Direct Debits & Electronic Transfers

The direct entry system carries the majority of consumer payments by value.

Direct entry is a convenient, safe and reliable way to send and receive payments. 

The system is commonly used by businesses to make recurring, automated payments to and from everyday transaction accounts.  These include salary and welfare payments (direct credits), insurance premiums and utility bills (direct debits), and internet (Pay Anyone) banking services.

To make and collect payments, a business needs to be approved as a direct entry user by a financial institution.  To set-up direct debit arrangements, customers complete a Direct Debit Request (DDR) authority with the business that will be collecting payments from their account.

We coordinate the rules and processes for direct entry payments through the Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS). Other payment systems for electronic transfers are operated by BPAY and PayPal.

Same-day settlement was introduced in November 2013 to reduce risk and improve efficiencies. 

The direct entry rules include how financial institutions can help customers with their direct debit arrangements by:
  • acting on any request to stop, cancel or amend a direct debit arrangement
  • taking steps to ensure no further direct debits are made to the account once the arrangement is cancelled
  • working with the collecting business’s financial institution to resolve any disputes around direct debit payments.
Processing and clearing
Direct entry is the workhorse of the Australian payments system carrying average yearly values of more than $15 trillion. One of direct entry’s features is its relative low cost because volumes are high and payments are batched.
Financial institutions exchange payments in bulk, six times a day on weekdays (10.00am, 1.00pm, 4.00pm, 6.30pm, 8.45pm and 10.30pm). Settlement occurs on the same-day after each of the first five official exchanges. For further details, please refer to cl. 4.2 of the BECS Procedures.
Same-day settlement was introduced in November 2013 to reduce counterparty and operational risk. It also gives financial institutions flexibility in developing products to suit customers’ needs.
Direct entry user numbers
Direct entry payments include a unique six-digit number which identifies individuals and companies approved by financial institutions to use the system. This number is commonly referred to as an ‘APCA Number’ and is issued by financial institutions.
We produce guidelines and brochures and general information to help existing users of the direct entry system understand how it works.
For more specific information on the direct entry system, or to become a direct entry user, please contact your financial institution.

Related Content

View the other resources relating to direct entry.