Announcing the launch of GoCardless Plus

We’re excited to announce our new service plan - GoCardless Plus.

With Plus, when you collect payments from your customers, your name stays at the forefront of their minds.

When using GoCardless Standard, customers see ‘GoCardless Ltd’ on their bank statements, followed by a mandate reference which includes your company name. However, only some banks display the second part of the reference we provide.

GoCardless Plus gives you your own Service User Number (SUN) for Bacs or Creditor Identifier (CID) for SEPA. Your customers will always see your business name on their bank statements, every time a payment is collected from their account on your behalf.

The benefits of this include:

  • Reduced customer and payment churn - Because your customers can clearly see who is collecting payments, they’re less likely to cancel their Direct Debit mandates. GoCardless merchants with their own SUN see 30% fewer cancelled mandates than those using a general GoCardless SUN.
  • Reduced chargebacks - Your customers will recognise charges instantly, meaning they’re less likely to charge payments back.
  • Strengthening your brand - Having your business name appear on customer bank statements conveys a greater sense of professionalism and security, while reinforcing customer perceptions of your brand.

At first, we’ll operate a waiting list for all merchants interested in Plus. New applications to Plus will be processed from that waiting list. We hope to process most applications within weeks, subject to demand.

Partner integrations and Plus

Plus is currently available to merchants using our dashboard directly. For merchants using our partner integrations, we’ll be enabling Plus through our partners very soon.

New to GoCardless and interested in Plus?

If you haven't yet signed up to GoCardless, simply head to our website and sign up for an account. Select ‘GoCardless Plus’ from the account setup options and follow the steps to be added to the waiting list for Plus.

While you’re on the waiting list, you can start taking payments immediately using Standard. When we upgrade you we’ll automatically move your mandates and payments over to Plus. We’ll be in touch as soon as your account is ready to be upgraded from Standard to Plus.

Already using GoCardless Standard?

If you’re already using GoCardless Standard and would like to upgrade to Plus, you can be added to the waiting list by clicking Settings in the top right of your dashboard and selecting Company Info. You'll see a section titled Select Package. Simply hit the Edit button on the right to open this section and follow the steps.

In the meantime, you can continue using GoCardless Standard as usual. We’ll automatically transfer your mandates and payments when we upgrade your account.

For more information about GoCardless Plus, please visit our support centre.

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GoCardless launches a new integration with ChartMogul

We’re excited to announce ChartMogul as our latest integration.

This is great news for those of you who are already using GoCardless to take payments for your subscription business. You can now use the power of the ChartMogul analytics platform to measure results, understand data and grow your business.

ChartMogul helps you build a better subscription business using data.

It uses critical metrics like Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR), Churn Rate and Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) for measuring recurring revenue growth and understanding customers. ChartMogul measures and tracks these (and more) in real time. Additionally, tools like Cohort Analysis and Segmentation enable you to make informed decisions towards growth.

The ChartMogul integration imports your GoCardless data and keeps it in sync. This opens up access to all the powerful ChartMogul reporting and analytics features, including:

  • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
  • Churn rates
  • Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
  • Segmentation
  • Cohort analysis
  • Geo-mapping

To get even more insights from your GoCardless subscription data, you can connect many other tools, such as Zapier, to your ChartMogul account. These allow you to perform a wide range of useful tasks on your GoCardless data, such as creating and measuring advanced customer segments.

Get started with GoCardless and ChartMogul

If you already have a ChartMogul account, here’s how to connect your GoCardless account to ChartMogul. If you don’t yet have a ChartMogul account, you can sign up for a free trial first before connecting your GoCardless account.

GoCardless customers can save $600 on their first year of ChartMogul's subscription analytics product. This offer is valid on any ChartMogul plan. Just use coupon code gocardlesspromo during checkout and sign up by 31st March 2017.

Gain deeper insights into your payments data
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We team up with QuickBooks to help small businesses get paid faster

Success for small businesses in the UK is more elusive than ever these days thanks to a weakened pound and intense competition in all markets.

Thousands of the UK’s small and medium enterprises have told us that managing cashflow is a constant struggle. In some cases it can take up to 13 days for an invoice to get paid.

Cashflow is the lifeblood for any organisation, so waiting a fortnight for payment can wreak havoc on a company’s finances. Time spent chasing late-paying customers could instead be used for growing the business.

GoCardless has joined forces with QuickBooks to help small business owners reclaim those 13 lost days, while providing a new way to increase cashflow. This in turn allows for better insight and decision making.

By teaming up with QuickBooks, we can remove the burden of small businesses chasing clients for payment. The integration with QuickBooks allows payment to be taken directly from the client’s account on the day stated on the invoice. This significant change means that businesses can slash the amount of time they spend trying to improve their cashflow.

“Our partnership with QuickBooks brings accounting and payments together into one powerful platform. The integration empowers SMEs, enabling them to manage all their invoicing and Direct Debit payments in one place, saving them significant time and money so they can focus on growing their business,” said Hiroki Takeuchi, GoCardless CEO and co-founder.

For both GoCardless and QuickBooks, saving precious time for businesses is of utmost importance. Setting up Direct Debit payments in QuickBooks with GoCardless couldn’t be easier. What’s more, reconciling becomes a breeze as Direct Debit payments are automatically brought in and categorised on the QuickBooks platform.

“We’re delighted to work with GoCardless to bring Direct Debit functionality to QuickBooks. As a leading UK-based payments company, GoCardless will significantly reduce the time it takes for small businesses to get paid, which is critical to any business’ success,” said Dominic Allon, Vice President and Managing Director, Intuit Europe.

GoCardless and QuickBooks believe that the combination of smart payments and online accounting will enable small businesses to evolve in new and exciting directions, supported by a more efficient and transparent way of getting paid.

Find out more about the partnership or get the app now.

Use GoCardless with QuickBooks to get paid on time, every time
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Bacs Processing Calendar 2017

It's that time of year again and we don't just mean Christmas. The Bacs Direct Debit 2017 processing calendar is now available, so you can easily check the dates when Bacs will process Direct Debit payment submissions in 2017. The calendar also shows which days Bacs won't process payments, bank holidays and weekends, so you can plan around that.

If you're using GoCardless, there's no need to plan your payments submissions with the Bacs processing calendar. We take care of submission dates for you and we'll automatically submit your payments to Bacs on the relevant day. This means you simply choose on which dates you'd like to charge your customers, and we'll do the rest.

Feel free to get in touch with us at [email protected] if you have any questions about the timing and scheduling of Bacs payments.

Looking to automate Direct Debit collection timings?
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in Business

Highlights of 2016 at GoCardless

2016 has been a rollercoaster of a year. Here at GoCardless HQ, we’ve certainly had an exciting time.

In this post, we look back at some of our most memorable moments from the year gone by - including big wins, things we’ve learned, new friends, and fun events - all infused with the usual dynamic GoCardless spirit.

We’ve hit some significant milestones this year, including reaching £1.5 billion of processing volume in July, and helping over 20,000 merchants every month to take payments more effectively. We’ve also ramped up our European operations, enabling even more customers to take payments across the eurozone.

In September, we launched a survey on the burgeoning subscriptions industry in our UK and European markets, aiming to find out what people thought of the various different payment methods. The results showed an outstanding victory for Direct Debit, especially in the UK, which was great news for us too!

A couple of months later we entered the prestigious Deloitte Fast50 Awards - and won first place in the fintech category, and second place overall out of 50 of the UK’s fastest-growing companies. Then, just weeks later, we reached the top ten of the Deloitte Fast 500 EMEA Awards, which have a more global focus - honouring the best innovators in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

As well as working hard, here at GoCardless we’ve also been playing hard. We surpassed ourselves by throwing two rounds of the fantastic Quarterly Report bash for our friends in tech and beyond, and also had a very enjoyable time at the GoCardless Christmas party.

So once again it’s time to hand over the spotlight to our amazing people, to let them explain exactly why 2016 at GoCardless was rather awesome.

Cleaning up with Customer Success

We helped Peterborough City Council streamline their recently-introduced garden waste tax, providing easy online payments to make the controversial new charges easier for residents to handle. Residents no longer needed to worry about making payments on time - and the lower processing costs helped the city council to manage their budget more effectively. Everyone’s a winner!

Engineering & Product

Connecting to our Partners

Just recently we launched a one-stop shop for all our partner integrations. This highlights the fantastic range of useful GoCardless integrations currently available - and we’ll regularly update it as we add even more over the coming months.

Improving the Developer Experience

“We launched our new developer site, as we wanted to make the experience for developers getting started with our API as good as possible. We want to guide people through in the language they’re using.

“It was especially great working with users of our API to get feedback on the content we were writing, bringing them into the office and getting them to run through the drafts (and sending them GoCardless swag as a thank you!) We’ve had great feedback and more people than ever are getting started with our API”

-- Tim, Engineering

Diving into DevOps

Back in November we kicked off the new GoCardless DevOps Event Series with our first DevOps event, The Insider Talks. Our very own Chris Sinjakli presented "Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Postgres in Production at GoCardless" and Simon Vans-Colina presented "DevOps at Monzo". The event was a resounding success and we’re hoping to host many more in 2017.

ISO27001 certified

“This year we were awarded ISO 27001 certification, a widely recognised, internationally accepted standard for information security. This will be reassessed annually by an independent auditor. Having ISO 27001 certification helps assure our merchants and their customers that we take security and business continuity management seriously.”

-- Nick, Engineering

Big things happening in Sales

“For me it was launching with Sage. They are one of the biggest tech companies to ever come out of the UK and it's fantastic to add such a big name to our ever growing list of clients.”

-- George, Sales

“We doubled the size of our UK sales team. We also created a useful process for cracking new verticals on a mass scale, focusing on our work with the local government and Peterborough City Council in particular.“

-- Mia, Sales

Newsletters and newborns in Marketing

“My highlights were being involved with the launch of the GoCardless newsletter, plus co-ordinating a successful events calendar for 2016. Also, getting married and having Forrest be one of the GoCardless babies of 2016!”

-- Ross, Marketing

All-new integrations in Partnerships

“For me it had to be launching several new integrations, including GoCardless for Quickbooks, a new version of GoCardless for Xero, along with Chargebee and WooCommerce.”

-- Josh, Partnerships

Success at South Summit in Spain

“Nobody could resist GoCardless swag in our first ever Spanish event. Even the main politicians of Madrid wanted to wear our jackets!”

-- Alfonso, Global

Brand new Customer Support Centre

Mid September saw the launch of the brand new GoCardless Support Centre, offering significant improvement on our previous FAQs page.

"We’re really excited about the potential of our new support centre for making our product and service knowledge base easily accessible and readily available for our merchants and their customers. We’ve got many more great ideas up our sleeves for improvements and will be continuing to add more content throughout 2017."

-- James, Support

Winning at Dodgeball London

“The GoCardless team won the Dodgeball London quarterly tournament!”

-- Steve and Alex

Party Central at GoCardless

Quarterly Report

We invited our friends, partners and customers old and new from London's tech community for a civilised social gathering over cocktails, music, and stacks and stacks of pizza!

Cocktail-making, cookie-baking

2016 was sprinkled with assorted team events, ranging from cocktail-making to cookie baking, proper cooking lessons, white-water rafting, BBQing in the park, zapping each other at laser tag - along with numerous opportunities for the GoCardless team to go out for dinner and drinks together.

Putting on the Ritz with our French team

The folks at Koala Telecom, one of our French merchants, were so delighted with the GoCardless product that they took us out to tea at the Ritz. Well one of us anyway. For the lucky recipient, Côme, in the France inbound sales team, that was definitely his highlight of 2016.

Overall, 2016 has been a successful, productive and, most of all, fun year at GoCardless. Here’s to an even better 2017! We wish everyone a very happy new year.

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GoCardless among top 10 innovators at the Deloitte Fast 500 EMEA Awards

It was only a few weeks ago that we at GoCardless were busy celebrating our outstanding performance in the recent Deloitte Fast 50. We’re delighted to announce another big success.

Last night, GoCardless reached the top 10 of the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA awards, presented in Paris.

In this competition the stakes were much higher than before. We were up against a diverse range of cutting-edge tech companies from all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa. So it was a significant achievement for us to make it to tenth place in the overall ranking, putting us in the top 10.

“We’re really excited to see our achievements recognised internationally as well as in the UK,” said Robert Whiteside, GoCardless.

“It was fitting to receive the award in the Eiffel Tower, itself created by one of the greatest innovators of his age, while being surrounded by the world’s most exciting 21st century innovators.

“At GoCardless we’ve been privileged to help great businesses get off the ground and scale, and in turn grow with them to such an extent that we’re recognised as a leader in our peer group, both within the UK and further afield.”

The Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA programme is an objective industry ranking that recognises the fastest-growing technology companies in EMEA over the past four years. It’s supported by the various Deloitte Technology Fast 50 initiatives, ranking high-growth technology companies by specifically defined geographic area.

Now in its sixteenth year, the 2016 programme included 28 countries and companies with growth rates from 212 percent to 28,126 percent. This year’s winners were selected based on percentage fiscal-year revenue growth from 2012 to 2015.

In the 2016 Fast 500 final ranking, the overall winner was Swedish software company Fingerprint Cards, which produces user-friendly biometric fingerprint solutions for use in securing electronic items. Fingerprint Cards had an impressive growth of 28126%. Congratulations!

GoCardless shares the top ten with one other UK company, Brain Labs Digital, the UK winner, taking fifth place in the ranking. Overall, the Fast 500 top ten represents a wide range of countries and diversity within the tech scene, including Israel, France, Sweden, Turkey, Norway, Poland, Austria and of course the UK.

We hope to take on the Fast 500 challenge once again in 2017, achieving more growth and the chance to rank even higher next time!

