Is my business eligible for a Bacs Service User Number?

A Service User Number (SUN), also known as an originator ID, is a unique identification number. It is used by Bacs as a distinguisher between organisations that collect Direct Debit payments.

Your SUN is a six numbers long and can be found on all forms of communication as a way of maintaining transactional records. This is handy in the event of, say, payment errors or fraud.

Suppliers can either apply for their own SUN or submit indirectly through a Direct Debit Bureau.


How do you obtain a SUN?

In order to obtain your own SUN, you must first apply for sponsorship. This is usually done through a bank. Each bank has its own standards which need to be met. However, it is compulsory that a business:

  • Has a UK sterling bank account
  • Completes and lodges an indemnity with their sponsor

Furthermore, other variables include:

  • An organisations contractual capacity
  • Its financial standing
  • The quality of its administrative control


SUN via a Direct Debit bureau

Alternatively, if you don’t have access to your own SUN, you can manage your Direct Debit collections through a third party. This will still necessitate a SUN, but it doesn’t have to be your own. There are two options for this:

  1. Facilities Management – the direct debit bureau will collect and administer Direct Debits themselves through a SUN set up specifically for the merchant. The Facilities Management will maintain ownership of this SUN.
  2. Payments Institution – Payments Institutions are regulated under the Payments Service Directive and manage all their operations via one single SUN. Payments go through the bureau before being paid onwards to the client.

At DFC, we operate using our own SUN. Even so, a large number of our clients still use us to collect payments on their behalf using their own SUN – the choice is yours.

Find out more by getting in touch here or contacting us on 01908 422026.

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Direct Debit myths debunked

UK payment statistics released by Bacs in February showed that Direct Debits grew by a whopping 5% over 2016. This makes Direct Debit one of the most trusted and fastest growing payment solutions in the UK.

But despite this, misconceptions still remain about this method of payment. As such, we’ve highlighted some of the most coming myths surrounding Direct Debit.


Myth 1: Direct Debit is difficult to set up and requires a lot of paperwork

There was certainly a time when Direct Debit took longer to implement. The process was bound to manual sign-ins that required face-to-face meetings or communication by post and this often necessitated a lot of paperwork.

Today, Direct Debit is automated and paperless. Most banks or bureaus provide an easy and quick set up via the phone or internet. DFC’s FastDD offers a simple online solution that allows your customers to sign up quickly and simple, 24/7. Payments can’t be delayed, lost or forgotten and admin is minimal.


Myth 2: Direct Debit is inflexible

Unlike standing orders which are fixed, Direct Debit is highly flexible. Billing days and amounts are adjustable in line with customer needs, allowing businesses and consumers to operate more efficiently with each other.

Through DFC, billing can be scheduled on a weekly, fortnightly, 4 weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual basis, from Monday through to Friday. By giving your customers and clients this choice, you can cement their loyalty and ensure a continuous flow of cash throughout the year.


Myth 3: Direct Debit is unsafe

This is simply not true. Before a company can offer Direct Debit as a payment option it must go through a rigorous vetting process. All customers who choose to pay by Direct Debit are protected by the Direct Debit guarantee thereafter. This covers:

  • Advance notice if collecting dates or amounts change
  • An immediate money back guarantee in the event of an error
  • The right to cancel your direct debit payments at any time

You can find out more about how Direct Debits are protected here.


Myth 4: Only big companies can use Direct Debit

It’s not hard to understand why this myth exists. The vast majority of people began using Direct Debit to pay off their electricity or phone bills to the big industry players, making it hard to see an alternative existence that allows small to medium companies to use it too.

But Direct Debit is more about the cash flow of a business than its size. Late and missed payments remain a major issue for companies that take payments on a regular basis. Direct Debit helps them to collect the money when it suits them and the customer, whilst streamlining administration massively.


Myth 5: Direct Debit is expensive

You’ll find that it’s actually quite the opposite. If you accept credit cards, you can expect this to cost two to three per cent per transaction, as well as a flat fee of 20-30p. Direct Debit proves a much cheaper alternative than cash, cheque and card.

It also requires little maintenance outside of payment tracking and monitoring, and all those extra hours can be ploughed back into the business – like deciding on marketing incentives to help get new customers signed up to your Direct Debit offer!

Direct Debit in an age of instant gratification

Remember the days you had to actually wait for things? Dial-up – there’s a fun example. Sometimes you’d have to wait weeks to get your new dining table or even months to pick up your new car.

In many ways, we can be thankful that those days are long gone. Today’s suppliers support consumers to purchase a product immediately. People literally forget how to wait, be it a loading web page or a lengthy Direct Debit sign-up process.


A growing social impatience

Take this study conducted by MoneySavingExpert in January. A group of people were asked if they would rather take £50 now or £100 in one year. A surprising 51% went with £50 upfront.

Further reports by BT Global Services revealed that 84% of customers favour companies that offer the immediate issue of new debit and credit cards.

Of course, it doesn’t take a year to set up a Direct Debit but that doesn’t disguise the fact that people simply don’t enjoy the time-consuming rigmarole that comes with form-filling and bank liaisons.

It’s far easier to sort it out in a paperless fashion and once your customers are signed up, they need not concern themselves with the organisation of continuing payments thereafter.


Satisfying instant gratification with Direct Debit

Take for instance our online joining portal, FastDD. Customers can sign up to a Direct Debit with your company 24/7. The process is as quick as it is simple and errors on entry are reduced through automatic bank verification.

Customers can also arrange Direct Debit payments just as easily over the phone through our dedicated call centre. Our qualified experts can walk them through the process swiftly and it takes just minutes to complete the process.


Instant gratification is an inescapable facet felt by today’s consumers. It’s your job to make sure these needs are met. Direct Debit makes it easier for your customers to purchase a product immediately.

You can take the hassle out of the payment process with DFC and ensure that your customers stay longer. Find out more here or get in touch on 01908 422026

We do more billing

Compared with other payment methods, Direct Debit comes out near the top in terms of versatility. Once signed up, an individual can be charged based on their usage rather than fixed payments.

Whilst this is a brilliant tool for organisations with sporadic customer spending, the administration of this can be arduous leading many to offer an inflexible transfer process regardless.

At Debit Finance, we do more to make the billing process as efficient as possible for you and your customers so you don’t have to.


More billing frequencies

Keeping your customers happy is paramount to maintaining their loyalty. When a customer is happy, you can be sure of a continuous flow of cash throughout the year. A wide range of billing frequencies will take you a good leap forward in ensuring this.

With Debit Finance at the helm, customer billing can be scheduled on a weekly, fortnightly, 4 weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

It’s also available daily, Monday through to Friday. Should there be any queries about the billing process, our call centre is open Monday through to Saturday. This takes the onus off your employees whose time is often deflected away from their primary role by such matters.


More methods of loading

From online payments to traditional paper payments and hosted API, we offer a number of collection options to best suit you and your customers.

Our most popular collection method, FastDD, provides customers with a quick and easy sign-up method that can be carried out online across a variety of platforms.

Accessible 24/7, FastDD acts as a continuous sales aid to increase your number of monthly Direct Debit sales and automatic bank transfer reduces errors on entry.

Electronic File Transfer is another hugely popular method that allows people to collect paperless Direct Debit payments either face to face or over the phone.

As simple as it is quick, bank account verification takes just seconds and our invaluable 24-hour online data retrieval service keeps you fully up to date with payments thereafter.


So there you have it. For more information on how DFC can streamline your business, get in touch now on 01908 422 000.