BECS Direct Entry System

The BECS framework has powered Australian payments since the 1980s. It reliably handles more than $15 trillion in account-to-account [A2A] payments a year. It is scheduled for retirement in 2030.

Plan Your BECSit

A Reliable Payments Workhorse

BECS stands for Bulk Electronic Clearing System. Also known as Direct Entry, it reliably handles high-volume, A2A batch payments — the majority of Australian consumer payments based on value. But it was created for a different time and, over the course of decades, its capabilities have inevitably fallen short of the demands of today's always-on, fast-moving digital economy. 

BECS Direct Entry payments include familiar bank-account-to-bank-account funds transfers like direct debit, direct credit and ad-hoc 'pay anyone' bank transfers.

Zepto Direct Debit

Versatile, Trusted & Familiar


The BECS framework is administered by Australian Payments Network [AusPayNet]. It is a convenient, safe and reliable way to send and receive payments. Every day, Australian businesses and government use BECS to make regular, automated, electronic payments — direct debits, direct credits and ad-hoc bank transfers — to and from everyday transaction accounts.


Anyone with an Australian bank account can use the BECS framework to make payments. To collect or make BECS payments, a business must be approved as a Direct Entry user by a financial institution. Direct entry payments do not involve card networks. Instead, banks communicate directly with each other via BECS, and exchange payments in bulk. Zepto was the first PayTech to be an approved AusPayNet Tier 2 BECS Participant.


BECS payments are exchanged between banks six times a day [10.00am, 1.00pm, 4.00pm, 6.30pm, 8.45pm and 10.30pm], and only on working/business days. Settlement occurs on the same-day after each of the first five official exchanges as the cut-off point for same-day processing is the 8:45pm exchange. Payments exchanged at the 10:30pm exchange point are processed the following business day. It can, however, take up to three working/business days to receive confirmation of a direct debit payment.


Some do, yes. In fact, our industry-leading direct debit solution is a trusted, flagship product in the Zepto Toolkit.

Zepto's API opens up a unique set of access points into Australia's account-to-account [A2A] payments infrastructure: both BECS and the NPP. With access to both, Zepto is able to offer unique blended solutions that leverage both payment frameworks. Many Zepto customers make use of both direct debit for reliable payment collections, and direct credits for payouts.

Zepto was the first PayTech to be an approved AusPayNet Tier 2 BECS Participant. With our API-powered Direct Entry solutions, merchants can hit every BECS exchange point. They can hit the exchange point most likely to deliver a successful payout to, or collection from, any given customer –– not just the one [or two] exchange points offered by their bank.

Zepto's purpose is to give our customers access to the most flexible and modular A2A payments toolkit available anywhere to create the payment flows that suit them, not their banking partner.

Zepto provides the tools and the access to all six exchange points, and our merchant customers can time their payments to maximise success. This can reduce back-office headaches, contact centre interventions and dishonour fee frustrations that can negatively impact customer experience and loyalty.


Zepto already offers industry leading payment solutions and experience across both frameworks.

Zepto’s API and easy integration can give businesses the benefits of tomorrow’s payments ecosystem today. Our product roadmap is comprehensive, focused on the now, and planning for the future. This is evidenced by our in-market, agile delivery of bespoke functionality to our enterprise client base, as well as our commitment to building future facing technologies.

By engaging with Zepto now, enterprise businesses can create customised payment flows on a secure, scalable, future-proofed platform that's ready for the 2030 retirement of BECS.

The BECS Direct Entry system is an efficient and reliable way of making low-value, bank-account-to-bank-account funds transfers like direct debit, direct credit and consumer ‘pay anyone’ bank transfers. A feature of Direct Entry is its relative low cost because payment volumes are high and exchanged in bulk.

Even though BECS is mostly used for relatively low-value transactions, payers can transfer up to $100 million in a single transaction. Direct debits are typically used by businesses with subscription revenue models, and billers for the regular collection of recurring payments. Examples of direct credit payments include those initiated by organisations that make bulk recurring payments such as payroll or superannuation contributions. 