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in Business

GoCardless helps Bacs break new records

Bacs broke new records recently when it processed the staggering figure of 109.3 million payments in just one day. The figure, achieved in September, overtakes the previous daily high of 103.7 million transactions, recorded in April, and represented an increase of 5.4%.

Thanks to this achievement, Bacs already looks set to overtake the figures it set in 2015, when over 6 billion transactions were processed for the first time, reaching a value of £4.6 trillion. That included an impressive 3.9 billion Direct Debits, an increase of 239 million compared to the previous year. Bacs (short for Bacs Payment Schemes Limited) is the organisation behind Direct Debit, the popular UK payment system.

Direct Debit has played a key role in enabling the success of Bacs, with its continuing popularity in the UK certain to have boosted the organisation’s growth. Latest figures show that 9 out of 10 adults in the UK have at least one active Direct Debit and pay around 73% of their household bills using this payment method.

The success of Bacs and Direct Debit spells good news for the cutting-edge payments solutions that are now supporting them, such as the Direct Debit payment system offered by GoCardless. As the UK’s number one Direct Debit provider, it’s interesting to consider where we fit into this.

We’re not only simplifying Direct Debit for businesses large and small, but we’re also supporting the growth of Bacs as we go. In fact, between April and September 2016, we increased our volume of Direct Debit transactions processed by 36% - contributing to the overall 5.4% that Bacs managed to achieve. Pretty impressive, if we do say so ourselves!

Direct Debit has been around for many years. In fact, it’s the UK’s favourite payment method with its usage continuing to grow. Direct Debit has gained such a strong reputation in part because customers are protected by the reliable Direct Debit Guarantee. Direct Debit is also very simple to set up - with money is taken automatically from your account on the specified day. There’s no need to update your details, unlike when using credit and debit cards.

Bacs CEO Michael Chambers sees the great results of Bacs and Direct Debit as a vote of confidence in “simple, reliable and convenient solutions for users”, which form an integral part of the UK’s financial infrastructure.

At GoCardless, we’re playing our part in supporting the UK’s innovative payments environment, while also helping Direct Debit to grow and flourish. In particular, we’ve opened up access to Direct Debit for many small businesses that couldn’t use it before. At the same time, we’re offering customers such as Vax and Thomas Cook a new way for their customers to pay - in convenient instalments.

The future looks bright for Direct Debit, which has consistently proven its worth as a reliable, safe and convenient payment method.

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in Business

GoCardless recognised as UK's fastest growing FinTech company in Deloitte Fast50

We’re thrilled to announce that GoCardless took first place in the fintech sector in the prestigious UK Fast 50 Awards. We were also awarded second place overall. Our growth rate was an impressive 6661%!

Robert Whiteside, our VP of Sales, said: “We’re so pleased to recognise the hard work done by the team over the years to build a great solution that our customers love using.

“It’s exciting to see that you can take a proven and popular payment method like Direct Debit and make it fit for the digital age, unlocking so much potential for our merchants who are working hard to bring modern solutions to the market. We’ve been privileged enough to help great businesses get off the ground and scale, and in turn grow with them to such an extent that we’re recognised as a leader in our peer group.”

The Fast 50 awards are a fixture in the UK technology arena, having been around for almost two decades. Deloitte launched the award programme in 1998, to recognise growth driven by the leading technology companies. Today, the awards celebrate the UK’s finest examples of innovation and entrepreneurship. Now in its 19th successful year, the Fast 50 is an acknowledgement of the UK’s 50 fastest-growing companies, with rankings based on revenue growth over the previous four years.

In the fintech industry, GoCardless, Smarkets, KANTOX and WorldRemit reached the top ten of the Fast 50. Overall, the 50 top companies generated £884 million in total annual revenue in the year 2015/16, employed more than 7,100 people and recorded an average four-year growth rate of 1,240%.

Previous Fast 50 winners have included companies of all sizes from across the UK, including some of the country’s most dynamic players. Between them, the companies focus on many diverse areas of technology, including specialists in fintech, biotech, digital media technology, life sciences, software and telecommunications.

As this award win demonstrates, our success is due not only to an innovative product that solves pressing business problems, but also to our genuine commitment to making GoCardless a great place to work and do business with.

We’re very excited about our plans to expand both domestically and internationally over the next few years. Our vision is to turn payments into one less barrier to doing business with anyone, anywhere in the world.

We're building a new global bank-to-bank payments network.
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What’s the deal with PSD2?

If you’ve been following any conversations on payments or fintech, you’ve probably heard about ‘PSD2’. It’s applicable from January 2018 and there’s been a lot of discussion about all the changes it could bring, but what exactly is PSD2?

First, let’s take a step back. The first Payment Services Directive (PSD) came into force in 2009. The Directive was developed by the European Commission and then transposed into national law by each of the Member States. The aims of that first Directive were to:

  • Create an integrated payments market across the EU and encourage competition and innovation
  • Create a new category of regulated firms that could provide payment services
  • Establish a set of rights and obligations that apply both to payments providers and to consumers

Many companies, including GoCardless, took advantage of the opportunities PSD presented for new players to provide innovative payment services and to expand across the EU.

Since then, there have been changes across the market and brand new services have launched that the first PSD doesn’t cover. The regulators have also seen a need for stronger consumer protections and want to encourage even greater innovation. This has led to the development of PSD2, also known as the Revised Payments Services Directive.

Ok, so how does PSD2 differ from the first PSD?

There are several updates and changes, though the core of PSD2 remains similar to the first PSD. Key additions include:

  • The creation of two new categories of payment services (Payment Initiation Services and Account Information Services) which mean that providers of these services will need to be authorised
  • Changes to the types of providers and payment services that will be exempt, to create greater consistency across the EU
  • Common and secure standards of communication between the various parties to an electronic payment
  • Requirements for ‘Strong Customer Authentication’ for account access, electronic payment and remote communications
  • A ban on surcharging for the vast majority of card payments

Isn’t it all about APIs?

You’ve probably heard quite a bit about open banking APIs and the potential impact they will have on the market. Banks and other payment account providers must allow third parties (with customer consent!) to access their accounts and account data. In practice, this means that some form of open API will probably be needed across the market and the European Banking Authority (EBA) has been tasked with developing the common and secure standards that will apply.

This will enable consumers and businesses to use innovative services to initiate payments and better manage their finances. For example, businesses collecting payments may be able to check a payer’s account for funds before a payment is initiated, leading to reduced failures. Consumers might use an account information service provider to see all their finances at a glance in real time, with information pulled directly from their accounts.

Will my data be protected when it’s shared?

Of course, access to financial data requires protection. PSD2 outlines requirements for ‘Strong Customer Authentication’ (SCA). Account providers will need to make sure that account data is only accessed by Trusted Third Parties (TTPs) with the explicit consent of customers according to the requirements of SCA. Remote electronic payments (i.e. those taken through mobile or the internet) will also be subject to SCA.

When is all this happening?

Banks, regulators and payment service providers are working on implementing these changes as we speak. There is a lot to coordinate and the technical standards for these changes are still being hammered out. The EBA is due to deliver its recommendations by 13 January 2017.

We expect that some banks are ahead of the curve and providers such as ourselves will be able to test out their APIs soon, while others may take longer to launch.

However, PSD2 is just one driver for change in this area. Separately, UK regulators have been leading a project to open up access to banking services and stimulate competition through innovation. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK recently mandated the largest nine banks to create open APIs by early 2018, and the UK's Payment Systems Regulator is keen for this open access to be rolled out more widely, so the UK may be the first market where we see significant change.

What does this mean for me?

Most of the changes will be happening behind the scenes, so consumers and businesses will mainly see new products launch, as well as improvements to the services they already use. There’s lots of talk about how the opening up of data could help provide greater access to finance while also enabling the development of better financial products tailored to customer needs. More tangibly, you may see the way you authorise payments online change to be compliant with SCA.

Some of the items coming out of PSD2 (like SCA) are significant topics in their own right. We’re paying close attention to them. GoCardless is well positioned to take advantage of the changes taking place and leverage these opportunities to make collecting payments online even easier and more secure. Stay tuned!

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in Business

What does Europe think of Direct Debit for subscription payments?

Back in September, GoCardless launched a UK-wide survey focusing on the popular subscriptions industry. We wanted to explore what members of the public thought about the various payment methods used to pay for subscription services. With the rapid rise of subscription services in the UK for everything from magazines to bacon, we thought this was an unmissable opportunity!

The results confirmed our suspicions - the UK loves Direct Debit. Despite its advanced age, the popular payment method is still the country’s most trusted choice. But our curiosity didn’t stop at the UK border. As GoCardless is a European payment provider covering Bacs, SEPA and Autogiro, we wanted to bring in essential insights from our key markets in France, Germany, Sweden and Spain.

So, do subscription customers in Europe love Direct Debit as much as those in the UK do?

We commissioned YouGov to survey the state of subscriptions payments in these four European markets. Like last time, we wanted to know how comfortable people were with using different payment methods to pay for their digital or physical subscriptions. This could be any product or service for which they pay a regular monthly fee.

The research produced some intriguing results about the state of subscriptions payments across Europe.

Subscriptions in France

Direct Debit: Just as in the UK market, Direct Debit performed very well in survey results among French consumers. Almost one third of those surveyed - 29% - reported feeling ‘very comfortable’ with using Direct Debit for subscription payments. In contrast, only 11% said they were ‘not at all comfortable’ with it.

Credit cards: Paying by credit card is not a popular option for French subscription customers. In fact, 39% of those surveyed rated it rock-bottom, as the payment method that they were ‘not at all comfortable’ with using. Only 8% said they were ‘very comfortable’ with credit card payments.

Debit cards: This was a fairly popular option among French subscription customers, with 28% claiming to be ‘very comfortable’ using debit cards for making recurring payments. Only 11% said they were ‘not at all comfortable’ with this method; a stark contrast to the results for credit cards. It looks like people feel more reassured knowing that their recurring payments are coming out of existing funds in their bank accounts, rather than from credit.

Subscriptions in Germany

Direct Debit: The results for Direct Debit among German consumers were more subdued than those in the other markets. 17% of respondents rated themselves ‘very comfortable’ paying by Direct Debit, but on the other hand 12% said they were ‘not at all comfortable’.

Credit cards: As in France, paying by credit card is not an especially popular option for German subscription customers. 22% of those surveyed said they were ‘not at all comfortable’ with paying by credit card. Only 11% said they were ‘very comfortable’ with credit card payments.

Debit cards: 16% of German respondents claimed to be ‘very comfortable’ using debit cards for making recurring payments. Only 14% said they were ‘not at all comfortable’. There’s not much to choose from between the two extremes here.

Subscriptions in Spain

Direct Debit: In Spain, our survey found that subscriptions consumers love Direct Debit almost as much as in the UK, with a large 31% reporting that they were ‘very comfortable’ using it. Only 10% said they were ‘not at all comfortable’ with using Direct Debit.

Credit cards: Both card-based payment methods fell somewhere in the middle, with 14% of respondents ‘not at all comfortable’ with credit cards, compared to 22% who said they were ‘very comfortable’.

Debit cards: Debit cards came out almost level with credit cards, scoring 12% of responsdents who were ‘not at all comfortable’, and 23% who said they were ‘very comfortable’.

Subscriptions in Sweden

Direct Debit: The biggest surprise of our research project was found in Sweden. Here, the popularity of Direct Debit blew all other payment methods away. An entire 37% of Swedish subscription users rated it the payment method they were most comfortable with. Only 10% of the respondents were ‘not at all comfortable’ with using it.

Credit cards: Among Swedish consumers, credit cards lag behind other payment methods, with only 20% of respondents saying they were ‘very comfortable’ in using them, while 19% were ‘not at all comfortable’.

Debit cards: Debit cards emerged as the second more popular payment method in Sweden, with 31% of respondents rating debit cards top, while only 8% rated them bottom.

What does all this tell us about the state of European subscription payments?

For subscription providers focusing on these European markets, there are clear differences that should be kept in mind in order to provide the most effective service tailored to specific market needs.

With GoCardless, you can manage all payments seamlessly, taking advantage of low fees, flexible timings and a fully-automated system. The sign-up process is quick and easy with no minimum term. We even integrate with popular accounting packages including Sage, QuickBooks and Xero.

Sign up now and start taking European subscription payments with GoCardless today.


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Xero and GoCardless: Getting you paid on time, every time

Are you using Xero online accounting to manage finances for your small business? If so, you’ll already be aware of how cloud accounting speeds up processes, automates your admin workload and helps you take control of key numbers.

Xero’s now got a new string to its bow: a direct integration with GoCardless via its new app. GoCardless for Xero offers automatic invoice payment and reconciliation. Now your Xero account can be linked straight to GoCardless, providing a fast, efficient way to collect invoice payments from customers with the absolute minimum of hassle.

That has a number of key benefits that will make your finances slicker, more streamlined and working hard for the long-term good of the business. And your customers will love how simple and straightforward it is – meaning you get paid faster!

1. Remove late payment issues while improving cash flow

Late payments can have a huge impact on small businesses. According to recent research, UK businesses with turnovers of under £1million are now waiting an average of 72 days for invoices to be paid.

Using GoCardless to collect your invoice payments by Direct Debit means you’re always paid on the invoice due date. No late payments, no time wasted chasing customers and no worries about the impact of aged debts building up in the business and affecting cash flow.

Cash-flow issues account for around half of all UK start-ups failing in their first five years. That’s mainly due to unstable payment revenues and the resulting lack of liquid cash to fund growth and keep the business in the black. So getting customers to pay you instantly and regularly through GoCardless will have a hugely positive impact on your cash flow.

2. Provide an easier way for customers to pay

Compared to many payment options, GoCardless is an incredibly simple and hassle-free solution for your customers. They can be signed up online in minutes, and need never worry again about missing a payment due date.

