Headlines: August 15th, 2008

The online Direct Debit Challenge League created by Bacs Payment Schemes Limited, has hit the back of the net with local councils. Bacs say that they have received more entries than ever before and the modern format has really struck a cord with councils across the UK.

The Challenge League draws on the heritage of fantasy football style competitions. Bacs gives councils the chance to benchmark their Direct Debit performance against similar sized councils, providing a measure of what opportunities may still lie open for them. In addition councils also have a chance to win 1000 pounds on behalf of a charity of their choice.

Council performance is measured alongside other councils with a similar demographic, making the overall process much fairer. To protect confidentiality, the League provides an arbitrary representation of real time data, while keeping their actual volume figures secure.

Bacs, the not-for-profit, membership-based industry body owned by 15 of the leading banks and building societies in the UK and Europe, is celebrating 40 years of automated payments this year.

Since its inception, more than 68 billion transactions have been debited or credited to British bank accounts via Bacs. And in 2007 over 5.5 billion UK payments were made this way with a new peak day record achieved in November when 90.3 million items were processed in one day, a daily volume increase of 8.4 per cent.