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What are BECS Payments?

February 5, 2024

Very much like the UK, which uses the BACS scheme to process bank-to-bank transfers, Australia uses its very own payment scheme called BECS. In this article, we explore the BECS payment system and answer some of the most common questions about BECS payments. 

What is BECS? 

BECS stands for Bulk Electronic Clearing System, and it is an Australian system that processes bulk electronic transactions. It is managed by AusPayNet (Australian Payments Network, formerly APCA), a self-regulatory body composed of 120 members that include leading financial institutions in Australia. BECS functions under AusPayNet’s regulations and standards, and it carries an average yearly value of more than $15 trillion. 

BECS electronic transactions can be direct debits, direct credits and one-off bank transfers. Card networks such as Visa and MasterCard are not involved. Instead, the sums of money are transferred from bank to bank via the BECS scheme. Though it is generally used for low-value transactions, payers can actually transfer up to $100 million. 

What Is BECS Used For? 

BECS Direct Debits are mainly used by companies with subscription models, such as insurance and utility companies, for the collection of recurring payments. BECS Direct Credits are mainly used by companies to make bulk recurring payments such as paying employees’ salaries or benefits. BECS credit transfers are mostly used by individual customers to make one-off bank-to-bank transfers. Direct debits must be agreed upon and approved by the payer (customer) before they can be set up, and they have to be managed by the payee (company). Direct debit mandate management includes the storage, update and management of the Direct Debit contract. 

In order for companies to start taking BECS Direct Debits, they must be approved and registered by a financial institution. Once they are registered, they will have a unique six-digit number that serves as identification. 

Advantages of the BECS Scheme 

Because BECS processes only bank-to-bank transfers and doesn’t involve any card network, the fees for BECS payments are much cheaper. It is also open to everybody who resides in Australia and has at least one bank account. Direct debits contribute to higher customer retention because the payment is recurring and will be processed even if the customer’s card has expired. Direct debits use the customer’s bank account details, not their card details. Generally, direct debits also benefit the cash flow of the business because the payment collection is automated, and companies know what payments to expect and when. 

How Long Does It Take for a BECS Payment To Be Settled? 

The money sum is taken off the payer’s account as soon as the payment is initiated, and payments are processed and settled on the same day. Same-day settlements were introduced in November 2013 to improve efficiencies in transactions. Payments are exchanged in bulk six times a day (10.00 am, 1.00 pm, 4.00 pm, 6.30 pm, 8.45 pm, and 10.30 pm). Payment settlement will, therefore, occur during one of these times. However, it may take up to three days to receive confirmation of a BECS Direct Debit payment. 

How Duck Creek Payments Can Help 

Duck Creek Payments is a cloud-based middleware connecting large enterprises to the payments ecosystem, regardless of their existing IT infrastructure. Through a single connection to Duck Creek Payments, enterprises can collect or pay out using a variety of payment technologies and providers around the globe. 

In a world where consumers’ payment preferences and technologies are ever-evolving, Duck Creek Payments works with insurers to future-proof their payment requirements. Regardless of the business area, market, or requirements, Duck Creek Payments will connect you to your choice of technology and provider. 

Reach out to our team below should you want to discuss how Duck Creek Payments can help you. Our team is happy to show you what our platform can do for your business and offer you a free demo.

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Bruno Soares
Senior Product Director
Bruno Soares is Senior Product Director Duck Creek Technologies, renowned for his passion for the impossible and his ability to build high-performing teams. In his two-decade entrepreneurial journey, Bruno has made a mark in Digital Banking and Payments, e-commerce, Interactive Television, and Aeronautics industries, through hands-on product management. Bruno’s commitment to innovation and talent development is evident in his track record of building teams that excel in tackling challenges. As one of the former Executive Leaders of Imburse AG, an award-winning SaaS Payments middleware for Enterprise, Bruno orchestrated a successful exit via a strategic sale to Duck Creek Technologies, where he continues to bring a wealth of experience and a relentless pursuit of excellence.