Unlike inflexible standing orders, Direct Debit never needs renewing and handles price changes, irregular invoice amounts and ad-hoc payments with ease. It’s the most convenient way for customers to pay – meaning you can add real value by offering GoCardless as an option.

3. Reconcile payments automatically

The average UK business spends 9 hours every week dealing with business banking. Much of this time will be spent on bank reconciliation – matching incoming customer payments to the invoices raised.

With Xero and GoCardless working in tandem, you not only have no chasing of payments to complete, you also have no reconciliation to worry about. GoCardless will automatically reconcile incoming payments to your Xero online invoices, saving hours of admin time – and keeping your Xero numbers 100% up-to-date while delivering real-time reporting.

4. Cost-effective payments solution

Software set-up costs and subscriptions can start to add up and eat into your profits. But with GoCardless, there are no more worries on this front.

Integrating GoCardless with your existing Xero account is totally free. Also, running the GoCardless Direct Debit solution to collect customer payments is a truly cost-effective option. You pay 1% of the total transaction fee, capped at £2, keeping costs down and bringing in steady, predictable income streams in the most productive way possible.

5. Fast and simple setup

Integrating GoCardless with Xero couldn’t be simpler.

  • Connect your Xero account to GoCardless. Simply create a GoCardless account, complete the ‘GoCardless for Xero’ online registration and your Direct Debit account will instantly appear on your Xero Dashboard, ready to take payment.
  • Set up your customers. Automatically (or manually) send a request to your customers and ask them to complete the online sign-up process to pay by Direct Debit.
  • Start collecting payments. collect your payments automatically on the invoice due date, straight into Xero – no more waiting for payments to arrive.
  • Automatic reconciliation. Your invoices will be reconciled, without you lifting a finger, and the GoCardless fee will be recorded as a fee straight to Xero.

For small businesses using Xero, signing up for GoCardless solves late payment, cash flow and reconciliation issues with one simple integration. Your customers will thank you for providing such an easy way to settle invoices by Direct Debit.

Use GoCardless with Xero to get paid on time, every time
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South Summit 2016: A big step for GoCardless in Spain

GoCardless was one of the lucky startups to attend South Summit, along with another 7100 entrepreneurs. For those not familiar with it, South Summit gathers the greatest innovations from Southern Europe and LATAM and connects them to the region’s biggest customers and investors. Get ready to hear about how GoCardless enjoyed the experience!

Day 1

08:00 Alfonso, Carles and Nicola get ready for the action

With an event like this on the horizon, getting up early is not so painful. We had our stand ready before the official doors were opened. The market place was our territory. It was the space where all the networking would occur and the meeting point for all the startups, corporate partners, accelerators and institutions. It was the place to be!

Alfonso Sainz de Baranda, our Country Manager in Spain, and Carles Marcos, Sales Development Representative for Spain, were the first to arrive and prepare everything for any early visitors. Of course, we displayed all our keychains, hats and jackets (they were the key to some major networking, but we’ll get there soon...)

09:00 South Summit starts!

South Summit’s president Maria Benjumea was responsible for the opening of the Main Arena where she told the excited crowd to make the most of the three upcoming days. Niklas Zennstrom, co-founder of Skype, followed her on stage to emphasise the importance of thinking big and thinking global. We were definitely onto that! But what mostly impacted us on that first morning, was what the cofounder of Linkedin, Allen Blue, said about small companies:

“When beginning a business you should focus on one thing at a time. Hundreds of things in our minds can cause stress and this will end up in the work not being done. It is important to delegate duties to people you trust.”

Inspiring as it was, we’re proud that GoCardless is on the right path to success knowing we can help each other.

11:30 We launch our jackets contest

To give GoCardless visibility and also have some fun with the visitors, we created a contest where people had to take a photo with our jacket. After taking the photo, they could then enter a raffle and win one of the five jackets we were giving away. Of course, everybody wanted one!

13:00 Time to network!

Our first morning at South Summit was definitely busy! Lots of friends, investors and other entrepreneurs approached us to talk about fintech and the role of GoCardless in this new revolution.

15:30 The fintech competition started

After lunch, we couldn’t miss the afternoon fintech competition. One of the most interesting talks was entitled “Revolutionising the banking system through APIs", where our VP of Marketing Nicola Anderson made us aware that from the customers’ experience we shouldn’t go wider but deeper. You can watch the whole talk in this video

18:00 End of the first day

The first day came and went faster than we would have wanted, but that meant we had an amazing time and we squeezed the most out of it! We did some last minute networking before heading back to rest and recharge our batteries for the next day.

Day 2

09:00 Round two!

The morning of the second day was tremendously eclectic. We spent most of it talking to press and doing some really amazing interviews. Spanish media were very interested in knowing how we work, so ‘busy’ is the word that best describes this day.

12:40 Learning how to expand a business

This was the moment for Alfonso to do his magic. The stage was ready to welcome our Country Manager to show everyone how to open new markets for startups. There were many highlights in this talk but we chose the three basics needed to open markets: skills, brains and plasticity.

16:00 GoCardless reached Ciudadanos

The afternoon couldn’t have been more exciting! Albert Rivera, president of the political party Ciudadanos, visited South Summit. We had the opportunity to talk to him and gave him one of our jackets. We can’t deny it - our jackets are stylish!

Day 3

09:00 This is the end

The end of South Summit was drawing near. We couldn’t be prouder of our presence there. We got to know lots of new people, had fun, made contacts and most importantly, made a name for ourselves in the Spanish fintech panorama. We would like to congratulate all of the winners of this impressive event and end this post by saying how excited we are about opening up new markets through Europe.

Oh yes, almost forgot - we nabbed the Mayor of Madrid and gave her one of our jackets too! ;)

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Moving to cloud accounting – the benefits for your business

When managing business finances, you want the processes to be effective and consistent – and to take up as little time as possible.

But if you’re still managing accounts using Excel spreadsheets, paper files or traditional desktop accounting software then you’re losing a huge amount of that potential productivity. Time-consuming data-entry, poor integration with your systems and hours messing around with complicated formulae all eat into the working day and stop you achieving your goals.

By moving to one of the new breed of cloud accounting platforms, you not only improve the efficiency of your processes, but also gain a whole raft of benefits that can only be achieved by using an online financial management solution.

So, what are these benefits? And why is cloud accounting such a positive move for the longer-term success of your organisation?

Cloud accounting as the ‘new normal’

Cloud accounting is rapidly gaining a foothold as the solution of choice for businesses that want an improved level of control over their finances.

Recent research by the Cloud Industry Forum showed that 38% of UK businesses are now using cloud-based accounting solutions, with that figure increasing to 46% for the small and medium-sized business market. CIF research also shows that 16% of surveyed businesses are looking to expand their use of cloud accounting over the next year.

But when we spoke to our GoCardless customers, we found that 38% of our business users don’t currently use any accounting software at all, creating a huge opportunity to improve your productivity and financial control by embracing cloud accounting.

  • Access anytime, anywhere – with online accounting you have 24/7 access to your accounts, wherever there’s an internet connection. So you can check your cash situation from the local coffee shop, or send an invoice from your front room. Real-time reporting and forecasting – live bank feeds, smart-scanning apps and automated data processing come together to deliver a 100% current, real-time overview of all your important finance information. And that’s a huge benefit when you’re looking at future business planning.

  • An integrated system built on business apps – cloud accounting platforms allow you to add apps and FinTech tools to customise the functionality of your systems. Connect to a live bank feed, scan in expenses or improve your reporting with your choice of apps.

  • A more efficient way to control your finances – intelligent automation completes your bank reconciliation, chases your outstanding invoices and takes payment in an instant. Get real control over your financial management and focus your time on customer relationships rather than admin.

  • Better collaboration with your accountant – instant shared access to your data, and the real-time reporting that cloud accounting delivers, make it easier to have a productive and forward-looking relationship with your accountant and advisers.

Integrating GoCardless with cloud accounting software

Your GoCardless solution integrates with all the major cloud accounting platforms. Whether you need simple bookkeeping functionality, or full-blown multi-company accounting, there’s an online accounting solution that fits your needs and keeps you fully connected with GoCardless as your payment collection option of choice.

For freelancers, micro businesses and sole traders, FreeAgent, Sage 50 and QuickFile are a good basic place to start your cloud accounting experience. If you’re a growing small business, then Xero, Kashflow, Clear Books or QuickBooks all offer great functionality and helpful integration with a range of business apps. If your business is more complex, with multiple subsidiaries and group structures, then the Netsuite accounting and ERP system has scope to grow alongside the organisation.

Whichever online accounting package is best suited to your business, GoCardless will remain fully integrated as your Direct Debit solution, with full integration that pulls payment data straight into your accounts.

  • A hassle-free Direct Debit solution.
  • Full integration with your accounting platform.
  • Flexible payments and pre-authorisation of amounts.
  • Automation of recurring invoices and cash collection.
  • Low cost – just 1% per transaction capped at £2.

If you’ve never considered cloud accounting, now’s the time to do so! Why not move to a more powerful, flexible and integrated system? It makes perfect sense.

Find out more or give our sales team a call on 020 7183 8674.

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GoCardless launches in Spain

The expansion of GoCardless is now reaching Spain. Since the beginning of the year, we've been gaining traction in Spain with new clients such as Geo Alternativa, Tallerator, Glovo, Doofinder, elTenedor and many more.

And now, our Spanish team will be sponsoring one of the most important Spanish Tech events, South Summit.

For all of you who speak Spanish... here's our first ever Spanish post. Hope you find it informative!

Cinco años consecutivos lleva celebrándose en Madrid el South Summit. El encuentro de los actores fundamentales del ecosistema emprendedor. Allí se dan cita startups, corporaciones, inversores e instituciones y por supuesto ¡nosotros no podíamos faltar! Durante los próximos días 5, 6, y 7 de octubre nos uniremos a esta grandísima iniciativa junto con otros más de 12.500 asistentes.

La innovación es in pilar clave de este encuentro, pero serán 7 verticales muy disruptivos los que despuntarán en la edición de este año: Fintech, Fashion & lifestyle, Health & Wellness, Food, Travel, Education, eFactory & Energy y Media & Entertainment; siendo el de fintech en el que nos centraremos.

Compartiremos espacio con grandes nombres del panorama fintech como Anthony Thompson de Atom Bank y Philippe Gelis, CEO y Co – Fundador de Kantox. Con ellos discutiremos sobre el cambio que necesitan los bancos a día de hoy. Un cambio drástico en su cultura corporativa que propiciará nuevos y distintos incentivos para poder seguir funcionando en el futuro. Pero ¿es esto posible? ¿Necesario? ¿Estamos viviendo el hundimiento de la banca tradicional? ¿Qué papel juegan las startups fintech en todo este movimiento?

Para responder a todas estas preguntas y a cualquier otra que pueda surgiros estaremos presentes durante toda la jornada del Summit con alguna sorpresa además preparada.

Además de en nuestro stand, podréis encontrarnos el miércoles día 5 a las 16:50 en el panel talk “Revolutionising the banking System through APIs”. Nuestra Chief Marketing Officer, Nicola Anderson, compartirá conocimientos con grandes nombres de la banca como BBVA, Raisin, PayPal. PayPlug y Ferrovial. Y en la ponencia del jueves 6 “How to go Global”, con Alfonso Sainz de Baranda, Country Manager en España.

La cita tendrá lugar en La N@ve. Un espacio que pretende convertirse en un centro de referencia dedicado a la innovación tecnológica y social y desde el cual estaremos retransmitiendo en todo momento lo ocurrido a través de nuestras redes sociales.

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How to avoid credit card fees with Direct Debit

Direct Debit could be the answer for businesses looking to avoid the increase in card processing fees after Visa removed its interchange cap earlier in September.

The change mainly affects garages, travel agents and other B2B businesses that accept customer payments by Visa debit card. Those merchants with Average Transaction Values (ATV) above £245 will be the most heavily affected.

This is not the first time Visa has made changes to its fee structure. In March 2015, the company changed its debit interchange rate from a fixed rate per transaction (8p for chip & pin) to an “ad-valorem” (% of transaction value) rate of 0.2% + 1p. This move created higher costs on all transactions above £35, particularly affecting merchants with higher value transactions.

But now that the new changes are in place, merchants are seeing significant increases in processing costs. For example, according to recent figures from CardSwitcher, a travel agent with a £500 – £1,000 transaction value would see their debit processing costs double or quadruple. A garage selling used cars at £5,000 – £10,000 would see their costs rocket by thousands of percent.

This is understandably a huge concern for merchants. So what can they do to mitigate the effect of these changes on their business? The folks at CardSwitcher advise the following -

  1. Find a new acquirer. They will all incur an uncapped cost of 0.2 %, but different acquirers will add different margins on top of this. It’s worth shopping around.

  2. Charge customers extra. This is understandably unpopular but it is becoming increasingly common, especially for credit card charges. At present, businesses are allowed to pass on their costs to the customer, but this may change in future as legislation brings in an outright ban on adding a surcharge to consumer debit and credit cards.

  3. Consider using another payment method. For affected businesses, the most logical response to this situation is probably to identify another payment method altogether - if your customers are happy to use them. Bank transfer is one idea, although this method lacks the chargeback protections that credit and debit cards benefit from.

For recurring payments, the tried and true method of Direct Debit is a top choice. According to recent survey results from YouGov, Direct Debit is the method that UK consumers feel most comfortable with.

With the rise of cutting-edge payment providers such as GoCardless, businesses can quickly and easily start using Direct Debit and get all their customers on board too. GoCardless helps merchants benefit from fully automated systems, real-time alerts and the ability to create flexible payment plans that precisely fit their customers’ individual needs.

