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BACS exceeds expectations with BACSTEL-IP migration

A new survey from BACS, the company behind Direct Debit and BACS Direct Credit and one of Europe’s leading payment scheme providers, has revealed that one of the largest ever electronic banking customer migration projects was a resounding success.

For the last three years, BACS has worked in close partnership with the UK’s leading banks and some 25 approved software providers to migrate over 100,000 UK-based organisations to BACSTEL-IP – a unique Internet Protocol (IP) payments channel.

Research figures unveiled by BACS indicate that the phased roll out of BACSTEL-IP ran to plan and to the overall satisfaction of migrating organisations. When questioned, nine out of ten BACS users polled described the migration as an ‘easy process with no problems’. Eighty-seven per cent of users also stated that they would definitely recommend BACSTEL-IP to other organisations with an automated payment processing requirement.

Moving away from traditional telecoms-based systems, BACSTEL-IP is a multi-layered, highly advanced, online submission channel and the largest Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) community in the world. Providing organisations with a faster, more secure service plus the ability to track and view payment files at any time and from anywhere, BACSTEL-IP has already processed over two billion transactions on behalf of government organisations, consumers and UK businesses.

Commenting on the conclusion of the migration project, Michael Chambers, Managing Director of BACS said, “The importance of BACS to the UK economy cannot be underestimated. We process 90 per cent of all UK salaries and a wide range of government payments, including benefit and IR tax credits. With increasing demand for automated payment methods like Direct Debit and BACS Direct Credit, safeguarding our payment services was essential. BACSTEL-IP represents a significant investment for BACS by its member banks and was the first step in a £100 million technology renewal programme to re-engineer our systems. It takes processing power to the next level and provides businesses with a reliable and cost effective way to access BACS services, now and in the future.”

Continuing, he said, “The size of the BACSTEL-IP migration project was unprecedented. Member banks had to upgrade their own systems, over 40,000 organisations which submit directly to BACS had to install new software and smart card technology, and 60,000 organisations, which use a bureau to submit payments, had to register for passwords to access reports online. We are delighted the process ran to schedule and that there has been positive feedback from so many associated parties and users.”

Recognising the scale of what needed to be achieved and to ensure smooth running at every stage of migration, BACS developed the BACS Approved Software Service. Launched to coincide with the introduction of BACSTEL-IP in 2003, the service helped ensure that all software developed to interface with BACSTEL-IP met stringent BACS standards. It also gave migrating organisations reassurance that the technology they were adopting complied with all new technical specifications.