BACS for Building Society Accounts

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    Spotted an interesting article yesterday in the press about an LHA claimant who does not have a bank account but had asked for her payments to go to her Building Society Account which has all the normal facilities associated with a bank account.Apparently this account, like most other building society accounts, contains three fields (sort code, account number and a nine digit reference or roll number).The council in question’s payment system only holds the first two but not the third so the BACS payments were not accepted by the Building Society System.
    Given that there are reportedly some 59 building societies in the UK, holding around 21 million accounts, it is surprising that this problem has only surfaced now.Any other colleagues experiencing similar difficulties?


    Northgate’s Benefits System enables payment by both BACS into bank accounts and into building society accounts (incorporating the account roll number).

    Building Society BACS payments must have three fields (Sort Code, Account Number & Roll Number) as the sort code & account number are for the Building Society’s own bank account and the roll number is the customer’s account with the building society.

    It is because Building Society’s are not banks that the accounts are different as they’re not part of the banking “clearing system”. They are just customers of banks like everyone else. This is why cheques usually take longer to “clear” when paid into building society accounts.

    I presume if the software cannot be updated then payments can only be paid by cheque.

    Ozzies Mate

    Works fine with Academy on the whole as well apart from a copule of B/Socs. In these instances you will find that if you put the roll no. in as the a/c name then the payments get their fine.

    As bod correctly wrote (and from my own years in the banking sector) B/Soc’s are merely customers of the bank.


    Ozzies Mate – Funny I too used to work in a bank years ago. Strange how so many former bank employees have ended up working in Benefits. 😕


    Hi there

    We are on Northgate and have recently sought clarification on the payment of HB into b/soc accounts.

    I know that a lot of authorities already pay into B/soc accounts (Brighton springs to mind as I used to work there) On Northgate it is called BACSB rather than BACS. Then you input the roll number and all is well. It isn’t as secure against error I understand as it won’t reject in the way that BACS do but it works.

    We have been live on payments to claimant by BACS for over 12 months and are now going live on BACSB this month.

    If you are on Northgate, PM me and I will give your details to the team responsible if you would like?

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