Direct Debit offers an appealing alternative in these times of ever-increasing credit and debit card fees. By using GoCardless as your Direct Debit provider, your business can benefit from scalable transaction pricing between 2p and 60p, along with no set-up fees, hidden costs or minimum contract.

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Direct Debit flies ahead for UK subscriptions

Subscription services have really taken off in the UK in the last few years. With so many of us feeling increasingly squeezed for time, we take enthusiastic advantage of having our essentials delivered to our door, whenever we want them. Thanks to the internet age, busy people can now subscribe to all manner of products and services, from the traditional magazine and newspaper subscriptions to more random, slightly quirkier items such as underwear, makeup, or even bacon!

With all these subscriptions (and rashers of bacon) flying about, how do people usually pay for them? We at GoCardless were in a curious mood recently. So we decided to gather some opinions from across the country about how people prefer to pay for their favourite subscriptions. What we found out not only surprised us, but also encouraged us.

We commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey for us, exploring the UK’s favourite subscription payment methods. We wanted to know how comfortable people were with using different payment methods to pay for their digital or physical subscriptions. This could be any product or service for which they pay a regular monthly fee. Here’s what YouGov found out.

Out of the sample of 2,044 UK adults surveyed, Direct Debit emerged as the most popular payment method, which people felt most comfortable using. Direct Debit has been around for a long time and is considered old-fashioned by some. But nevertheless it’s also seen as reliable and well-trusted. In fact, it’s the UK’s favourite payment method and its usage continues to grow.

Direct Debit enjoys a strong reputation throughout the UK, especially because customers are protected by the reliable Direct Debit guarantee. On top of this, Direct Debit is also very simple to set up and involves no effort after the initial set-up - money is just taken automatically from your account on the specified day. Unlike credit and debit cards, there is no need to update your details.

To put the results in context, here’s a breakdown of how credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal fared against Direct Debit.

According to the data, credit cards were the method people were least comfortable with using to pay their subscriptions. A quarter of the sample said they were ‘not at all comfortable’ paying by credit card. Responses were measured on a scale of 0–10, with 0 being ‘not at all comfortable and 10 being ‘extremely comfortable’. At the opposite extreme, 20% of respondents said they were extremely comfortable paying by credit card.

Next up was PayPal, another payment option commonly offered by UK subscriptions companies. 19% of people said it was the method they were least comfortable with, but 25% rated it top, saying they were ‘extremely comfortable’ with it.

Debit cards scraped in very close to PayPal, with 18% finding them the least comfortable method, and 25% the most comfortable. There’s not much to choose from between the two methods.

But the clear winner in this survey was Direct Debit. People are clearly very happy using Direct Debit to pay for their subscriptions. Only 14% said it was the least comfortable method for them, while a whopping 32% rated it top, saying they were extremely comfortable using it.

For subscription providers, the clear takeaway here is that you really can’t afford not to include Direct Debit among your payment choices for new subscribers. With GoCardless, you can manage all payments seamlessly, taking advantage of low fees, flexible timings and a fully-automated system. The sign-up process is quick and easy with no minimum term. We even integrate with popular accounting packages including Sage, QuickBooks and Xero.


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,044 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th - 7th September 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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Adventures in sales on-boarding

Sales rep Nas SPINs into the GoCardless sales team

I come from a consulting background, so I've always been passionate about the client-facing side of things. So I was excited to take on a sales role where I could help potential clients and sell a tech-related product. Most importantly, I wanted to learn sales from the ground up, so GoCardless really stood out from other fintech start ups.

Even with high expectations, when I walked into GoCardless for the first time as a Sales Development Rep, I didn’t know how varied my on-boarding experience would be. Nor did I realise the number of people I would meet in such a short space of time, or how quickly I would become part of the sales team. In this blog I’ll share with you the training I received, along with some key takeaways from my experience.

Week one: The basics

As soon as I arrived I was welcomed with an office tour, where I met all 70+ people at GoCardless in about ten minutes. I realised it was going to take some time to learn everyone’s names! Week one focused on understanding the payments industry and alternative payment options to Direct Debit. This included one-to-one sessions on:

  • The Product. I had different sessions with each of the Sales team, covering every payment method vs Direct Debit - which meant that information was easy to digest and convert into sound bites once I started taking calls.
  • Sales skills. A SPIN session with George from our Enterprise Sales team helped me practice the consultative approach we use on our initial calls to qualify leads. I had expected the calls to focus on “selling” to the merchant, but instead it was about uncovering our customers’ current processes, pains and product requirements, before evaluating how we can help.
  • Competitor training. Sitting down with Ben from our Enterprise Sales team to talk about our competitors gave me a good idea of the different types of competitors we have, and where we fit in the wider payments industry.
  • Acting on feedback. I practiced mock calls with several members of the Sales team, which ended with a “Key Skill Call Test” at the end of the week. The aim was to prepare me for taking Sales calls. I saw a big improvement by the end of the week!

A highlight at the end of the week was joining Lunch Roulette. Every week, GoCardless chooses six people at random and treats them to lunch at a local restaurant. It was a really nice way to get to know people from other teams over tapas and wine!

Week two: All about GoCardless

Week two focused on our product in more depth. The week was split into five themes:

  • The API. An Introduction to our API taught me how our customers can link payments through GoCardless to their own systems. These sessions were valuable for me to fully understand our product. Luckily I got a lot of support from George before attempting the API test!
  • Our value proposition. Mia, who heads up our Inside and Corporate Sales teams, gave me a detailed overview of our value add, along with the best way to communicate this to customers. It was great to put this knowledge into practice on my first sales calls.
  • Giving demos. This is an important skill for Sales reps to have, as merchants often want to see what the product looks like before they commit. Following a few practice demos I did a final demo for Joe, our Head of Sales Development, at the end of the week. Demonstrating GoCardless to others was a great test of my product knowledge and highlighted gaps for me to focus on.
  • Industry knowledge. I chatted with Duncan from our Partnerships team about the different types of partners we work with, and what criteria we use to evaluate whether we can form a partnership. I didn’t know it at the time, but this knowledge would become very useful once I started taking inbound calls from prospective partners.
  • Support shadowing. I spent some time with Laura in Support listening to calls from existing merchants with technical queries. It was really useful to see the types of questions asked. Some of the calls actually answered my own questions about using the dashboard.

A highlight this week was the Nutmeg Finance Fitness session at the GoCardless bleachers. The Head of Product at Nutmeg showed us some interesting stats on the benefits of saving and investing. It was great to learn about personal finance over lunch (without having to leave the office)!

Week three: Getting technical

This week was exciting! I took my first inbound calls, putting my new skills into practice for the first time. It was great (and unexpected) to be engaging with prospective merchants just two weeks into working at GoCardless. At the same time, my training continued – and the pace quickened. I had one-to-one sessions on:

  • The submissions process. Yoshio from our Inside Sales team showed me how GoCardless makes submissions to BACS – quite a technical process as I quickly found out.
  • Pro vs Standard. I delved deeper into our two products: Standard and Pro. Grey, our VP of Product, showed us our product roadmap and explained how the Product team prioritises projects to improve and enhance our offering.
  • SEPA: an overview. Team France gave me an overview of SEPA (the Bacs equivalent in Europe). This was crucial, especially as we’re growing globally, because the UK Inbound team needs to be able to answer questions from customers about taking international payments.
  • Intro to Outbound. Ross, who heads up our New Business Development Sales team, walked me through the outbound sales process and how we decide on target verticals and companies.

One of the highlights of the week was the all-team event at Dinerama in Shoreditch - an indoor food festival. It was great to get to know people in the company who I hadn’t spoken to yet.

Week four: Becoming an “expert”

After three busy weeks, week four was more strategic and focused on the big picture, including:

  • After SEPA. Ashley, our Head of Expansion, walked me through our expansion plan, what we consider before we expand into a new country and all of the requirements we need to fulfil before we can launch in that market.
  • Direct Debit Ask Me Anything. Throughout my training there were some questions that built up. This was the perfect time to ask them over a strong cup of coffee with Ben from our Enterprise Sales team. I asked him about the Sales process for our larger merchants and how we get buy-in from the important stakeholders.
  • The Balloon Test. The mighty Balloon Test is an industry test on Direct Debit which is the last hurdle of the on-boarding process at GoCardless. Passing the test felt like a small achievement on its own.

As week four drew to a close, I reflected on what I had learned, and how my overall experience compared to expectations. I'd expected to be thrown into the deep end, but that’s not quite what happened. Although GoCardless is still a start up, the training programme is exceptional. There is a big focus on upskilling new joiners to become great at Sales - so although I started taking calls and qualifying opportunities early on, I had numerous one-on-one practice sessions to help me get there.

Four months later, I’m a fully fledged member of the Sales team. But the learning hasn’t stopped. I’ve been working on my Sales skills on enterprise calls, and am now also training new joiners. New challenges come along every day, and I’m looking forward to seeing what my future at GoCardless holds.

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A summer internship with GoCardless

It's a rainy day in my beloved Scotland and I’m writing these lines from a library cafe. Almost a week has passed since I last paced the floor of the GoCardless office in London. It feels strange to think that my internship has already come to an end. When I applied to GoCardless last winter, it wasn’t the result of an epiphany. I didn’t wake up one morning with the striking realisation that working in fintech would make for an exciting summer. Instead I wanted to learn about maintaining high availability on critical systems, and about the security intricacies involved in handling payments, while getting my hands on Ruby again and doing some Javascript. In short, I wanted to boldly go where I hadn’t gone before.

Diving in

Fast forward a few months to the third of June, a Friday, my first day at GoCardless. I was impressed by how quickly I managed to get some work done. I spent the first few weeks (well, the whole summer really) asking countless questions of my colleagues about the general structure of the codebase, but it was fairly evident that our policy of code review and extensive testing made the code itself very clean and easy to modify. I must admit, I still don’t enjoy writing tests, but if this summer has taught me anything it’s that tests are a wonderful safety net when an undergraduate student like me is pushing code to production. Thanks to our platform team we also have a great docker-based deploy workflow, which was an absolute pleasure to use.

Full stack experience

Over the course of the summer I worked on various projects, both as a backend and as a frontend engineer. The largest one was likely our revamp of CSV exports, which my colleague Tim has written about in detail here. Towards the end of August we organised an office hackathon, two week-days where the whole engineering department worked on various ideas that could be beneficial to the company. Some of us worked on improving the speed of our test suite (for which they got “make tests fast again” baseball caps!!!), while others investigated how we could migrate our dashboard to Typescript and Angular 2. I worked on developing a GraphQL endpoint for our API.

One thing I haven’t yet mentioned is that we use JSON Schema to specify our public and our internal APIs. This is extremely useful: we can automatically generate documentation, REST clients (our PHP client, for example, is auto-generated from that schema).I thought it would be interesting to try to generate a GraphQL schema, which would call our API under the hood and return data in a Relay-compliant format. It was a really interesting experience, and hopefully it will be useful one way or another!

People power

On a lighter note, let me say a few words about the environment. I clearly remember myself looking through our internal team page during my first week. We have a picture, a short biography and an answer to a few questions for each employee (extremely useful for someone as bad with names as I am). One of those questions was “What do you like the most about GoCardless?”, and the number of answers boiling down to “the people” made me chuckle. I do have a slightly misanthropic side, but really, the people? How uninspired. How cliche.

As weeks went by, however, I realised what they all meant. Every single person I worked with was incredibly smart, patient and kind. I cannot emphasise enough how lucky I have been to work in such an environment. It pushes you to go the extra mile, to learn more, with the confidence that if you stumble someone will be there to catch you. Oh and, we’ve got free snacks and drinks.

There are so many more things I would have liked to say but this blog post would quickly turn into my autobiography. I will leave it there. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected]; ask to be put in touch with me if you would like to know more about interning at GoCardless.

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Why Global Britain is driving the fintech revolution

The UK’s history of innovation goes back a long way. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, we have carved out a far-reaching global reputation for creative thought and technological excellence. But national reputations only stick if they are backed up by concrete action - and ours has remained solid because we live it every day.

In the world of finance in particular, much of UK innovation has been driven by London. In an environment where technology meets banking heavyweights, it seems a natural progression for fintech companies such as GoCardless to emerge and flourish.

From small acorns

Founded in 2011, GoCardless has been on a quest to create a bank-to-bank payments network that spans the globe. We’ve been internationally focused from the beginning, our ideas guided by the best of Silicon Valley as part of Y Combinator, then brought back to London by British founders.

The GoCardless system is built by working with the banks and gives everyone access to the Direct Debit recurring payments system, previously open only to large firms. This has been a revolution for everyone, from entrepreneurs to enterprises, reducing late payments, improving cashflow and allowing them more space to innovate.

Now, over 20,000 of Europe’s most innovative companies - such as Thomas Cook, the Guardian, and Box.com - use GoCardless to collect payments with ease, freeing them up to focus on what they do best - creating the best possible experience for customers. This forms a virtuous circle that further strengthens the UK’s reputation for innovation. GoCardless initially focused on businesses in the UK, but quickly expanded to serve those in France, Germany and Spain, via the Bacs and SEPA bank-to-bank payment systems. Our plan is to go global, breaking down international borders to create a new global payments network. We’ll do this by connecting together the Direct Debit systems in different countries into one streamlined whole.

Surrounded by brilliance

London’s culture of innovation plays a vital role in our success as a company. We’re surrounded by great technology firms, all set within a supportive and collaborative environment filled with the brightest international minds. This has helped us form important partnerships with other payments innovators, such as Xero, QuickBooks and Zuora. Working together is a recipe for success when it comes to getting new ideas off the ground. This year GoCardless processed over £1.5 billion worth of payments for tens of thousands of organisations - and we’re growing fast.

