Top up balance still pending?

Is there a reason why the ‘Top up balance’ payment I made on 25/12/18 is still pending? My monthly Direct Debit went through as usual on 29/12/18.


Hi @anth0ny ,

I believe most top up balance payments are processed the same as Direct Debits. So it’s:

  • Day 1: Bulb sends the request to their bank (as long as it’s before 4pmish - otherwise add a day)
  • Day 2: Their Bank (Metro) receives the request and sends it to BACs (who coordinates Direct Debits between banks).
  • Day 3: BACs sends the request to your bank
  • Day 4: Your bank debits your account and sends a message to BACs to say it has been paid.
  • Day 5: BACS receives the message
  • Day 6: BACs sends it to Bulb’s bank
  • Day 7: Bulb’s bank receives the message and queues sends it onto Bulb.
  • Day 8: Bulb receives the request.

Because of ‘historical issues’, Direct Debits are processed on ‘overnight batch requests’ usually around midnight-4am (when bank transactions are at their lowest) and therefore there’s no immediate responses/confirmations and things have to wait until the next batch update to run to send the next message in the sequence. This worked alright for monthly statements and no ‘online transactions’, but it does show how slow it is in the modern era - but the timing of the Direct Debit system is out of Bulb’s control

Oh - did I forget to mention, the entire system shuts down on weekends and public ‘bank’ holidays because obviously computers cannot operate without humans involved for some reason…

Therefore your timeline will look something like like:

  • Day 0 (25th - public holiday) - Submit the request to Bulb. 26th is a public holiday too.
  • Day 1 (27th - first working day afterwards). Bulb’s bank accepts the request
  • Day 2 (28th). Bulb’s bank sends to it BACs. 29th, 30th are weekends.
  • Day 3 (31st). BACs sends it to your bank. 1st is a public holiday
  • Day 4 (today) - your bank /should/ have debited your account today. <<< TODAY
  • Day 5 (tomorrow). BACs receives notification from your bank about the success of the debit.
  • Day 6 (Friday). BACs forwards it onto Bulb’s Bank. 5th and 6th are weekends.
  • Day 7 (Monday). Bulb’s bank shows the transaction in Bulb’s transaction list and queues notification to Bulb.
  • Day 8 (Tuesday). The payment shows up on your online Bulb statement.

That’s of course, if all the timings fell perfectly before each retrospective banking organisation (your bank, BACs and Bulb’s bank) have their ‘batch processing request window’ closed (i.e. around 3-4pm on ‘traditional banks’ as they need over 8 hours to collate the requests for ‘reasons’).

Direct Debits are slooow…

Thanks @RichyB for all the detail it’s appreciated, though, following your timeline the payment I made on 25/12/18 should be seen on my statement yesterday.

I’m guessing someone from Bulb with access to my account will come along and look into the actualities here and advise me of the situation. I don’t have Internet banking so cannot look at my bank account online to see what that’s saying. I’ll go and get a mini-statement from my bank tomorrow if it still hasn’t been credited to my account by then.

I’ve had no problems with the Direct Debits going through, though, as you say there’s a delay of a couple of days before they’re credited to my account, though, again, the ‘Top up balance’ payment I made was 3 days before the DD, which went though, was taken.

All the best for the New Year and beyond!

The ‘Top up balance’ payment I made on 25/12/18 was finally recorded on my Bulb account on 4/01/19 - though my bank recorded it of having been paid on the 3rd. I’ll have to take the 8 working day delay in ‘Top up balance’ payments being accounted for if I need to top up my account again.


How did you arrive at 8 working days, I only counted 6 working days from 25/12/2018 to 04/01/2019 (both dates inclusive)?

How did you arrive at 8 working days, I only counted 6 working days from 25/12/2018 to 04/01/2019 (both dates inclusive)?

I only make it 5 …

27, 28, 2, 3, 4

Everything is slow over Christmas and the new year. Hardly worth panicking.

I only make it 5 ...

27, 28, 2, 3, 4

Just making sure you were on the ball =)

Heya @anth0ny

You’re top-up has now been processed. Sorry for the delay!