Agencies line up for £2m Direct Debit business

LONDON - BACS, the organisation that runs debit and credit processing in the UK, is talking to creative agencies about its £2 million Direct Debit account.

The business is currently with Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, which created a campaign to convince consumers of the benefits of paying by Direct Debit. One commercial features how many hours of their lives the average person spends sleeping, eating, bathing and paying bills by Direct Debit.

BACS, owned by the major banks and building societies, has approached four agencies with a view to holding a pitch. Agencies are still waiting to hear whether they have moved to the next stage of the review.

Euro RSCG's creative strategy has also focused on convincing people of the cost savings in using Direct Debit to spread payment of bills. Spend on the account has fluctuated. In 1997 BACS put £20 million behind a big push to increase awareness but in recent years budgets have been much lower.

Ken Brown, the marketing director at BACS, denied that it is reviewing the BACS account. He said: "We are very happy with Euro RSCG. Like any company we have conversations with agencies that contact us but nothing beyond that."

BACS manages more than three billion transactions in the UK each year. It started in 1968 and now has 40,000 companies signed up to use its debit and credit facilities.

In its PR activity BACS is increasingly focusing on targeting people at different life stages with the benefits of Direct Debit. It aims to inform retired people and those making serious financial commitments, such as weddings, of the benefits.

On peak days BACS processes 46 million transactions. Companies save large amounts on collecting payment by using Direct Debit services.