Just the beginning

In the wake of Brexit, we’re doubling down our focus on Europe, combining that perspective with a wider global outlook. We’ll keep pursuing the GoCardless vision to create a global payments network - a mission we believe has become more crucial than ever before. To take brand Britain forward in a new direction, every action counts, and we’re proud to be part of it.

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A day in the life of a GoCardless software engineer

I’m Tim, and I’m a software engineer at GoCardless. I’ve been here for about four and a half years. I work on our UX team, building customer-facing bits of GoCardless, such as our dashboard and developer API. My team focuses on making them as powerful and easy to use as possible.

The early days

I first joined the team back in 2012, just a few months after GoCardless had launched into beta. I was attracted by the boldness of what the company was trying to do: making life better for small businesses and disrupting banks’ traditional monopoly. Since then I’ve worked in a variety of roles across the company, from setting up and running our customer support operation to running our partnerships team, to where I am now.

On a typical day, I travel in from my flat south of the Thames and arrive in the office at about 8:20am. I’ll usually spend about 40 minutes catching up with my emails and doing little things on my to-do list while it’s still quiet in the office. Then I go to the gym across the road for a run or to lift some weights. Keeping fit is really important to me and I notice the difference in my productivity.

Once I get back to the office, the UX team starts its day with a “stand-up”. There, we spend about ten minutes as a team sharing what we were working on yesterday, what we’re planning to work on today and raising any areas where help would be useful or where something is blocking us from making progress. Next, I grab some breakfast (there’s a big choice provided by the company!) and a cup of tea before getting back to work.

We usually work on projects in small teams of three or four people - this means we can bounce ideas off of each other, pair programme (where two people work together on the same piece of code), review one another’s work and make progress as quickly as possible.

Connecting and communicating

Most recently, I’ve been leading a project improving our CSV exports. Our customers, especially larger ones, rely on these for their reporting and reconciliation. As a small project team, we scope out the projects, and then divide up the work between us, working in two week “sprints” towards our goal.

I’ve been writing the backend code in Ruby, which builds the CSVs in just the right format. One of our brilliant interns, Henri, has been working on the frontend interface in JavaScript and HTML, which our customers see, getting lots of support from me to get up to speed on our codebase and make the right design decisions.

Throughout the project, I’ve been working with others across the company (usually over a coffee!) - for example, I’ve been in regular contact with one of our salespeople, Michael, and one of our Support team, James, to work out exactly how the CSVs should look to meet our customers needs. I’ve also been working with our Product Lead, Duncan, to work out how we should communicate the changes we’re making to users. Henri has stayed connected with our Design team to make sure the customer experience looks and feels as good as possible.

I hugely enjoy interacting with people across the company. The people are brilliant and it’s interesting to hear about what others are working on. It’s also good to think about how a little investment from engineers like myself could make day-to-day working lives much more efficient for people here. We’re always looking to improve processes and reduce manual work, so people have more time to do what they do best.

Flexible working and side projects

I’ll usually power through work from 10am until about 3pm, and then grab a late lunch at about 3pm (I’m invariably too engrossed in my work to eat until then!). Once I’ve eaten, I’ll get back to work for the last few hours of the day before usually going home at about 6pm (although sometimes I’ll stick around if there’s something I’m particularly enjoying and am keen to keep working on!).

I love working at GoCardless. I’m incredibly fortunate to work in a company packed full of incredibly smart people, to have flexibility to work how I want to (whether that means heading to a coffee shop to work sometimes, going to the gym in the middle of the day or working lying on a sofa) and to get to constantly improve a product used by tens of thousands of people.

If you want to be a software engineer somewhere as great as GoCardless, I’d recommend one big thing: play around with side projects. I’ve worked on lots of fun projects in my spare time from a tool to help people use their air miles are effectively to an open-source API library for Rap Genius. These kinds of things are great fun, give you lots more experience of writing code and look great on your CV.

Growth and…we’re hiring!

GoCardless is growing fast - and we need a lot of great people to help us continue that growth. Our Engineering team is hiring, so if you like what you've been reading, why not take a look at our careers page.

Interested in joining the GoCardless team?
We're hiring
in Business

What makes an awesome company culture?

The world of work has come a long way over the last decade.

Where once employees were expected to suit up and bring their most serious work face to the office, these days it’s more about artisanal coffee, flexible working, and regular company events.

Call it a hangover from the tech startups of Silicon Valley, but whatever the source, employee expectations of work have changed. There’s no going back.

Our parents and grandparents grew up in a world where your studies led you into a job for life. If you were lucky, your boss would present you with a gold watch when you retired. In those days people used to think that security was the most important element of a job.

But today’s workforce sees things differently. For them, driven by legions of technological advances and global opportunities, companies are compelled to offer more than simply job security. Employees are looking for meaning. And they find it in the culture of the company they work for.

A good company culture can have many benefits; both for the company itself and for the employees. What’s more, the two are intricately linked.

Culture defines a company; it’s the beating heart that keeps the company alive. Culture is the values and attitudes that drive the company. Ideally, these should be aligned with the values and attitudes of the people who work there.

When culture is unhealthy it reflects on the way people work together. They tend to work purely for the salary and benefits. They may have less loyalty to the company and be constantly on the lookout for something new.

On the other hand, a company with a healthy culture values everyone on the team, supports their goals, and develops an environment of inclusivity and collaboration.

In return, employees feel valued. They feel that the company has their best interests at heart. This fosters team spirit and boosts performance naturally. Great culture also brings many benefits for employees, from boosting motivation to enhancing their quality of life.

After all, we spend a large chunk of our lives in the office - it has a massive effect on life quality. What’s more, happy employees are quick to become company advocates, which can help us to hire more great people!

For the company, building a strong and positive culture brings great benefits too.

Having an awesome culture helps companies to:

  • Build a positive reputation
  • Develop good productivity
  • Keep quality of their service or product high
  • Attract and retain the best talent!

At GoCardless, culture is at the heart of everything we do.

"The culture is super trusting, collaborative and open. As soon as you start at GoCardless, you’re given the freedom to work flexibly, and the trust to do it well. We care immensely about enabling people to produce work that they’re proud of, rather than checking what time they walk into the office,” says Jess Summerfield, Head of People.

The hiring process at GoCardless focuses not only on your skills, but on the characteristics you bring to the table as an individual.

If we hire you, we’ll do everything we can to improve your skillset, all the way from supporting additional training to encouraging you to get involved in all kinds of cross-departmental projects. We also encourage employees to pursue their interests outside of work, from computer science to Mandarin Chinese!

GoCardless cares about doing brilliant work, and to enable this, we need to give people an awesome place to do just that.

That doesn't just mean sorting out the aesthetics. A nice office is great, but culture means letting people learn and develop in the best ways for them, giving them autonomy, ownership and a sense of purpose.

Jess says: “The culture fit side of the interview process is as important, if not more important, than the role fit side of it. The top piece of feedback that we get from the team is that it's the people who make GC an awesome place to work, and we want to keep it that way!

“We don’t want to hire people that are the same as us - far from it - but rather that we want to hire people who care about the same things that we do. I've seen the team grow from 35 people to 85 people over the past two years, and it's been a complete privilege to work with such a big group of amazing, talented people."

At GoCardless, diversity is key. We have a real mix of employees from a range of backgrounds, but the one thing is common is our company culture. We also have a high percentage of female employees for a tech company - 23% and rising! For the future, we’re focusing on growing this number even further.

To see some of our team talking about life at GoCardless, check out our video on Zealify.

Like what you see and read? We’re hiring! Why not take a look at our latest vacancies.

Interested in taking payments with GoCardless?
Sign up here!
in Business

How to get paid more quickly this summer

The grey skies of London don’t look especially promising as August dawns today. But here at GoCardless HQ, we hope to brighten your day just a little by exploring ways to get your incoming payments under control. Wouldn’t it be great to have extra cash in the pipeline, just in time for summer?

For many small businesses, late paying customers are a constant headache.

Chasing them wastes valuable time and manpower. But even worse, late payments affect your cash flow. This may cause your business to miss out on important opportunities simply because of a lack of available cash. It’s frustrating to send yet another payment reminder on an overdue invoice, only to be met with an excuse, or even worse, with complete silence.

At GoCardless, we specialise in taking payments by Direct Debit. So we firmly believe this is the most effective method for accepting recurring payments. Direct Debit allows you to take control of your payments and get paid on time. Here are a number of additional tips to handle late-paying customers and retrieve the money you’re owed.

Tips to get paid more quickly

  • Make sure that your payment terms are clear right from the start. State terms on your contract and repeat them on every invoice you send to customers. This should include the full amount, the due date, and any late payment penalties (yes, we’ll get to those shortly).

  • Send your invoice as soon as you complete the work. Some people do forget, especially those lacking an automatic invoicing setup. There’s no room for delay when it comes to getting paid.

  • State late payment penalties and make sure you use them. You’re covered by UK law for this, so don’t forget your rights.

  • Chat to your customer about possible reasons for late payment. You’d be surprised at the difference a phone call can make. You may well discover an unexpected problem and can then work with the customer to resolve it and get paid.

  • Make it easy for your customers by letting them choose their preferred payment method. Then set up a system where they can pay you instantly if they want to, send them payment reminders before payment is due, and make sure your payment information is displayed clearly and accurately on every invoice.

  • Try out credit control solutions such as Satago or Chaser. These can be integrated into your accounting workflow. They automatically email customers when an invoice becomes overdue. Businesses that use them report getting paid up to 23 days faster.

  • Consider using invoice factoring to fund your cash flow. Currently used by 45,000 UK businesses, invoice factoring involves selling invoices at a discount to a third party, either a bank or an independent factoring provider such as MarketInvoice. These services unlock funds tied up in unpaid invoices so that your business gets paid without waiting for customers to pay first.

And finally (you knew it was coming!) why not encourage your customers to set up automatic payments by Direct Debit? It’s especially useful for regular recurring payments as well as automatically taking payments on invoices and makes sure that you never miss a payment again. That keeps your cash flow in good shape.

At GoCardless we use advanced technology to make Direct Debit accessible to businesses of all sizes, not just large organisations. Now even sole traders can take advantage of the benefits of the UK’s most reliable payment system.

We hope you can use some of our payment tips to improve your business situation this summer. Using GoCardless lets you take full control of your payments. To learn more about how we can help you, click here.

Interested in taking payments with GoCardless?
Sign up here!
in Business

A day in the life of our Head of Legal

I’m the Head of Legal at GoCardless. My role is really varied so there’s no such thing as a typical or predictable day for me - I get involved in all kinds of tasks from designing a new contract management system through to reviewing foreign law advice on our international expansion.

Starting the day strong (and a little bit bruised)

I love to exercise and try to fit it in each morning - I think it’s a key part of my day and helps me feel energised. For the past three months I’ve been taking part in CrossFit at CrossFit CityRoad - it’s great but a real challenge; I’m using muscles I didn’t even think I had, and the ones I have seem useless!

After my workout, I’ll head into the office where I’ll make breakfast before checking my emails. There’s a pretty amazing selection of breakfast foods, with (literally) dozens of choices of granola. I try not to succumb to granola temptation, and typically have scrambled eggs on a bagel.

I receive a regular stream of email updates on the latest legal news and will read those over breakfast. Payments law is a relatively niche area, and not one in which I had experience before joining GoCardless, so I’m enjoying sharpening my regulatory skills.

After breakfast I look at my priorities for the week, which are set in a stand-up with the operations team every Monday. I’ll prepare a schedule for the day thinking about how to achieve those weekly goals while fitting them in around my various meetings.

Keeping ahead of hot topics

In terms of what I'm working on, there's always long-term proactive thinking about how the legal landscape is changing and what we need to do to put GoCardless in the best possible position. One super-hot topic right now is data protection.

Following the Snowden revelations, people's concerns have really intensified over who could access their data and what they might do with it. There have been a number of knock-on effects, such as the European Court of Justice finding EU-US Safe Harbor ineffective, making it far harder to transfer data out of Europe to the US. At GoCardless, we’re striving to set a great example when it comes to customer data - we think a good benchmark is treating that data as if it was our own personal data.

It’s such an important issue and takes a lot of work to get right - immediate internal work, but also trying to predict what will happen in the future. With data protection law and technology constantly changing we need to make sure we are ahead of the game.

Another area of focus is payments regulation, which is also changing rapidly, as regulators and the legislative process rush to keep up with the pace of financial innovation. The UK & the EU are forward-thinking and progressive in terms of allowing innovative structures such as ours in order to prosper, but they don’t always get things right off the bat. As a result, there’s a lot of lobbying to be done,and a lot of fresh thinking around how the services we provide fit within regulations that don’t necessarily contemplate our particular offering.

Finally, Brexit brings its own unique set of challenges. I can say that we’re committed to ensuring that we continue to serve our European customers without interruption. That might mean becoming regulated in another EU member state - a challenge we’re well equipped to rise to.

It’s all about collaboration

On top of those on-going projects, day-to-day I normally have multiple meetings with the guys and girls in the sales team to help them close deals. The open-plan structure of the office makes it really easy to chat with those from other departments - whether that’s sales, marketing or the engineering team. There are sofas and seating areas dotted around if we fancy getting away from our desks, and little booths if you need to get your head down and focus.

As Head of Legal it’s crucial that I know what’s going on and have a good overview of the business, so having sofa meetings and grabbing one too many coffees (there are many coffee options available!) with different departments is a vital part of my role. Only by knowing what’s going on can I be effective in planning and negotiating.

I’ll sometimes hop on a conference call with a merchant who’s looking to use us - it’s then that I’m grateful that we have put in the hard work around customer data protection, as there’s nearly always intense discussion on the point and having a strong story really helps alleviate any concern.

