The Scheme is designed to provide an accreditation status to those Products made available through a subscription basis and / or 'pay per use' basis which meet objective minimum Threshold Criteria namely:
- Provide a complete list of sorting codes and the types of Bacs transactions that each sort code can accept, and whether it can accept Faster Payments; and
- Source the information (in 1. above) from VocaLink's Extended Industry Sort Code Directory (EISCD) with the latest updated information being made available to all customers on a minimum frequency of monthly (best practice of making it available weekly in line with EISCD updates is recommended):
- For the avoidance of doubt products which can provide sorting code data with a frequency of less than monthly won't be accredited; so products which can deliver data quarterly or annually won't be accredited, for example.
- If Products provide the additional functionality detailed below this will also be referenced on the website entry.
- "Modulus checking" on the destination sort code and account number pairing with modulus checks being sourced from the VocaLink Limited (VocaLink) maintained Modulus database.
- Reference field validation, in particular for Bank /Building Societies with non standard account numbers and recipients such as Credit Card Issuers where a modulus check can be carried out where validation sourcing is from the Crediting & Debiting Building Society Accounts Booklet and individual databases suppliers have built and maintained.
- Whether each sort code can accept CHAPS transactions.
Products that include the above additional functionality will be awarded with an accreditation status on the proviso that the Threshold Criteria are met in the first instance.
Accredited Products will become more recognisable to end users and synonymous with industry best practice. A Qualmark (above) will be awarded to Products which have been successfully accredited.
Providers of accredited Products will contribute to shaping the integrity of sort code products, particularly enhanced quality of information.
Once accredited, it is expected that a Product must continually demonstrate maintenance of the appropriate criteria and the relevant provider must notify Payments UK of any significant changes to the Product. Failure to demonstrate compliance may result in the Scheme's automatic right to withdraw the Product's accreditation. Please see the Scheme's Code of Conduct for further details.
All Products are assessed on the same objective criteria and the Scheme is responsible for ensuring all Providers who seek accreditation for Products are assessed fairly and equally. There is an appeals process for applicants to challenge any accreditation decision (including decisions relating to the removal of accreditation). Further detail on the appeals process can be found in the Scheme's Disputes Resolution and Appeals Procedure.
Successful applicants should be aware that whilst there is no application fee payable, there are costs associated with accreditation should your application be successful. Accreditation costs include covering the administrative and operational costs of the Scheme. The total annual cost upon accreditation for each product will be £500 plus VAT. For those accredited during the calendar year, the accreditation fee will be pro-rated accordingly. With respect to any increase in cost, the Scheme will always provide 6 weeks' advance notice.
Once accredited, Providers will be required to respond to an annual Self Certification Questionnaire from the Scheme which will be issued 30 working days before expiration of accreditation.
Exiting the scheme
As accreditation is entirely voluntary, there is no requirement for Products to remain accredited. The process for requesting removal of accreditation (including related terms) can be found in the application guidance notes.