The BECS Direct Entry framework is administered by Australian Payments Network or AusPayNet — a self-regulatory body composed of more than 150 members and participants including leading financial institutions in Australia. AusPayNet coordinates the rules and processes for direct entry payments through BECS.

Australia’s world-class payments system is a foundational component of the digital economy, and the BECS framework has done an incredible job since its inception in the 1980s. As Zepto CEO Chris Jewell says, "A lot of people talk about the legacy system of BECS. But I don't think of BECS as 'legacy'. I think of it as a Hall of Famer. In the context of what it's delivered to Australia, it's been incredibly powerful as an engine of the economy for decades."

But in late 2023, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia — Michele Bullock — delivered the Annual Payments Address at the Australian Payments Network Summit. In it, Governor Bullock described the Payments System Board’s strategic priorities, and drew a 2030 line-in-the-sand for Australia's legacy BECS framework. 

BECS may reliably handle average annual values of more than $15 trillion — the majority of Australian consumer payments by value — but it processes them in batches, and only on business days. Furthermore, it is not able to send complete remittance information. As Governor Bullock noted at the 2023 AusPayNet Summit, "The limited number of characters stems from the number of characters that could be carried on a punch card! Decades on, this is no longer fit for purpose."

Australian payments are undergoing once-in-a-generation modernisation as they migrate across to the designed-for-digital New Payments Platform [NPP].

The New Payments Platform [NPP] is Australia’s real-time payments infrastructure. It was developed via industry collaboration to enable Australian consumers, businesses and government agencies to make digital, account-to-account [A2A] payments — with near real-time funds availability to the recipient — at any time. It facilitates the clearing and settlements of real-time data-rich payments for the Australian digital economy.

Use of the NPP continues to grow. A2A payments on the NPP can move and settle in real-time and carrying rich data enabling, for example, automatic reconciliation.

The NPP also uses the data-rich ISO 20022 messaging format, which is the new global standard for payments systems.

Payments through BECS can only use BSB and account numbers. By contrast, the NPP incorporates PayTo and the PayID addressing service, allowing payments to be addressed to an email address or phone number, and it also provides a confirmation of payee service. These features help to reduce mistaken payments and combat some scams.

The BECS system was designed for another era of bulk electronic transactions between financial institutions.

It is a low-cost and reliable payment system. But it has technical limitations that reflect its age, including delayed settlement and a restricted messaging format incompatible with the global standard for payments systems, ISO 20022. The batched nature of BECS payments can be an inconvenience for business back-offices, and their slower only-on-business-days movement can impact cash flow and customer experience.

For example, it can take up to three business/working days to receive confirmation of a direct debit payment.

NPP payments, on the other hand, are always-on and they move and settle in real-time. They carry more data, boast better fraud and audit controls, and enable automated straight-through processing and reconciliation, 24/7-365.

Participants in the Direct Entry system [BECS members] exchange bulk-payment instructions and settle their obligations through RBA Exchange Settlement Accounts.


With 2030 slated for the retirement of the BECS Direct Entry framework, Australian payments are undergoing once-in-a-generation modernisation. Transitioning all BECS payments to the real-time rails of the New Payments Platform [NPP] will be a transformational moment. It will take time, but the clock is ticking.

So, where should you start?

Firstly, the conversation has already begun, and the early-movers are moving. Speaking to subject-matter experts in this space is vital. Expertise, technology, capability and proximity to the payment rails can vary widely. Partnering with the right account-to-account payments infrastructure provider can make all the difference to a successful 'BECSIT'.

As the first PayTech approved as an AusPayNet Tier 2 BECS Participant, and the first non-bank Connected Institution on the real-time rails of the NPP, Zepto is uniquely positioned to guide businesses through the transition.

We’re shaping the future of payments from a rare vantage point — a unique place from which to spearhead innovation, and chaperon organisations modernising their payment experiences.

Take Action
Most countries are brilliant at setting up new payment rails, but pretty poor at decommissioning old ones. We're showing leadership in Australia by putting that 2030 line in the sand for BECS. It means conversations can start with big enterprise customers and governments around the use cases currently serviced by BECS, and how they could be serviced by modern alternatives moving forward.
Andy White - CEO, AusPayNet