Often my colleagues from other departments come over for a chat. For example, the marketing team might need some legal advice on a new promotional idea, or perhaps I’ll be asked to chime in on a funky collaboration that the partnerships team have come up with. It’s never boring!

The longer commercial negotiations, for example where we want to partner with another payment provider or financial institution, tend to be the most complicated ones as there are so many moving parts, and at least two regulated entities with their own legal concerns. Throw different countries in the mix, and you have a good amount of complexity to work through.

Having this high level of daily interaction at work is really important for me - I really love working with super-smart people, and there’s a lot of them at GoCardless. That being said, there’s a fair amount of teaching to be done when you’re an in-house lawyer.

The law isn’t always crystal clear, meaning that you need to simplify complex issues and relate abstract ideas to the business issues in hand, rather than firing off an email attaching a 10-page advice note that draws a purely legal conclusion.

Growth and… we’re hiring!

I also spend a lot of time planning for future needs, and expanding the team. GoCardless is going through an exciting growth phase at the moment, and we have a lot of great people to find to help us continue that growth - the legal team is no different! If you like what you hear, why not take a look at our careers page.

Interested in joining the GoCardless team?
We're hiring
in Business

Our thoughts on Brexit

2 weeks ago today, Britain woke up to the news that we had collectively decided to part ways from our European Union. Whilst the dust is still settling on this shocking outcome a lot remains unclear. There is turmoil in both of Britain’s main political parties, a vacuum of leadership, and huge uncertainty around how our country’s relationship with Europe will evolve.

This uncertainty won’t affect our operations in the near term — we will continue to serve our European customers without interruption. However, we’ve been considering how to proactively respond to these new circumstances and wanted to share our plans for supporting our customers across Europe.

We are 100% committed to our expansion in Europe, and see this outcome as an opportunity to turn further towards our European markets. Concretely, we will be doing this by:

  • Expanding our operations in Europe & exploring additional EU regulatory approvals ahead of any changes to the law.
  • Accelerating our expansion plans in France, Germany & Spain by doubling our teams and establishing a local presence in these markets.
  • Investing more heavily in our SEPA product to ensure our offering is the best way to accept recurring payments across Europe.

We fundamentally believe that our world is becoming more interconnected even if our politics aren’t. For us, the vote for Brexit underlines the importance of our vision to create a global bank-to-bank payment network. We will therefore be working hard to ensure you can continue to focus on business as usual without worrying about how to get paid.

in Business

A day in the life of GoCardless support

Kicking off the day

It’s 7am and I’m already up bright and early this morning as today is our pre-work morning football match. Luckily I live closer to work than most so I get a little extra of a lie-in than the others. I’d like to think this will translate into a performance comparable to Ronaldinho vs Peter Kay in those John Smith’s ads. Unfortunately my two left feet are likely to say otherwise.

A much sweatier version of myself makes it into the office at around 8.40am. Fortunately the GoCardless office has showers so there’s time to freshen up before work officially begins. A few of our team have been in for a while; with the recent rapid growth of the GoCardless customer base it’s fair to say that the support team are a hard-working bunch!

By 8.55am I have my computer on and my coffee in hand - now it’s time to officially start the day. As always there are several things that I need follow up on before getting down to today’s workload. Whoever invented post-it notes was a genius… my desk is nothing short of a shrine to them!

Customer Happiness

As a team we split our days into segments, rotating between them depending on priorities, volume, any specific cases or projects we’re working on, and simply to avoid the monotony that may otherwise ensue. For the next few hours I’m on calls. Perfect, as I’ve just finished my second coffee and probably couldn’t keep quiet if I tried.

By around 12.45pm I’ve finished my last call of the morning. A lovely retiree needed some help navigating the dashboard to manage payments for her rambling club members – I love taking these calls!

Anyway, now it’s time to put a dent in that seemingly endless cycle of emails.

It’s a busy day for the team - our Slack channel notifies us that we are on high alert due to the amount of calls and emails coming in. Today is office lunch day so we grab something delicious from the huge buffet laid out on the long wooden table by the kitchen. The food is supplied by Cookoo, one of the startups working out of the GoCardless offices. It’s great to sit down and eat with my colleagues but as support is having a busy period I pick up a kebab wrap and salad and decide to eat it at my desk.

At around 2.30pm the phone calls begin to slow for a little while and so I take this opportunity to fit a proper break in. A colleague and I decide it’s time for a quick FIFA rematch on the huge work projector in the office. I still have yet to beat him (despite a shamefully large number of attempts), but I’m feeling confident that my luck is about to change.

15 minutes later… no change. With my tail between my legs, back to emails it is.

Time for a change of pace

I’ve got an accounting partner training session scheduled in with our three newest recruits - two new sales joiners and another in support. With GoCardless being integrated with a number of popular accounting platforms it’s good to know the fundamentals of how these packages operate, especially when in a customer facing role. Having taken on the responsibility of learning these when I joined, I now get to pass on my ‘wisdom’ as and when required.

The further I go through it, the more I’m reminded that the presentation needs a bit of updating. Wunderlist is great for keeping notes on little tasks like this.

It’s 5pm and there’s an hour left of the working day, our email feed is still looking a little on the larger side than we’d like. Our team manager has decided to rally the troops in the best way possible – a competition! Who can respond to the most emails in the next hour; rules being that we must take the next oldest email each time, (and not sacrifice quality for speed, obviously) - Game on!

At 6pm time for our “all-hands” team meeting. This is where the whole team gets together on the office bleachers and our CEO and company VP’s ensure we’re up to speed with what’s going on across the company. Of course, there’s office beers to help our focus.

Once the team meeting is over it’s time to finish off the last couple of emails I’d rather get sent this evening while the issues are fresh in my mind… Ah, one more beer won’t hurt to help see me through.

The emails are finished and I’ve made my notes for tasks first thing tomorrow morning. Now, time to go home and catch up on some Homeland!

Interested in joining the GoCardless team?
We're hiring

Improvements to your dashboard - May 2016

Since launching our new dashboard in April, we’ve had lots of great feedback on the additional features you’d like to see. We really appreciate all of your thoughtful comments and are pleased to share some of the improvements we’ve made over the last month:

1. Get your payout breakdowns by email

It's now even easier to see the transactions included in each payout. Your confirmation email now contains a list of the payments included. And for more information, you can click the “View in dashboard” button for a detailed breakdown.

2. Schedule a future start date for plans

You can now set a specific start date in the future for a plan to begin and for payments to start being taken.

3. Improved filters and sorting of your customer list

Find your customers more easily with filtering and sorting. See your active, inactive or pending customers at a glance. You can also see a list of your customers in alphabetical order by surname.

4. See your estimated payout dates

From the payments tab, you can now see at a glance when payouts are due to arrive in your bank account.

We really appreciate all of your thoughtful comments and suggestions so please do continue to share them with us via the ‘Leave feedback’ button in the bottom-left corner of your dashboard.

See the changes we've made
Sign in to your dashboard
in Business

Report reveals growth and cash flow are priorities for UK agencies

A new report by The Wow Company has revealed the biggest business challenges that agencies currently face across the UK. The sector is currently worth billions of pounds per year to the UK economy with 94% of agencies expecting to grow in 2016.

The annual report, which surveyed hundreds of agencies from across the UK, looked at a variety of topics from pitching to pricing. Agencies said their biggest challenge was figuring out how to grow their business. This included winning new business (55%), increasing profitability (42%) and recruiting new talent (41%). Feeding into this, poor cashflow (20%) and getting paid by clients (13%) were also listed amongst the top challenges faced.

This year’s BenchPress report had an interesting section on payments, and we thought it would be worth sharing some of the most interesting results.

The majority of agencies questioned (95%) were using bank transfer for payments, and over a half (51%) were using cheques. Both bank transfer and cheques depend on the customer deciding when to pay an invoice. With the majority of agencies relying on these payment methods it’s unsurprising that so many are concerned about cash flow.

Direct Debit is becoming an increasingly popular option with more than a quarter of agencies currently using it. Using GoCardless to take Direct Debit payments means agencies can have full control of payments, making sure they get paid on time, thus helping to maintain a healthy cash flow.

Interestingly, those agencies taking payments by Direct Debit also benefitted from shorter payment terms. More than half had a payment term of 14 days or less. This compares to just a third of those using other payment methods.

Growth over the next 12 months

It appears that having more confidence in cash flow gives agencies the freedom to focus on growth. According to the report, over half of agencies using Direct Debit forecasted growth of over 25% over the next year. In contrast, less than a third of agencies using other payment methods reported the same growth expectations. Getting paid on time can lead to an increase in business confidence, thus giving agencies more time to concentrate on running the business, rather than chasing up payments.

The report found that digital agencies are most widely utilising Direct Debit for their payments. Known to be early-adopters, it’s no surprise to see those working in tech are embracing the benefits of Direct Debit more than any other industry.

Agencies using GoCardless

GoCardless is already working with almost 4000 agencies; helping them to maintain a healthy cash flow. Using Direct Debit can have a huge impact on how quickly agencies get paid, and with GoCardless it has never been easier. Linking with all the major accounting packages, including Xero, GoCardless makes it really easy to get setup & manage payments.

In the report, Claire Love of digital agency LWS Marketing shares her experience of using GoCardless:

“In just four months, we moved 50% of our recurring payments to Direct Debit after we discovered GoCardless. This has had the biggest impact on the company I’ve seen in 8 years - boosting cash flow, morale and ease of admin. Our average debtor days have reduced from 122 days to just 7 days.

We are about to start phase 2 of the rollout, with a goal to reach 80% by explaining to clients how it will make their lives easier too. To help with this, we now always mention at the outset that our fees are based on signing a Direct Debit and state this clearly in our proposals. I can’t imagine life without GoCardless now - it’s made a massive difference.”

Using GoCardless to process payments adds a whole bundle of benefits to agencies and their customers, adding to the value and quality of service being delivering. GoCardless’ simple, automated payment process takes away the hassle of late payments, helping agencies to overcome the challenge of cash flow. It’s also quick and simple to get set-up online and there are very low fees saving agencies (and their customers) both time and money.

GoCardless has transformed cashflow for 4,000+ agencies
Find out more

New fundraise - $13m to support our new payment network for the internet

We're excited to announce that we’ve raised a new $13m funding round led by Notion Capital and supported by our existing investors Balderton Capital, Accel Partners, and Passion Capital. We’re particularly pleased to have Notion Capital on board as their team will bring additional expertise and experience to our board having built and exited three highly-successful businesses including MessageLabs.

This is key for us to succeed in our vision to build a new payment network for the internet. It allows us to improve on our existing product in the UK and Europe, as well as expand our global footprint.

The fundraise is not the only milestone GoCardless has reached over the last few months. Today, we’re also pleased to announce that we are processing more than £1 billion per year - collectively, our 16,000 merchants are collecting over 10 million payments each year through our bank-to-bank network. Our solution has opened up access to the Direct Debit system for small businesses, and has helped multinationals meet the needs of their customers with a Direct Debit solution built for the digital age. We’re proud that this has contributed towards the 5.8% annual growth in Direct Debit payments that Bacs reported last year.

In addition to opening up Direct Debit to small businesses, we’re also creating new ways for customers to pay for products and services. For example, we now work with Thomas Cook to offer their customers the option to spread out their cost for their dream holiday.

Our expansion into new markets is also picking up pace. We are now serving businesses in Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden. They add to our growing presence in France and Germany. In France we are growing four times faster than when we launched in the UK, driven by customers like Habitat & La Fourchette, and partnerships like Mangopay. In Germany, we are picking up traction with some great customers including rankingCoach, betahaus Hamburg and the soon to launch partnership with accounting software Debitoor.

Whilst I am immensely proud of all of the above, our ongoing growth and success is all down to you, our incredibly supportive and loyal users. This is why my highlight of the year so far is the launch of our new dashboard next month. We’ve used your feedback to make it more intuitive than ever and given it the power and flexibility to grow with your business. It’s been a huge company-wide project and we hope you enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed building it. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Want to help us build a new payments network for the internet?
We're hiring

Introducing your new GoCardless dashboard

When we started GoCardless 5 years ago we wanted to make Direct Debit accessible to companies who’d never had access before. We built a product that was simple and intuitive and soon had the privilege of helping thousands of small businesses collect payment.

Then, 2 years ago, some of the UK’s largest companies started using us, and some of our early adopters were growing into large companies themselves. They loved the simplicity of GoCardless but wanted additional power and flexibility. To support them we built GoCardless Pro, with its own dashboard and API.

Now, we're pleased to be able to give everyone access to the GoCardless Pro dashboard. We’ve used your feedback to make it more intuitive than ever, whilst having the power and flexibility to grow with your business:

There are hundreds of improvements in the new GoCardless product, but instead of giving you a full list of every change, here’s a very quick summary of five of our favourite new features:

1. A clearer and easier-to-use dashboard

The first thing you'll notice when you sign in to your new dashboard is the brand new look - it’s had a full makeover and the most important information is now placed front and centre. As soon as you log in to the new dashboard, you’ll get an immediate overview of what you’re owed, how much you’ve collected and what’s currently due. We've also improved the way we show your payments and customers to make this much clearer and easier to use. Get a real-time overview of everything in your account, and easily filter down to the most relevant information.

2. Multiple users: share access to your GoCardless account

With the new GoCardless dashboard, you can share access to your account with other people in your business. Not only can you add multiple users to your account, you’ll be able to individually control their access rights and permissions - for instance, you could give your bookkeeper read-only access so they’ll be able to reconcile payments without making changes to the account.

3. Paylinks: An easier way to take one-off payments

From within your account, you can now create Paylinks - an intuitive and user-friendly way to take one-off payments. With Paylinks you have the option to collect additional payments from the same customer without the customer needing to add their bank details each time.

