in Announcements

Average customer response time halved in 12 months, thanks to new support centre

A little over a year ago, we announced the launch of our new support centre, in a drive to help customers find answers to their questions faster.

With these changes, not only can our users find answers to their questions more quickly and without having to get in touch with GoCardless, but those who do get in touch receive a greatly-improved service.

I’m delighted to share that since launching the support centre:

  • On average, we’re now responding to queries within 6 business hours; a huge improvement when compared with our previous 13-hour average.
  • Our response time SLA has reduced from two working days to one.
  • The average time it takes us to resolve a customer query has also greatly reduced.
  • The level of service we’re able to offer has become far more consistent.

Our efforts have gained us some recognition and I’m delighted to share that last week, the team picked up the award for Most Effective Self Service Initiative at the European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards (ECCCSAs).

Data-driven approach to improving support

It’s true to say that our customers are in the driving seat when it comes to improving the support we give, whether they realise it or not!

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Incident review: API and Dashboard outage on 10 October 2017

This post represents the collective work of our Core Infrastructure team's investigation into our API and Dashboard outage on 10 October 2017.

As a payments company, we take reliability very seriously. We hope that the transparency in technical write-ups like this reflects that.

We have included a high-level summary of the incident, and a more detailed technical breakdown of what happened, our investigation, and changes we've made since.

Summary

On the afternoon of 10 October 2017, we experienced an outage of our API and Dashboard, lasting 1 hour and 50 minutes. Any requests made during that time failed, and returned an error.

The cause of the incident was a hardware failure on our primary database node, combined with unusual circumstances that prevented our database cluster automation from promoting one of the replica database nodes to act as the new primary.

This failure to promote a new primary database node extended an outage that would normally last 1 or 2 minutes to one that lasted almost 2 hours.

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in Announcements, Business

GoCardless is one of UK’s fastest growing tech companies in Deloitte Fast 50

The GoCardless team celebrates being named in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50

We’re thrilled to be recognised as one of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies for the second year running, in Deloitte’s 2017 UK Technology Fast 50.

GoCardless came in 8th place overall, with a growth rate of 2097% over the last four years. We were the third fastest-growing fintech business, after betting exchange business Smarkets and our close friends and GoCardless customer, Receipt Bank.

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in Announcements

Changes to email security for Pro merchants

We launched GoCardless Pro back in 2014 to give merchants more control over their customer experience, making it possible to guarantee your business name appearing on customers' bank statements, build your own Direct Debit mandate setup flow and have more control over notifications sent to customers.

Direct Debit schemes require that you send customers "advance notice", letting them know when payments will leave their account. Merchants on the Pro package can send these themselves, or have GoCardless send clean, unbranded and compliant notifications on their behalf.

Most of our merchants choose to use GoCardless' built-in notifications, making it quicker to get up and running and avoid worries about compliance.

Until now, if you were on Pro, we've sent these notifications so they appear to come from your email address, as well as displaying your name in the "From" header. We also set the "Reply To" so that replies from your customers with queries or questions go directly to you.

This is how emails currently look to your customers.

What's changed?

Since we built this functionality three years ago, a lot has changed in the email security landscape, particularly with the growing popularity of DomainKey Identified Mail (known as DKIM) which makes it more difficult to send emails that look like they come from someone else - often called "spoofing".

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in Announcements

GoCardless named ‘Xero App Partner of the Year’ at Xerocon London

We’re overjoyed to share the news that GoCardless has been named ‘Xero App Partner of the Year’ at this year’s Xerocon London awards ceremony!

We were up against some stiff competition in the Xero App Partner category from our friends at Futrli, Receipt Bank and Movemybooks, so we’re over the moon to have been handed this award by Xero founder, Rod Drury, and Xero MD, Gary Turner.

Our sincere thanks go out to everyone who’s supported our new and improved GoCardless for Xero integration in 2016 – you’ve made it a fantastic journey, and very special thanks must go to our partners at Directli and at Xero HQ. Thank you so much.

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Announcing $22.5m in new funding to build our global payments network

On the back of our record annual growth in the UK and strong traction in new markets, we’re excited to announce that we’ve raised $22.5m from Accel, Balderton Capital, Notion Capital and Passion Capital. We will use this new round of funding to accelerate our creation of the first global bank-to-bank payments network.

Our payments network solves a universal problem; how to bring together recurring payment solutions that remain fragmented across countries. In the past, most businesses using these solutions were domestic, with no need for international reach.

But in our increasingly globalised world this situation is no longer viable, especially with the dramatic growth of global subscriptions and SaaS platforms. As a growing number of businesses go global, they face endless frustrations in managing payments across multiple territories.

GoCardless has the perfect head start to solving one of the financial world’s most enduring challenges. We’ve engineered a way to simply plug recurring payments into existing systems across the world, so businesses can focus on the issues that really matter.

Our users are already collecting payments across the UK, Eurozone and Sweden. Australia and Denmark are coming soon, with more to follow. Over the coming months and years, our mission is to enable businesses around the world to process recurring payments from anywhere, to anywhere - in any currency.

