Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about the UPIC.
1. What is a UPIC?
A UPIC (Universal Payment Identification Code) is a banking address used to receive electronic credit payments. A UPIC acts exactly like a bank account number, however the UPIC protects your sensitive banking information. Your actual bank account number and your bank's routing/transit number are masked by the UPIC, which is used in conjunction with the URT (Universal Routing/Transit) number. Only credits to your account can be initiated with a UPIC. All debits are blocked, increasing security and control.
2. Why would my customers want UPICs?
UPICs provide important benefits to your business customers:
- UPICs mask confidential banking information, reducing the risk of fraud while facilitating secure electronic payments.
- UPICs are restricted to credit payments, preventing unauthorized debits.
- UPICs remain with the customer regardless of banking relationships, making any change of bank or account transparent to trading partners.
3. Do UPICs require my customers or their trading partners to make system and / or process changes?
No, UPICs are used exactly like bank account numbers. Therefore, they work with your customer's current electronic payments processes and systems.
4. Can UPICs be used for direct debit?
No, the UPIC is a credit only payment method. Your customers must give their actual account information to the suppliers that they authorize for direct debits.
5. Who maintains the UPIC information?
Each financial institution is responsible for maintaining the bank account information in the UPIC database through daily updated.
6. Can UPICs be used to originate wire payments as well as ACH payments?
Initially UPICs will be used only for ACH payments.
7. Will the UPIC work in conjunction with my bank's routing number?
No, UPIC payments must be originated with the URT (Universal Routing/Transit) number. Payments originated with a UPIC and your bank's routing number will be returned.
8. Do I have to be a member of the Electronic Payments Network to issue UPICs?
Yes, only banks connected to and using the Electronic Payments Network (EPN) to process their ACH payments will be able to register for issuing UPICs. To find out more about EPN go to www.epaynetwork.com
9. What effort will it take to get set up to issue UPICs?
We tried to make the bank implementation of UPICs as easy as possible. The major steps are:
- Completing a UPIC bank registration form
- Establishing a line and connection to EPN via SwiftNet or Connect Direct
- Setting up bank administrator/user profiles and approvals on UPIC system
10. Who has access to my UPIC information?
Selected employees at your bank, who are authorized to maintain UPICs, have the ability to view and change information on your UPIC record. Other banks, if they have been given the UPIC number, have view-only access to a limited amount of non-sensitive UPIC information.
11. What kind of security and controls does the UPIC database have?
Only participating banks can connect to the UPIC database, through a dedicated and secure data line. Users are authenticated and all messages are encrypted.
12. How are UPICs transferred between banks when customer's change banking relationships?
The new or receiving bank initiates the UPIC transfer with proper written authorization from the customer and information as to the old or releasing bank account information. The UPIC system checks to make sure all information matches and alerts the releasing bank, who then has a period of time to contest the transfer. If a transfer is contested the written customer documentation must be provided.