4. Events log: Keep track of the status of your payments

We’ve introduced a new Events tab from which you can see a complete timeline of your account’s activity, or simply use the filters to narrow down the search to the activity type and date range you’re looking for. You can also click on any item to view a more detailed description of the event such as why a mandate couldn’t be set up or a payment failed.

5. Improved search and filtering: Find the information that matters to you

We’ve built out the search functionality to include payment amounts, charge dates, payment descriptions, metadata references... pretty much anything that can be found in your dashboard! If that wasn’t enough, you can even list multiple terms at once to to filter your results more effectively and find what you’re looking for even faster.

When will I see the new GoCardless dashboard?

The new dashboard will be rolled out from April 2016. We’ll be in touch with all merchants via e-mail over the next few weeks with further information about the upgrade.

As we move all our merchants over to the new dashboard, we want to make sure we keep iterating and improving our product. In the new dashboard, there’s a built-in feedback tool that’s never more than one click away - you’ll always be able to find this in the bottom-left corner of your dashboard. Any comments and feedback you have on the dashboard will be hugely appreciated by the team and will help us to shape the product going forward.

Through the rest of 2016, we have ambitious plans to continue building the best product for taking recurring payments online both in the UK and further afield. As we strive to create a new payment network for the internet, we’ll continue pushing forward with new features and updates shaped by your feedback.

Getting started with the new dashboard

We know that change can sometimes feel a bit scary, but we promise you, this is an easy and worthwhile upgrade.

We’ll inform you ahead of time about exactly when you’ll be upgraded to your dashboard. This upgrade won’t require any work on your behalf: all of your customers, payments, and account information will be moved over automatically to the new dashboard. Once upgraded, just login as normal and you can start using your new and improved GoCardless dashboard.

To help you better get a feel of the new dashboard before upgrading, you can watch the short video demo at the beginning of this blog post.

We’ve also put together a comprehensive FAQ that will answer your questions about using the new dashboard. Finally, as always, you can contact our team for any questions you have either about using the new product or about your GoCardless account. If you have any queries, please drop us an email to [email protected] or you can give us a call on 020 7183 8674.

Thank you!

We also want to say a huge thank you to all of our merchants who have helped us to get to where we are today. We honestly couldn’t have done this without each and every one of you. The new dashboard is a major milestone for GoCardless, and we hope we can continue to delight you as we make further improvements to our service.

in Business

Enterprise Nation StartUp 2016

We had the privilege of being a part of Enterprise Nation StartUp 2016 in London on Saturday 9th January... and it was an absolute blast!

The doors opened at 9am, and it took very little time for the rooms and corridors of the Canary Wharf venue to fill up with ticket holders. More than 3,000 entrepreneurs attended the show, each looking to learn as much as they can in the pursuit of getting their startup businesses off the ground.

Set across multiple floors, the event offered a wide variety of talks, panel discussions, workshops, and more. The aim was ensuring that the budding entrepreneurs attending the show would receive a plethora of advice to help them succeed in their journeys.

Our own hub of activity was positioned nicely amongst the other sponsors of the event. Our stand, which was run by a number of volunteers from across the GoCardless team, was glittered with limited edition GoCardless merchandise that would become increasingly famous as the day wore on.

Startup 2016 Event StartUp 2016 Event

Inspiring keynotes from the main stage

The day kicked off with a warm introduction from Enterprise Nation’s very own Emma Jones. Shortly after, Oliver Sewell took centre stage to begin the day’s masterclasses with an insightful talk on boosting your business through Facebook.

This led onto one of our highlights of the day, “Make or break: How I’ve built my start-up”. This was chaired by Gary Turner from Xero, one of our accounting software partners. The consensus amongst the three panelists was that managing your company finances digitally is key for keeping on top of your business as it grows. Cloud-based accountancy platforms will become vital as your company grows and their key advice in this regard was to start using one from day one. Not only will all your financial records be in one place (making it far easier when the taxman comes knocking), you’ll also be in a good position to scale to the next level.

By noon time, the event was in full swing and each and every floor was buzzing with activity. A large crowd had gathered in preparation for Nicola, our VP of Marketing, and her panel discussion with Andy Stephenson and Oliver Bridge, the founders of Weekend Box Club and Cornerstone. Their panel discussion was on “how to build a subscription business” with both entrepreneurs sharing their advice on launching and growing a subscription business on a small budget. They also discussed some of their key challenges along the way.

This discussion paved the way for our highlight of the day, where our founder Hiroki Takeuchi took to the main stage alongside Mark Preason, founder of MyVoucherCodes and Amber Atherton, founder of My Flash Trash. The three of them had an open discussion on what they had learnt building a million dollar startup.

Startup 2016 Keynote StartUp 2016 Keynote

Speaking to entrepreneurs at the GoCardless stand

Spending a day speaking to entrepreneurs and business owners at the GoCardless stand was an absolute joy. At StartUp 2016, we were demoing the new GoCardless dashboard and showing visitors how they could transform the normally painstaking task of collecting payments into a simple, automated process. After answering all the questions fired at us like there was no tomorrow, I could have sworn we transformed into Jedis... well, Direct Debit Jedis anyway.

Not wanting to miss any opportunities, we made the most of the brief periods we were free by convincing the other sponsors across the floor to model our merchandise for a quick photo (a few of which may have been casually leaked to Twitter). ¯\(ツ)

The occasional [read frequent] fluttering of eyelids in the direction of the Direct Line stand opposite may have also occurred – we couldn’t resist… they had a popcorn machine!

Startup 2016 Stand StartUp 2016 Stand

Keeping an eye on your finances

As the day drew to a close, some of us made our way back down to the ground floor for the final keynote panel discussion of the day – “How to keep financially fit and protected throughout the year”.

What shone through in this final discussion is that staying on top of your finances from the start is absolutely crucial if you want to see your startup to reach long-term success. Too many startups founded only on great ideas have fallen by the wayside as a result of poor finances or not keeping an eye on their cash flow.

Turning great ideas into successful long-term businesses

One of the goals of Enterprise Nation and StartUp 2016 is making sure budding entrepreneurs have the knowledge and tools they require to ensure a great idea comes to fruition in the market.

GoCardless has always been proud to support start-up businesses and we can all agree unequivocally that we felt proud to support StartUp 2016 (it definitely more than made up for the 7am alarm on Saturday morning). We finished the day feeling incredibly inspired by the people we met, the talks we attended and the general spirit of innovation and creativity.

Thank you to everyone who attended and best of luck to each and every one of you taking the plunge into startup life in 2016. From the whole team at GoCardless, we wish you every success in your new venture!

in Business

The highlights of 2015 from Team GoCardless

As 2015 draws to a close, we wanted to look back at some of the most memorable moments this year at GoCardless.

We started by thinking about all the milestones we reached this year - reaching $1bn of processing volume, expanding into Europe, being listed in the FinTech50 and growing our team to 60 people.

Then we thought about all the litres of coffee consumed, the number of office pizzas ordered and the number of late nights spent working on the product.

We even considered creating a lovely infographic to share all this info with you.

Then we sat back for a moment of reflection and thought... nah.

The best thing we could do is to hand over the spotlight to our amazing team: the ones who have made everything possible over the past year. We wanted to give them the opportunity to tell you, in their own words, what they loved most about 2015.

So, without further ado, here are the 2015 highlights from Team GoCardless.

Launching GoCardless in Europe

Jutta

"My highlight of 2015 was launching GoCardless in two new countries. We started with France in April and have already seen some explosive growth there. In September, we launched in Germany, the largest Direct Debit market in Europe. I won't forget our launch in Munich, surrounded by Lederhosen and pretzels, and the preceding press roadtrip to Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg.”

Jutta, Global

Launch of GoCardless in Europe Launch of GoCardless in Germany

Paving the way for the new version of GoCardless

James

“My highlight of the year has to be the steps we’ve taken in preparation for the launch of an exciting new version of our product.

Being part of the support team, I get to hear first hand of any difficulties our merchants face when using the current product. Also, I hear all the request for features that we don’t currently offer but would prove useful to our merchants. It’s been hugely exciting to work alongside our design and engineering teams and to be able to bring these new features and improvements to fruition.

Complementing this has been our work on improving internal processes to make sure GoCardless is as simple and stress-free to use as possible. It’s meant more late nights working on the product in recent months and we’ve still got some work to do to reach our ambitious targets. However, once all the improvements have rolled out in 2016, there’s no doubt they will prove hugely beneficial to the GoCardless user experience. This will help us to cement our position as one of the leading FinTech companies in 2016.”

James, Support

New GoCardless

Cycling to Bath with the GoCardless Team

Grey

“Arriving in Bath after two beautiful days of cycling was amazing. A huge credit to Corinne, who organised the whole trip, including months of early morning training rides to whip us into shape!”

Grey, Engineering

Cycle trip to Bath Arriving in Bath

Winning ‘The Great GoCardless Bake Off’!

Laura

“At the start of December, the GoCardless office was transformed into Bake Off HQ as part of Local Giving’s #GiveMe5 campaign. Our very own Mary and Paul had their work cut out with the judging as all of the entries were fantastic! But the zingy lime and mint mojito cupcakes came out on top to have me crowned as GC’s Queen Baker. Overall, we raised £170 which has been donated to Voluntary Action Islington.”

Laura, Support

Cupcakes Judging the Bake Off

Kicking off Customer Success

Michael

“In June, we kicked off Customer Success at GoCardless. It has been great working with people across a host of our existing and newer merchants, getting to know each other’s businesses, goals and challenges much better. Together we’ve made countless improvements, and the odd mistake, learning a huge amount along the way. It’s been a joy working with so many smart, friendly and positive people, both clients and colleagues. Here’s to an even more successful 2016!”

Michael, Customer Success

Kitesurfing with the team in Sussex

Jess

“The highlight of my year was when a group of us headed down to Camber Sands in Sussex for an introduction to kitesurfing. I’ve been doing it for a few years and it was awesome to be able to share this with some of the team. The wind even managed to play ball as well so we were able to get out onto the water!"

Jess, People

Kitesurfing in Sussex Kitesurfing in Sussex

Our design team trip to New York

Sam

“My 2015 highlight was the trip to New York for the design conference ‘Brooklyn Point-Oh’. The talks were brilliant and touring the city was alright too!”

Sam, Design

Making it easier for new merchants to join GoCardless

Dave

“In 2015, we made the on-boarding process for GoCardless Pro and global sign-ups much more simple. We did this by working with our partners to automate as much of the process as possible.

In the new version of GoCardless, the signup process now only takes 2 minutes. We’ve been able to immensely simplify the process and you’ll no longer need to provide as many details. When you’re ready to complete verification checks, you’ll be guided through the process in our new redesigned interface. This is much more efficient and saves our merchants a lot of time when getting started with GoCardless.”

Dave, Support

Adding Swedish Direct Debit to GoCardless

Jenna

“Adding support for Swedish Direct Debit (Bg Autogiro) is my highlight of the year. After SEPA Direct Debit, Autogiro was the next scheme to be supported by GoCardless. After 4 years of digging into the details of Bacs and SEPA Direct Debit, it was a great validation to see this expertise pay off for Sweden. It enabled us to add Swedish Autogiro in record time. The Engineering team played a huge part in this, taking an incredibly complex integration and a whole new set of payment rules and adding it to our API in a way that gives existing Bacs and SEPA merchants a seamless way to start collecting Swedish Krona!”

Jenna, Global

Bg Autogiro Payment Pages in GoCardless

Modelling the Lederhosen at our launch in Germany

We decided to add this one on Hiroki (our CEO)’s behalf, simply because he clearly loved his day in those Lederhosen!

Hiroki and Jutta in Germany

On behalf of everyone at GoCardless, a happy new year! We wish you all the best for 2016!

Interested in joining the GoCardless team?
We're hiring
in Announcements, Business

Bacs Processing Calendar 2016

Bacs have provided the Bacs Processing Calendar 2016 so you can check on which dates they will be processing Direct Debit submissions through the year. It also shows you which days payments won't be processed on, so you can plan ahead around bank holidays and weekends.

Bacs Processing Calendar 2016 Preview

As usual, if you're using GoCardless, it isn't necessary to plan your submission with the Bacs processing calendar. We take care of submission dates for you and will automatically submit your payments to Bacs on the relevant day. This means you simply choose on which dates your customers will be charged, and our system does all of the hard work to figure out the right day to submit.

Feel free to get in touch with us at [email protected] if you have any questions about the timing and scheduling of payments, or if there's anything else we can help with. The support team are available 9am - 6pm on working days (weekdays excluding bank holidays).

Looking to automate Direct Debit collection timings?
Find out more
in Business, People

How we nurture an environment of gender diversity at GoCardless

GoCardless is a fast growing FinTech startup based in London. Within the last 12 months, we’ve grown the number of women working at GoCardless from 8 to 18. They now make up for a quarter of our company and work across all departments. In comparison: the number of female entrepreneurs in FinTech has reached about 17%.

Building diverse teams is core to our business culture and this is communicated clearly both in our recruitment and hiring policy as well as internally. While everyone is in favour of actively supporting this, we are aware that the difference lies in the details and making a continual conscious effort to remove any bias.

We can make a difference by eliminating unconscious bias

I recently moderated a Gender in Tech panel in Berlin where we talked about how we can ensure we create an unbiased environment in our tech companies to attract more women employees. The 18 women at GoCardless took this as inspiration to organise an audit to review our office environment to make sure it’s attractive to both male and female employees. Whilst the specific details may appear minor, they can play an important part in creating the right workspace for women to feel welcome and comfortable.

