How Long Does a BACS Payment Take? [UK Transfers 101]

In this article, weโ€™re answering โ€œhow long does a BACS payment take?โ€

But, instead of keeping you guessing, the answer is normally three days.

However, there are very important nuances that can impact how long it takes for a payment to arrive.

In this article, weโ€™ll explore these nuances and also answer a number of common questions that we receive on the topic.

This article is part of our free series on banking in Europe, ranging from topics from accessing Euro IBAN accounts to banks in Armenia, click here to get access now.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. How Long Does a BACS Payment Take?
  2. What Is a BACS Payment?
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Ready to Explore Your Options?

How Long Does a BACS Payment Take?

How long a BACS payment takes depends on the day of the week and the time of day that the payment is sent. This is because a BACS payment takes three business days to arrive. Likewise, clearing for BACS payments ends at 10:30 pm each business day. With this in mind, a BACS payment can take anywhere from three to five calendar days to arrive.ย 

However, itโ€™s important to note that bank holidays will further delay the delivery of BACS payments. That said, there are only eight standard bank holidays throughout the year, primarily in January, April, May, and December. That said, depending on where you bank in the UK itโ€™s possible that you can also be impacted by bank holidays in March, July, and November.

Needless to say, if you need a BACS transfer to arrive in a short period of time, you should send it no later than Wednesday. Likewise, you should avoid times of the year when there are bank holidays.

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What Is a BACS Payment?

A BACS payment is a type of bank transfer available to customers in the United Kingdom. More specifically, the BACS system is used for automated direct debits and direct credits.

However, itโ€™s important to note that BACS payments are not the only payment option available to UK account holders. In fact, both CHAPS and Faster Payments are transfer options that arrive almost instantaneously. That said there are specific parameters that must be met in order to use CHAPS and in both cases, CHAPS and Faster Payments cost more than sending a BACS payment.

Are BACS Payments the Same as a Bank Transfer?

Yes, BACS payments are the same as a bank transfers. In fact, BACS and bank transfers are often used in the same context. However, itโ€™s important to note that BACS are only one of the available forms of bank transfers. Other bank transfer methods include both CHAPS and Faster Payments, which offer faster delivery of transfers. That said, BACS are the least expensive form of transfer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are three of the most common questions that we receive from people looking into how long a BACS payment takes. If you have further questions you would like answered, donโ€™t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

What Is the Difference Between a BACS Payment and CHAPS Payment?

The main difference between a BACS payment and a CHAPS payment is that BACS payments are for regular transfers that are not time sensitive while CHAPS are generally used for large transactions that require immediate clearing. With this in mind, BACS can take a long time to arrive at the destination bank account while CHAPS are almost instantaneous.

Can BACS Be Quicker Than 3 Days?

No, BACS payments cannot be quicker than 3 days. Instead, senders of BACS payments should expect their transfer to take a minimum of three days to process. This is because they are only sent on business days, and there are restrictions on the hours when transactions are cleared and processed between financial institutions. If a sending party requires faster transactions, they should look at CHAPS payments or Faster Payments as possible options.

How Long Does a BACS Payment Take to Hit Your Account?

How long does a BACS payment take to hit your account will ultimately depend on the day of the week that payment is sent. Likewise, it can also be impacted by the time of year, as bank holidays can further delay transfers. However, in general, these transfers will take three working days to arrive in the recipient’s bank account.

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