How to avoid getting caught out by the Bacs TLS switchover in June

What happens if I don’t take action? 

If you use a Bacstel-IP approved software solution to submit your payments and you don’t take action, your business will not be able to process a Bacs payment or collection after 13 June 2016. Bacs has been clear that the onus is on businesses to ensure they are up to date and compliant with the new security protocols. 

In the past year, Bacs has communicated to its users and to the payments industry, that the 13th June is the absolute deadline in which only TLS-compliant solutions will be able to send payments using the Bacs system. Most Bacs solution providers, including ourselves, have proactively contacted customers to inform them of the change. This has been done via regular webinars, events, newsletters, emails, social media and blogs, and all customers have been contacted by phone. Due to the complexity of the systems behind Bacs, a same-day fix is not an option, and we advise businesses that have not yet upgraded to a Bacs solution that supports TLS, to take action urgently. 

How many businesses are impacted? 

Over 20,000 organisations are thought to send payments directly to Bacs for processing. Whilst Bacs solution providers and Bacs have sent communications to all of these users, those that have not updated their contact details, are using unsupported products to connect to Bacs, or have not acted on the counsel, could be at risk of not being able to make payments after the deadline. 

Read more about the payments revolution:

How do I find out if I’m compliant? 

For those that haven’t already taken action, the first thing to do is always to talk to your Bacs solution provider who can confirm whether you are using a TLS compliant solution to connect to the service. If you use a bureau to send files to Bacs on your behalf, payroll for example, it is worth confirming with them that their solution is compliant. 

Exactly what needs to be upgraded? 

In many cases there will be an update or migration to a later product version that will be available to you to enable payments over TLS. Where this isn’t possible, or you wish to further insulate yourself from further disruptive changes in the future, then a popular option is to look at a cloud payments solution. And there are additional considerations in the migration, as TLS and SHA-2 are not supported on old operating systems and browsers, so organisations may need to upgrade these in order to continue submitting files to Bacstel-IP and to access the Bacs Payment Services Website.

Google’s announcement that Android Pay will be coming to the UK in a few months is a hugely significant moment in the mobile payments story – one that marks a nail in the coffin for card transactions at the point of sale.

Ed Adshead-Grant is general manager of payments at Bottomline Technologies.

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