Dougie Belmore is the Chief Payments Officer of Pay.UK, the company which was created to bring together the UK’s foremost payment schemes, including Bacs, in 2018; Dougie is responsible for the operation of Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit as well as Faster Payments and cheques.
We’re all familiar with the Bacs name: it’s been on our wage slips and our bank statements for years – 53 of them, to be precise. And, of course, with Bacs comes Direct Debit, the popular payment method that’s been settling regular bills for companies and their customers for the last five decades, quietly running in the background as it processes more than 4.5 billion payments a year.
But that’s just the number of payments in a single year. In the summer of 2021, Bacs Direct Credit and Direct Debit payments hit a lifetime total of 150 billion transactions, a number so big most of us can’t even imagine it.
Now it’s time to become just as familiar with another name: Pay.UK. And that’s important because one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.
While the way you interact with Bacs Direct Credit and Direct Debit will remain the same and the service will be as good, if not better, than it always has been, some things will begin to look different.
Next year, the website you access to download reports and make administrative changes will move to Pay.UK branding and colours; that will be the most obvious initial change, and is the beginning of the process of bringing everything under one umbrella to reflect Pay.UK’s role in operating these very familiar services.
After all, we’ve been responsible for those services for more than three years alongside Faster Payments and cheques; practically speaking, all of those payments came together as part of our company some time ago - now it’s time to reflect that visually, too, under the Pay.UK brand.
This is a natural next step and represents a continuation of the evolution of Bacs – it hasn’t always looked like it does today, or even provided the same service.
In the early years of automated payments, there were just a few thousand transactions being processed (and those by a roomful of computers that had less processing power than your mobile phone). Since then, paying this way has become an integral part of both billing and customer lives to the point where almost everyone in the UK is touched by Direct Debit, Bacs Direct Credit or, in many cases, both.
In fact, when you put Direct Debit’s broad footprint together with the proportion of the UK workforce being regularly paid by Bacs Direct Credit – a conservative estimate is 90% - and add them to the other payment services in the Pay.UK portfolio, our organisation really does keep the money moving, to a total tune of more than 9.5 billion payments.
And, as Pay.UK, our established services are right at the centre of innovative thinking as we drive development of the payment industry in this country. We’ve already seen the roll-out of Confirmation of Payee, designed to reduce certain types of fraud while Request to Pay has been developed to smooth the relationship between billers and their customers.
While it remains our responsibility to continue the smooth operation of the UK’s critical retail payments systems we are also determined to play an active and leading role in the expansion of consumer payment options.
We are committed to supporting the needs of all of those who rely on our nationally important systems, from biller to bank, business to individual. We look forward to you joining us on that journey.
To find out more about Pay.UK visit www.wearepay.uk