of protection, it is used by finance professionals to manually approve the submission of payments and collections, and as such complete automation is impossible.

PROS
• Authorisation done by a person
• No hardware infrastructure
• Inexpensive setup costs

CONS
• Cards (or tokens) can easily be misplaced
• Card must be plugged in to authorise
• Human error and forgetting passwords

What is a HSM?

A Hardware Security Module (HSM) is a hardware-based security device that generates, stores and protects cryptographic keys. It provides the foundation for a high-level, secure certification authority.

Used by financial institutions, banks, the public sector, education establishments and corporates for secure authentication and file transmission, HSM is more robust and secure in comparison to other PKI devices, such as Smart Cards.

HSM provides a higher level of security than security tokens or Smart Cards and is critical to ‘lights out’ processing of payment and collection files. Businesses can use the HSM in ‘unattended’ mode, meaning no human intervention is required to submit a file.

PROS
• Automate Bacs Submissions – Straight Through Processing
• Access remotely offsite – anywhere, anytime
• Improves efficiency and reduces manual Input
• Completely automated submissions with no manual processes
• Tamper-proof hardware
• High security encryption

CONS
• Onsite hardware can be costly to setup
• Controlled by central admin
• Purchase of HSM certificate from Bank
• Hardware infrastructure to maintain

With AccessPay, you can access all the benefits of a cloud-based HSM without having to invest in, or maintain, any hardware.

Connecting remotely to AccessPay’s hosted HSM service means you only need to purchase a certificate from your bank.

Now that you know the requirements for automate Bacs payments and collections, go ahead and take the first step!

For more information about our Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit Software register for a live demo.

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