Indirect access to UK payment systems

Uk Sort Code Allocation

Sort Codes (6 digit numeric) are a key component of the unique identifier which routes payment instructions in the UK. Each sort code can be linked to one or more of  Bacs, Faster Payments, CHAPS and the Image Clearing payment systems.

In certain cases the payment system permits the service user to select the transactions types to be allowed, for example Bacs allows Direct Debits to be selected or excluded.

The Extended Industry Sort Code Directory (EISCD) defines live sort codes and their settings. This includes any payment system specific options and which direct member is responsible for settlement of transactions on that sort code (as an Indirect PSP this is your indirect access provider (sponsor bank).

If an Indirect PSP chooses a different sponsor bank for different payment systems they can use the same sort code.

The EISCD is updated weekly. Any change of sponsorship is effective immediately when each payment system updates their weekly copies of the EISCD.  

Indirect PSPs update their own EISCD information via their sponsor bank (or new sponsor if changing sponsorship).

The UK Sort Codes are embedded in the International Bank Account Number (IBAN). The UK format is documented on the SWIFT website.  The IBAN should be printed on the Indirect PSP’s customer statements and displayed in any online banking channels.

To reduce the risk of mis-keying bank account numbers, modulus check digits can be used.  The current list of sort codes with modulus checking and the rules applied is documented on the VocaLink Modulus Checking Website.

An Indirect PSP is likely to choose to obtain its own sort code when it allocates its customers individual sort code/account number combinations to receive payments directly to the specific customer account.

If you decide to move to or from NatWest, we can support the transfer of your sort code and sponsorship of electronic clearing and associated payment flows. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the potential advantages of transferring your business to us.

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