Growing our payments network: next stop, Denmark

Last month we announced our launch in Australia, this month we’ve turned our attention to Scandinavia and are excited to announce that we can now take payments via Danish Direct Debit.

It’s another step towards our mission of creating a global bank to bank payments network and takes the the number of Direct Debit schemes that we offer to 5 (covering 23 countries), with lots more in the pipeline.

The Denmark launch means our customers in Europe or Australia can now take Krone-denominated payments from Danish customers.

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GoCardless and Danish Direct Debit
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GoCardless goes down under - collect payments in Australia

We’re really excited to announce that you can now collect payments from Australia with GoCardless. The launch means our customers can now take payments from 24 countries and it brings us one step closer to delivering a global bank to bank payments network.

We have heard from many of you that Australia is an important existing or new market for your business, so we’re really looking forward to supporting you and your customers.

We think Direct Debit is the perfect solution for collecting payments, and it seems that customers in Australia agree; almost 36% of non-cash transactions were made through Direct Debit* in 2017, with trends indicating that this number will grow in 2018.

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Our role as a data controller and what it means for you

In February we wrote about our commitment to the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Under GDPR, businesses must operate as either a data processor or a data controller. In this blog, we explain GoCardless’ status as a data controller - and what that means for our customers.

As part of our preparation for GDPR, we have looked carefully at how we process data relating to customers who pay companies through GoCardless (‘end customers’).

From that analysis and taking into account UK and EU-wide regulator guidance, industry practice and legal advice, we've determined that we act as a data controller in respect of end customers (like many others in the payments space, including Square, PayPal and Visa members).

Ultimately, being a data controller means we have an even greater responsibility to protect your customers’ data - and we are directly liable to data protection authorities in relation to all obligations under the GDPR.

Data controller vs data processor

Under GDPR, businesses must comply as either data processor or data controller, in relation to specific data.

  • Data processors process personal data on behalf of the controller, but they don’t decide the purpose (the ‘why’) or the means (the ‘how’).

  • Data controllers determine the purpose of the processing and the means to achieve that purpose. Essentially they decide why and how the processing should take place.

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GoCardless and GDPR
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Our approach to testing

To ensure that we keep building the best payment solution for you & your customers, GoCardless will be testing ways to improve areas of our product. Sometimes when we run a test a small number of your customers may see a slightly different experience.

Why?

Payer experience is an extremely important part of both our business & yours. We want to help more and more of your customers to pay you through GoCardless.

We’re continually researching and developing ways to make our product better for you, such as looking at how we make it easier for your customers to use our payment pages, so more of them end up paying you using GoCardless. Part of this research process involves testing with real customers to help us make informed decisions using data.

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in Announcements, Business

Protecting our customers’ data: GDPR and the GoCardless Privacy Programme

Protecting our customers’ data is a priority for GoCardless. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in May, we welcome the opportunity to deepen our commitment in the area of data privacy.

We are making changes to our policies, processes, products and systems to ensure that we comply with the Regulation and continue to put data protection first. We’re also committed to helping our customers meet their requirements under the Regulation.

GDPR: A new data privacy landscape

Advances in technology over the last decade have led to the proliferation of personal data. More organisations are sharing and collecting different types of personal data than ever before: from IP addresses through to health data, purchasing behaviour, viewing preferences and more.

  • From 25 May 2018, organisations who handle personal data will need to meet new legal requirements, as the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect across the EU (replacing the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive).
  • On the same day, the UK’s Data Protection Bill will pass into law, as the Data Protection Act 2018, effectively implementing the GDPR into UK law.

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GoCardless and GDPR
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in Announcements, Business

New Bacs Direct Debit rules make it easier for customers to switch provider

We’re delighted to share news that Direct Debit providers can no longer stop customers from switching to another provider, thanks to changes in the Direct Debit scheme rules, announced by Bacs on 10 November and supported by the UK Payment Systems Regulator (PSR).

We believe that every business should be able to move between payment providers freely, so we’re delighted that Bacs is making these rule changes, which GoCardless has campaigned for since 2015.

What is changing?

Under the old rules, companies who processed Direct Debit on behalf of merchants (sometimes known as Facilities Management or ‘FM providers’), could request that an outgoing Direct Debit provider transfer across all of a customer’s existing Direct Debit mandates to them, known as the bulk change process. However, the outgoing FM provider was under no obligation to meet that request.

The new rules, which take effect from January 2018, require all FM Direct Debit providers using the Bacs Direct Debit scheme to be certified by Bacs. As part of that certification, FM providers must commit to use the bulk change process.

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10 questions to ask your Direct Debit provider
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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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