What is a Service User Number (SUN)?
A Service User Number (SUN) sometimes called an Originator ID or Originator Identifying Number (OIN) is a unique 6 digit number allocated to a business by their sponsoring bank to enable identification with and use of Bacs Payment Schemes. A SUN is mandatory for organisations that wish to submit directly to Bacs, or indirectly via a Bacs bureau.
All of your communications with Bacs will need to use your SUN. The SUN is linked to your bank accounts and to the software or bureau that you are using to submit your files to Bacs.
How do I get a Service User Number?
If you want to be a Direct Submitter, then you will need to obtain a Service User Number (SUN). These are controlled and issued by your sponsoring bank. Contact your Bacs provider or Bacs bureau to find out the specific application process as this can differ from bank to bank.
Every bank is required to do their due diligence and the approval process is designed to ensure that organisations will adhere to the high standards required from Bacs and abide by the Direct Debit scheme rules. Other considerations usually include checking an organisation’s:
- Financial standing
- Management expertise
- Administrative capabilities
Bacs monitor the on-going performance of each organisation that holds a SUN. If an organisation subsequently fails to meet the standards laid down by Bacs, such as a large number of Direct Debit indemnity claims or complaints from customers, the bank together with Bacs could remove the SUN which would prevent the organisation from submitting further Direct Debit payments.
It is good practice to allow at least four weeks between the setup of your SUN with Bacs and the submission of your first Direct Debit Instruction.
Can I use a third party SUN?
For organisations that want to be able to collect Direct Debit payments indirectly and without holding their own Service User Number (SUN), they will need to use a SUN held by a third party, which can happen in two ways:
- Facilities Management (FM) through a Bacs-approved Bureau (BAB). The bureau sets up a SUN for each merchant organisation, but it is the bureau that owns the SUN. The name on each SUN takes the form ‘Bureau re Client’ and payments are collected into the FM bureau’s client monies account.
- Collection through an institution regulated under the Payment Service Directive (PSD). A Payments Institution (PI) collects payments under its own name using a single SUN for multiple organisations. The Institution then pays the money to the client organisation typically following successful collection.
An Indirect Submitter uses a bank or bureau to submit payment files to Bacs. The Direct Debit payment file can be created by the bank, the Bacs bureau or by the submitter.
More than 50% of organisations make payment submissions to Bacs through a bureau. This could be because the volume of payments is low, the organisation cannot fulfil all of the criteria to hold a SUN or the organisation is an SME for example.
It is worth noting that Indirect Submitters will need to access reports and view submission history using the secure Bacstel-IP. To become eligible to use Bacstel-IP, organisations must register for a password and ID to gain access to the Bacs payment services website.