How to Accept BACS Payments

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Getting paid—quickly—is central to the success of any small business. Making it easier and more convenient for your customers to settle their bills is key. With this in mind, you may be wondering if offering payment options like BACS Payments could benefit your business, and your clients.

As a secure electronic payment system, BACS Payments allows you to give your clients a quick, easy, and seamless payment experience while helping your law firm get paid faster. But, as with any business decision, it’s important to understand your options when determining what types of payment options you want to provide.
Below, we’ll explore the essentials of BACS Payments —including what they are, some of the main benefits they can offer small businesses and their clients, and how Clio makes it easy for law firms to process BACS Payments.

(If you want to cut to the chase and find out how Clio Manage and Clio Payments can get your firm paid faster and with less back-and-forth, book a demo today.)

What are BACS Payments?

BACS Payments are a type of bank-to-bank money transfer that occurs between banks in the UK. There are two primary types of BACS Payments:

  • A direct debit occurs when you authorise another party to take money directly from your bank account.
  • A direct credit—also commonly referred to as a “bank transfer”—occurs when another party deposits money into your bank account.

Why should I consider offering BACS Payments?

BACS Payments can unlock multiple benefits for businesses—and customers. Here are some of the key reasons to consider offering BACS Payments :

Quick and easy payments

When it comes to determining which types of payment options you want to offer your customers, convenience and speed are priorities.
Think about traditional payment methods like physical cheques. Paying by cheque is a tedious process that requires the customer to manually fill out and mail a cheque. Even if your client pays promptly via cheque, it still takes time to mail, receive, and process it. There are plenty of opportunities for a cheque to get lost or require time-consuming manual error corrections.

In comparison, BACS Payments are easy for clients to send and for law firms to receive in just a few clicks. This straightforward and simple process makes it easier for clients to pay you, and makes it faster for you to receive payment.
Note: Typically, BACS Payments take 4-7 working days to clear.

Saving time—while making money

The saying “time is money” seems to find fresh meaning when we think of the opportunities for today’s businesses when it comes to payment options.

From a business perspective, the ease of BACS Payments doesn’t just make it easier for clients to pay you faster; when you spend less time chasing down or processing payments, you free up more time to focus on revenue-generating tasks. In this way, easier payments can do more than just bring in revenue more quickly—it can also help support business growth.

Looking at the legal industry, Clio’s 2021 Legal Trends Report underpins this connection—the report found that growing firms were 37% more likely to use online payments.

Giving clients the payment options they want

Today’s customers, regardless of industry, expect convenience and flexibility when interacting with businesses. When it comes to payments, this convenience often means electronic payment options—but not everyone likes or wants to pay via debit card or credit card.
Accepting BACS Payments gives clients more options to pay, which can enhance their overall experience with your business. The better the client experience, the better chances you have of repeat business, positive word of mouth, and referrals.

How Clio Payments helps law firms accept BACS Payments easily

British pound bills scattered on desk with billing sheet
mixture of pen, pounds and statement

Clio Payments simplifies the payment process. This allows law firms to offer multiple payment options including debit or credit card, and BACS Payments.

Paying a bill by BACS Payment

Paying bills by BACS Payment is simple for clients when law firms use Clio Payments within Clio Manage.

Using Clio Payments, clients can securely access their funds directly from their bank account, through Clio’s integration with Plaid—a trusted service used to securely authenticate bank account information—and transfer those funds to make an instant payment towards a bill, a payment plan, or a client account.

Receiving BACS Payments

The process of accepting an BACS Payments for a bill via Clio Payments is straightforward:

  • Once your law firm has set up Clio Payments, you can accept BACS Payments from clients. Do this by either sharing a bill electronically or having your client process their payment through your secure payment link.
  • When you share a bill electronically through Clio via email, your client will receive a secure payment link. In the secure payment screen, your client can select “Pay by Bank” as their payment method.
  • Once your client enters and verifies their bank account details, depending on who they bank with, they will then see their bank account balances. This helps reduce the risk of incurring Not Sufficient Funds (NSF) fees due to insufficient funds when making their payment.
  • Finally, your client can then confirm their payment amount and complete the transaction.

When the payment is complete, your client will also be able to securely save their details for future use. This will allow you to process future payments on their behalf. Clients are able to save or edit their preferred payment methods in Clio Manage at any time (even if there isn’t a bill being paid) for added flexibility. (Note: This will only give you the ability to process future payments through the Plaid integration on your client’s behalf. You, Clio, or anyone else will not have access to your client’s bank account details.)

Whenever a BACS Payment is processed in Clio, your client will receive an email confirmation with the details.

Creating a payment plan

If your law firm offers payment plans to clients, BACS Payments can provide even more flexibility and convenience for clients. Customers in the UK using Clio Payments can accept BACS Payments using a payment plan.

Conclusions on BACS Payments

No matter how excellent your work is, if you aren’t getting paid promptly, your bottom line will suffer. It’s important to make it easy and convenient for your customers to pay you for your services. Accepting BACS Payments online can help your business get paid faster, while also giving your customers a better payment experience.

Simple and straightforward electronic payment options like BACS Payments give clients the ability to pay via bank transfer. Receiving BACS Payments benefits clients by saving them time and making it easy to pay. This also helps businesses get paid faster and with low processing fees. 

For law firms using Clio Payments, accepting BACS Payments is just one of the convenient online payment options that can be offered to clients (along with online debit and credit card payments), which means that they can offer a better client experience. 

Accepting BACS Payments through Clio Payments is also cost effective, which is especially important for small law firms.

How long do Bacs payments take to clear?

Bacs payments are processed quickly, but they are not instant. Typically, BACS Payments take 4-7 working days to clear, depending on variables like the time of day when a transaction is initiated and the bank’s processing time.

Categorized in: Legal Accounting