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Five ways to skyrocket your Direct Debit take up rates

Our merchants often ask us: “What level of Direct Debit uptake can I expect from my customers?”

The answer is, well, it depends!

Here we outline five simple ways to increase the take up of Direct Debit among your customers. Following these best practices can mean a huge difference in take up rates - anything between 10% and 100% increase!

1. Sweeten the deal

The best way to increase take up rates is to offer a discount for choosing Direct Debit. Or why not consider charging for using other payment options, such as credit cards? They may cost you more to process anyway.

We’ve even seen some merchants offer free trials of their product for customers signing up to pay by Direct Debit.

2. Put Direct Debit first

If you prefer customers to pay by Direct Debit, make it the first option on your website’s payment page. Also, make sure customers can easily sign up to pay by Direct Debit both over the phone and in person (please note that phone and paper mandates are only available on GoCardless Pro).

We sometimes see merchants who prefer Direct Debit, remove other payment options altogether. Others offer alternatives to maintain flexibility for their customers, but introduce a barrier, such as sign up by phone only, not online, as a way to nudge customers towards Direct Debit.

3. Flexibility counts

GoCardless Pro offers your customers a wider range of sign up options. They can sign up online, using a paper mandate form, or over the phone. Other payment options don’t usually offer so much flexibility and convenience.

When migrating existing customers over to Direct Debit, we recommend emailing them a link to the online mandate form two or three times (including one or two reminders). The following month, your team can call to remind those customers that haven’t yet actioned your email.

4. Sell the dream!

Make sure you explain the benefits of Direct Debit to your customers. Tell them that they only need to set up Direct Debit once, with no further need to worry about actioning the payment again. This is very different to credit or debit cards, which can expire, or get lost or stolen. Direct Debit saves the customer time and hassle in the future.

5. Offer peace of mind

Direct Debit is one of the safest and most secure payment methods available. All transactions are covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee. This means customers can request an immediate refund of any Direct Debit payment taken from their account in error, simply by calling their bank and asking for it. You can’t get much better peace of mind than that.

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