As I hope you are aware, over the last year or so the BCA has been in
the process of changing banks to the Charities Aid Foundation Bank (CAF
Bank). This process is now complete, and the BCA no longer has any bank
accounts with HSBC plc.
The BCA has taken the opportunity to revise the methods by which
Membership fees can be paid; with immediate effect, standing order
payments will no longer be accepted, but direct debits can be set up
instead and payments can also be made by cheque or credit card.
Any existing standing orders to the BCA should not be debited from
the Member’s account. While it is the individual Member’s responsibility
to confirm this with their own bank, your bank should advise you that your
standing order has been cancelled because the BCA’s bank account has been
closed. As has been pointed out by a number of Members with whom I have
discussed this, control of payments made by standing order lies wholly with
the payer; BCA has no way of amending payments received by this method –
we cannot even cancel them.
There are three principal consequences from the removal of the standing
(1) Members who have inadvertently set up multiple payments will no
longer pay more than once a year for their Membership.
(2) The BCA will be able to identify more easily which Members have
paid their dues – several standing orders are only identified by a
somewhat cryptic message, so we have no idea who is making the payment!
It is possible that a good proportion of these unidentified transactions
are being made from people who are not Members any more.
(3) A substantial proportion (~45% last time I checked) of Members
paying by standing order in previous years paid the wrong amount; most
of these were underpayments because Members had not updated their
standing orders in line with changes in BCA Membership fees.
I hope that the changes that have been implemented will address these
Finally, I’d like to wish all our Members a Happy Christmas and
Prosperous New Year.
Dr Harry Powell, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, MRC Centre, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QH