Gateway Overview: Australian ABA File

An ABA file is a common file supported by most Australian banks (“Australian Banking Association”) that communicates payment information to the bank.  It is used for sending (direct credits) and receiving (direct debits) payments.  uCollect can prepare the DD ABA file for you to upload to the bank (the banks do not provide us with an interface to be able to do this on your behalf).

To be able to initiate Direct Debits directly with your bank you need to be approved as a Direct Debit Initiator.  This can be problematic for many small businesses.  If your bank does not approve you (or you want a more automated solution) then please consider EziDebit.

Please contact your bank directly to inquire about this.  It can take some time to go through the approval process.

To set up your gateway in uCollect Add a new Gateway (Edit Organisation, or from the setup wizard) with the following details:

  • Gateway: choose the “Australian ABA file”
  • Enter your Banking and APCA details as prompted. If you are not sure what to include here please contact your bank for clarification
  • Calculate Commission/Fees on Settlement: This option is not appropriate for ABA Files.
  • Pay Now: ABA files are not eligible for Pay Now.  If you want something for PayNow please consider EziDebit.

You can also pre-set the defaults of the following values for all your customers:

  • Customer’s Bank Account Title.  This appears in the ABA file and possibly in your Internet Banking or bank statetement.  You can use “[Contact]” (without the quotes) to have this pre-filled with the contact’s name from Xero.  Truncates to 32 characters.
  • Reference.  This will appear on the other party’s bank statement.  You can use “[Invoice]” (without the quotes) to have this pre-filled with the Xero invoice number (if more than one we list the first one and “etc”).  Truncates to 18 characters.

For help on using the Gateway setup screen please see the help page.

We pull the Bank Account number from the Xero contact record data.  You need to ensure that the bank account number is entered in Xero in the format BSBBSBAAAAAAAAA (we strip out dashes and spaces, so the following also work: BSB-BSB-AAAAAAAAA, BSBBSB AAAAAAAAA).  When you Edit Contact in uCollect we will display the Bank Account number from Xero so that you can see if it is correctly formatted.

When setting up your contacts in uCollect you have two:

  • Customer’s Bank Account Title.  This appears in the ABA file and possibly in your Internet Banking or bank statetement.  You can use “[Contact]” (without the quotes) to have this pre-filled with the contact’s name from Xero.  Truncates to 32 characters.
  • Reference.  This will appear on the other party’s bank statement.  You can use “[Invoice]” (without the quotes) to have this pre-filled with the Xero invoice number (if more than one we list the first one and “etc”).  Truncates to 18 characters.

Because your bank does not give uCollect the ability to submit the ABA/DD data directly to them we have to get you involved in the process.  This is not our ideal mode of working!

  1. Every day we check your Xero ledger to see if you have collections that need to be initiated (we based this on invoices that are due or over due).
  2. If there are collections due by ABA then we will send you an email asking you to log into uCollect.
  3. When you log into uCollect you click on the Generate Now link (or go to Collection History and click Process Now).
  4. uCollect will check again to see what payments are due for collection.  At this stage you can preview this list and suspend any invoices from collection (until further notice).  When ready you click Generate.
  5. uCollect will now generate the ABA file and download it to your browser.  If you have multiple payment dates (usually because you have set the “Number of days in advance to initiate”) then we will prepare one file for each date.  We will also mark the invoices as paid in Xero.
  6. It is ESSENTIAL that you upload the ABA file(s) to your internet banking right away.  If you fail to do so payments will not be initiated.

If you are away for a day and payments are due but you don’t generate the DD file in uCollect there is no need to panic.  Simply log back in the next day and any invoices that were due for collection will be included in the current batch.