This new funding round is not our only key milestone this year. We now process more than $4bn worth of transactions a year, across more than 30,000 organisations in the UK and Europe.

Our existing partnerships are flourishing, with QuickBooks, Xero and Zuora along with many others, and we’ve just announced a new partnership with Sage.

I’m very excited about our next steps and proud of the hard work we’ve already done to get this far. Our ongoing success is thanks to our incredibly loyal and supportive users, both in the UK and further afield.

Going forward, we plan to use the knowledge we’ve gained in the UK and across Europe to solve a major challenge that affects businesses collecting payments globally. In the process, we’ll be taking another step closer to achieving our vision of building a global payments network for the internet.

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in Announcements

Five SaaSy highlights at SaaStock 2017

GoCardless at SaaStock

It’s that time of year again; when the movers and shakers of the SaaS world come together to explore the best and brightest developments in the field.

SaaStock has quickly become the most important gathering of global SaaS companies in Europe, enabling the SaaS community to learn from one another.

This year, Team SaaStock is bringing 1500 founders, VCs and execs together in beautiful Dublin to learn how to build a category leading B2B SaaS business, while networking and having fun at the same time.

GoCardless is one of the event sponsors, so we’ve put together a run-down of our top five unmissable highlights coming up at SaaStock 2017. They include our selection of most hotly anticipated talks, panels, and social events. We hope to see you there!

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in Announcements, Business

Removing obstacles to Direct Debit bulk changes: action by the regulator

The UK’s Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has just announced a public consultation on whether Bacs should be required to change its Direct Debit rules.

Currently, organisations not sponsored by a Bacs member can use Direct Debit providers/bureaus to maintain Direct Debit payments on their behalf. This includes providers that manage the money flows, as well as the setting up of the Direct Debits themselves (known as FM providers, of which GoCardless is one).

Under current rules, an organisation can request that an outgoing FM provider transfers over all existing Direct Debit mandates to a new provider, known as the bulk change process, but the outgoing FM provider is under no obligation to meet that request.

After almost two years of lobbying, our regulator (the PSR, part of the FCA) has drawn a number of preliminary conclusions, and has set out its intention to require Bacs to implement a rule change. This will ensure bulk changes can’t be blocked by outgoing providers.

Why are bulk changes refused?

Some Direct Debit providers won’t allow their customers to bulk change to GoCardless - for no good reason. This is bad for merchants, their customers, and the industry as a whole. Since late 2015, our legal team, armed with evidence and insights from our customers and support team, has been working hard to bring this unfair and anti-competitive practice to an end.

PSR public consultation

GoCardless initially raised the issue with the aforementioned providers, but with no luck. Having pursued the issue as far as possible with our sponsor bank, and Bacs themselves, we turned to the regulator. We first wrote to the Payment Systems Regulator in early 2016, setting out the issue, and our view of the impact on the payments ecosystem. That was followed by a series of meetings with the PSR and consultations by Bacs.

The PSR can require Bacs to implement a change to the scheme rules if it deems a change necessary to further the PSR's purposes: to promote the interests of users, to promote competition, and to promote innovation.

Therefore, following our meetings, we wrote a second letter to the PSR, asking them to consider requiring Bacs to implement a new rule for the Direct Debit scheme. This would make using the bulk change process mandatory if requested by the incoming Direct Debit provider, and the FM provider client (i.e. the merchant).

Changing the rules around switching

The result of this is the PSR's public consultation on switching Direct Debit FM provider. In summary, the PSR has provisionally agreed that the current regulations are unfair and inappropriate, and is looking to require Bacs to change the rules. This change will require existing Direct Debit FM provider to use the bulk change process unless certain exceptions apply.

We would urge all affected businesses, customers and Direct Debit providers to read and respond to the consultation. If you as a merchant experience any issues when trying to switch away from your current Direct Debit provider, please contact the PSR here.

Our view

"We believe that every business should be able to choose and move between payment providers freely. In fact, a process to enable efficient switching has existed for some time,” said our head of legal, Ahmed Badr.

“Unfortunately, we’ve encountered multiple instances of Direct Debit providers exploiting a loophole in the scheme rules that allows them to effectively prevent clients switching to a new provider.” he continued.

“This leaves clients stuck using a less than ideal service against their will, stifling competition and innovation in the process.

"At GoCardless, we see no justification for these exploitative practices and fundamentally believe they shouldn’t be allowed. In 2017, business customers expect the same choice and freedom of movement as they have in their personal banking lives.

"We took this issue up with the PSR almost two years ago, so are happy to see them publishing a public consultation. We urge all affected businesses, customers and direct debit providers to read and respond to it."

Our commitment

We commit in our Merchant Agreement, and have done for some time, to helping you - our customers, switch providers, including through the use of the bulk change process, if you choose to do so. We're confident you won't want to.

Find out more about bulk changes
Check out our guide
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