Top-up still pending

I made a top-up to my account on Monday which is still ‘pending’ today, Friday. The money has not left my bank account. Why does it take so long for a top-up to clear on your Bulb account? And will Bulb be satisfied as long as it shows that you’ve made a top-up, even if it hasn’t cleared yet? Thanks.

Heya @metermaid

The time it takes for the transfer to go through can depend on your bank. It should take no more than 10 working days but it usually is a nit quicker than that.

We can see the top up is pending so not to worry. Thanks!

10? Blimey. Even five sounds too long in this day and age. Usually, in this sort of situation, the money may not have got where intended but it is gone from my bank account because, y’know, banks are like that. Odd. However, as long as Bulb are satisfied that the money is on its way, and will stay off my back because of it, I guess it doesn’t really matter. Thanks, Eleanor.

The top-up money left my bank account yesterday, five working days after I requested it, but it is still ‘pending’ in my Bulb account. I know you say you’re happy enough but I’m not. I want to see that money added to my Bulb balance. You can’t blame my bank anymore, there is no excuse for it still to be pending.

Hi @metermaid

I’ve checked our banking site and it is due to reach us on the 28th.

Although it’s left your bank account, it can take a couple of days to reach us. As soon as it reaches our accounts, your Bulb account will be updated.

Hi @metermaid,

Top-ups are performed via the Direct Debit system which is slow as it’s designed around the 1970s ‘BACs’ system (GoCardless [a company which offers small companies access to the direct debit system] offer a good explanation/time line for things at Direct Debit timings | GoCardless ). Basically, if Bulb manage to get your request in before their bank’s cut-off time (usually between 2pm and 5pm: count this as day 1), it’ll be sent to their bank for including on that night’s BACs list. BACS will then process it during day 2 and then send it to your bank for processing on day 3. Your bank will then withdraw the funds from your account and send confirmation to BACS for processing on day 4. Day 4 BACs process it and then sends it to Bulb’s bank. Day 5 Bulb’s bank receives the notification and credits Bulb’s account. Then Bulb need to pick up that notification for their processing - which will probably be over night again (as some banks provide ‘batch updates’ over night) - so that’s day 6.

Of course, that time line assumes that the banking system (including BACs) isn’t “closed” (i.e. it’s a weekend or public holiday) and that all the requests/responses happen before the appropriate cut-off times to be included in that night… Hence why Bulb say it can take ten days.

Why don’t Bulb use more ‘modern’ things such as Faster Payments which tend to be ‘instant’ (or, at least, should complete within 2 hours)?

It’ll be mainly down to cost and implementation - Direct Debits can’t go through the faster payments system, large companies tend to be charged for using faster payments/CHAPS etc systems (Barclays Business banking, for an example, charge £0.35 for a BACs payment, but £5 for a faster payment!), and it can just be easier for companies to integrate with existing Direct Debit systems rather than roll their own code.

Could Bulb accept debit/credit cards? Yep, but again, it’ll be down to fees. Since the EU regulations came in earlier this year, companies can no longer ‘pass on’ card handling fees - and whilst debit cards (at least for small merchants) costs around 20p per transaction, credit cards can cost 5% of the transaction value and a handling fee - and then you’ve got additional code/programmer time to support that integration…

From Bulb’s perspective (at least from mine), Direct Debit is the best all round solution - it’s not the fastest, but most of the time that doesn’t really matter - but it helps keep customer costs low meaning cheaper prices for us all.

It’s gone through now, albeit dated 27th not 28th. Thanks, both.

Thanks for letting me know @metermaid. I’m sorry that you had to wait