BACS: The "C" is for "Crap"...
Here are two scenarios:
- I use my computer to access my bank's computer-based Online Banking system. I log into their computer and the computer presents the interface. I have already passed the authentication process, so the computer should be happy that I am who I say I am. I tell the bank's computer to send some money to another computer to settle a bill. It does so, but it takes three fucking days.
- I physically go to my bank (or the nearest cash point) and physically remove some physical money. I then get in the car and physically drive (let's approximate to a maximum of 8 hours, which it about how long it would take to travel the roughly 600 miles from the top of Scotland to the bottom of England at 70 mph in a straight line) to the physical headquarters of the company that issued the bill. I physically hand them the physical money to settle the bill.
How the hell can I get physical money across the country faster than the banks can send virtual money in the form of electricity!?
If we assume the electrical signal travels at the speed of light, then if it takes 3 days for the money to arrive, that means the signal has had to travel about 2 million times around the equator (I love Google) before it eventually reaches its destination...
I've already established my identity with my bank's computer by passing the log in screen, I have the money available in my account, I'm assuming it's just computers that are handling the transaction, so what takes them so long?!
UPDATE: Just found this on Wikipedia:
The BACS system, and in particular the time taken for money to move between accounts, has been widely criticised by consumer groups as inefficient and archaic, especially as it is the system used for money transfers made by telephone or internet banking. This compares unfavourably with other developed countries, particularly in Scandinavia, where the "Elle" system ("Early Late / Late Early") allows money transferred before lunchtime to reach a payee's account on the same working day, or money transferred after lunchtime to reach the payee's account the following morning.