Generally we feel that GoCardless is performing well. Many of our new employees applied to GoCardless due to our support and participation with specific groups and organisations such as Code First: Girls. The office has good facilities for men and women with well equipped bathrooms and showers, a stocked kitchen with a diverse range of food and drink and sports and leisure activities from basketball and bowling to cycling and yoga. We regularly host events in the office supporting all departments and encourage meetups and get togethers with similar teams in other organisations across the startup space. We’ve also recently updated our HR policies benchmarking against other businesses to offer extremely competitive employee benefits.

There is still room for us to improve…

Firstly, we realised all of our branded clothing is in male sizes and styles. This is an easy one to fix - we have now ordered womens sizes and styles so all employees feel comfortable supporting our brand at events and meetups.

We also realised that in departments where we have a higher percentage of male employees such as sales and engineering, a candidate may only meet male employees during the interview process. We have now updated our interview funnel to ensure that all candidates will meet with at least one female employee during the process. This is key for all potential employees as it demonstrates that diversity is critical to the culture at GoCardless.

Finally, we found that much of our external communication was driven by the men in our company. 8 out of the 10 most recent blog posts were written by male employees. We agreed to increase the number of blog posts written by women and already have the first writers lined up (watch this space).

Get the ball rolling

We have been inspired and encouraged to do this audit by many great individuals in this space. A special thanks goes to the panelists from Berlin: Inga Höltmann, Maxi Knust, Lisa Lang and Jana Scharfschwerdt, as well as some key individuals advocating women in tech in London: Phoebe Lebrecht and Leah Templeman.

We believe that having an environment where female employees feel happy, accepted, welcome and supported is key to encourage more women to take the step into working in the tech industry. We would love for other companies to do the same and nominate our FinTech friends in and outside of London to do a similar audit of their office. We need to plant the seeds to grow a sustainable female-friendly environment within the FinTech scene.

You're interested in joining GoCardless?
We're hiring
in Business, People

The Account Executive Interview Process

One of the most important things as we look to scale from processing $1 billion payments a year to $10 billion is growing our sales team. Our vision is to create a global payments network, making payments simpler on the internet no matter what country you're from. We’ve previously written about how we train our salespeople. This blog post is aimed at guiding you through the account executive interview process. We want you to succeed, so we’re going to outline what we look for and how the process works.

The process is split into three sections:

  1. Phone screen
  2. First round interview (1.5 hours)
  3. Final round interview (2.5 hours)

We have identified the following characteristics as being most important for successful salespeople here:

  • Smart. Our product is technical. To succeed here you need to be able to learn technical detail so you communicate potentially confusing things in a simple way.
  • Driven to learn and improve. We believe how good you’ll be a year from now is more dependant on attitude than current ability. How driven you are and how motivated you are to improve are the two most important drivers of success.
  • Coachability. Giving and taking feedback is one of the most important aspects of our company culture. The quicker you are able to act on feedback, the faster you learn.
  • Likeable. People don’t like to buy from people they don’t like. It is essential that anyone we employ is friendly.
  • Communication skills. The ability to explain complex ideas simply is absolutely crucial for our salespeople.

The interview process is designed to test these skills.

1. Phone screen

This interview lasts 10-15 minutes and you will speak to our hiring co-ordinator. We are assessing a few basic things here:

  • Have you done your research on the company?
  • Are you passionate about startups?
  • Do you want to work in sales?

To do well in this interview:

  • Be in a quiet place. Good signal helps too!
  • Be prepared. Make sure you’ve done research on the company. You should have more specific reasons on why you want to join than just ‘interested in startups or fintech.’
  • Be enthusiastic. We want to know you’re excited about joining us.
  • Be positive and engaging. We want to hire people who will make a contribution to our culture, who are respectful, polite, collaborative and energetic.

2. First round interview

This consists of two parts:

  • The background interview. Here we’ll be trying to assess the skills we value in salespeople as well as find out a bit more about your motivations for joining us and why you want to work in sales.
  • The roleplay. For this you will be doing a sales meeting with a mock client. You don’t know anything about them in advance.

In order to succeed in culture fit:

  • Think of examples of where you have demonstrated the skills we care about.
  • Be structured. Good communication is really important in sales. Read about the pyramid principle and apply it in your answers.
  • Be honest. People join a startup for a variety of reasons; tell us what you’re really looking for and what you want to do in your career. It doesn't matter if you’ve not got a history in sales (I didn’t do sales before GC!), but you need to have a good reason to work in sales with us.
  • Do your research. Why is it you want to work for us? Try and be specific as possible. How did you find out about us? What about us excites you?

In order to succeed in the role play:

  • Read SPIN Selling. This forms a great foundation on how we do sales here. If you don’t have time for the whole book, at a minimum read a summary. Prepare some questions for the role play using what you learn.
  • Know our product and industry. Sign up for a GoCardless account and learn how to use it. At a minimum you should read our Recurring Payments Guide and our Direct Debit Guide.
  • Listen attentively. Good questioning and good listening are two of the most important skills in sales. Listen carefully to what we say and use it to ask intelligent questions.
  • Don’t pitch. You should think of this as a conversation not a ‘pitch.’ The key is to really understand the client’s needs. Only then can you align our solution to what the client wants.

3. Final round interview

This consists of three parts:

  • The roleplay. The is the same format as the previous round. After the first role play we will give you feedback. The second round is the same scenario: we want to see if you’ve responded to the feedback.
  • The exec interview. In the final round you get the opportunity to meet our CEO and another member of our management team. The same advice as the background interview applies here.
  • Working with sales. This is a quick challenge. There is no need to prepare anything for this. We’ll give you something you might be faced with on a typical day here.

Good luck and we look forward to meeting you! If you’re unsure about applying, please just do. We'd love to hear from you!

Want to help us hit $10bn? We're hiring!
See job listing

GoCardless launches in France

Since 2011 we've been helping UK companies improve the way they collect recurring payments. Today we're very excited to announce that we're launching in France and Belgium to do the same, and will be launching in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands soon.

Direct Debit offers French and Belgian businesses lower failure rates, lower transaction fees and increased flexibility. By putting the company in control of when payments are taken it also improves cash-flow and drastically reduces the time spent chasing late payments. However, just like in the UK, Direct Debit is difficult to access, hard to use, and full of hidden fees. We're fixing that:

  • Access to Direct Debit : in Europe it can take months to get started, with a lot of paperwork and setup fees. It takes a couple of days with GoCardless and we take care of setting you up on the SEPA Direct Debit scheme (for free).
  • Manual processes : companies are spending hours each week setting up customers, creating and exchanging files with their bank or provider, and manually reconciling the payments that succeeded or failed. We automate everything, whether you use our API or our online dashboards.
  • Hidden fees : we don't think anyone should pay €16 each time a payment fails, so we only charge on successful transactions - nothing else.

We've already launched with 1001menus, who now automate their Direct Debit collections, and The French Talents, who no longer need to chase late payments via bank transfers and cheques. We've also been covered in the national and business press: Le Figaro, Les Echos, Challenges, La Tribune, Journal du Net and l'AGEFI have all written about us.

To learn more, visit our French or English website.

in Business, People

The Business Development Interview Process

Interview

Image courtesy of XKCD, via a Creative Commons license

GoCardless is poised for global success, and we need people to help us achieve our vision of building a payment network that makes it simple to move money across the globe. To help us grow, we're looking for systematic problem-solvers to join our business development team. This post is a guide to the application process for the business development position. Above all, we want you to succeed, which is why we’re going to explain in detail how the process works and what we’re looking for.

At GoCardless, the business development team is responsible for projects that are crucial to the future growth of the company, and that do not fit neatly into the ‘marketing’ or ‘sales’ categories. Recent BD projects have included: developing European launch plans; assessing which geographies to expand into next; working with engineers to prioritise product features for multinational companies; improving the onboarding process for customers; and reaching out to potential partners.

Because the role encompasses so many different possible projects, we’re looking for people who are analytically smart, adaptable, get things done fast, and can come up with creative solutions to problems. You do not have to be technical to apply (none of the team has a technical background). The role is particularly great for people who want to start their own company in the future and want to get hands-on experience of different projects at a startup.

How the process works

  1. Phone Screen
  2. Analytical challenge
  3. Onsite interview - Round One
  4. Onsite interview - Round Two

1. The Phone Screen

This interview lasts 10-15 minutes. You will speak to a member of our business development team. The interview will focus primarily on your motivations for applying to GoCardless, what you’re hoping to get out of the job, and how you make decisions.

To do well in this interview:

  • Find a comfortable place with no background noise. Environments with lots of noise will distract you and make it difficult for your interviewer to understand you.
  • Ensure your phone, or internet connection (for Skype), work. You’d be surprised at how many people get this wrong!
  • Be on time. First impressions matter.
  • Be prepared. Do your research on GoCardless - what problems are we solving for businesses? What have you learned about our company culture? What attracts you to the company?
  • Be structured. Try and give your answers in a structured manner, so that the interviewer can understand your central points easily.
  • Be concise. Don’t ramble; we want to give you the chance to answer as many questions as possible, so spending 10 minutes on introducing yourself won’t work in your favour.
  • Be enthusiastic. We love people who are excited about the mission and are interested in what we do.

After the interview, we will get back to you fairly quickly - within a week at most.

2. Analytical challenge

If you’re successful in the phone round, we will send you an analytical challenge to complete, using real data (sanitised, of course!) from GoCardless. This challenge is intended to assess your ability to draw insights from data, as well as your prioritisation and communication skills. It should take no more than 2.5 hours to complete.

In your first on-site interview with us, we'll discuss your approach to the problem, the reasoning behind your recommendations, and how you would go about prioritising and implementing them.

We’re looking for people who can make sense of lots of data, develop hypotheses and test them, make data-driven recommendations, and be flexible when challenged or confronted with new information.

3. Onsite interview, Round One

You should expect to be on site for about an hour and a half. At this stage, we’ll be looking to dig into your problem solving ability, chat more about your background, and find out more about who you are and what you’re looking for. You’ll get the chance to meet several members of our business development team, ask questions, and get a feel for our office and what it’s like to work with us.

Some tips for your onsite interview:

  • Be honest. People join a startup for a variety of reasons; tell us what you’re really looking for and what you want to do in your career. The purpose of the interview should be to get to a really good understanding of whether the company would be a good fit for you, and vice versa - so feel free to be open with your interviewers.
  • Be concise. We’re keen to get as much information from the interviews as possible so that you have the best chance to show us who you are. Don’t spend too long talking about things that are irrelevant, and answer the questions directly.
  • Give some structure to your answers. Look up the ‘Pyramid Principle’ and similar communication tactics, and use them; being great at communication is an important part of doing well in a non-technical role, so we will be looking for people who can communicate in a compelling, easy-to-understand way.
  • Think through problems aloud. If you get stuck, clarify the question and tell us what you’re thinking about. The discussion should be a collaborative one, and you won’t be penalised for changing your mind or taking the time to think through your solutions.
  • Think hard about what would make you want to work here. Are you interested in the company culture? Our growth? The projects we work on? Be as inquisitive as you want to be - we’re keen to share how GoCardless works with you and make sure that it would be the right fit.

After the interview, we will get back to you fairly quickly - within a week at most.

4. Onsite interview, Round Two

This is the final round of interviews and your opportunity to meet with people across the business. At GoCardless, we tend to work cross-functionally, so it’s important that you meet people from other parts of the business. Every interviewee also gets the chance to interview with our CEO.

The first part of the day consists of a practical exercise with a member of the business development team, which takes around 3 hours. The aim of the exercise is to work with you on a small project and see how far you get, i.e. to test your skills in a real working environment. You’ll also get a sense of what kind of work we do here. We’re looking to test your ability to execute in a real world environment; you should feel free to ask your interviewers as many questions as you want, and aim to make as much progress as you can in the allotted time.

To succeed in this part of the interview:

  • Ask clarifying questions. Be really clear with your interviewer what outputs are expected of you and what problems you are expected to solve during the interview.
  • Think of all the possibilities. In solving a problem, it helps to consider all possibilities first and then choose the one that will accomplish the goal the best. Make sure you don’t prematurely latch onto a single strategy and then pursue it without considering alternatives.
  • Keep the time limit in mind. You want to make as much progress as possible within the time limit; make sure you consider the information to time ratio of each strategy.
  • Stay calm and focussed. Self-explanatory - we solve hard and ambiguous problems in team BD, and this requires the ability to stay focussed under pressure. Don’t worry if something you tried didn’t work - you should take stock and iterate on your strategy to win.

In the second part of the day, you will chat to our CEO and another member of GoCardless, usually someone from the engineering team. The chat will mainly focus on your motivations and we’ll be looking to ensure that you'd thrive here and share the same values as GoCardless.

After you’re done, we will get back to you very quickly; if you don’t hear from us, don’t hesitate to reach out. Good luck and we look forward to meeting you!

We're hiring
See job listing
in Announcements, Business

Bacs Processing Calendar 2015

As we head towards the end of 2014 we have inevitably started to think about making sure we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2015. To help you do the same we thought it would be helpful to share the 2015 Bacs Processing calendar.

Bacs Processing Calendar 2015

The Bacs Processing Calendar shows the dates that Bacs will accept Direct Debit submissions throughout 2015 as well as the days it won’t (weekends, bank holidays etc.).

Bacs explain, “The Bacs processing calendars are a valuable tool to help you ensure you don’t miss those important processing dates over the holiday period. The Bacs processing calendars supply you with the all important Julian dates you need to process your payment files”.

Here at GoCardless, we automatically take the processing calendar into account so you don’t need to. We do still recommend making sure you’re aware of any non-processing dates which might affect your payment schedule so that you are either prepared for payment timings to change or can decide to move those payments to fit into your schedule (which we're more than happy to help with).

If you have any questions on the 2015 Bacs processing calendar or payment timings more generally our support team are always happy to help so get in touch at [email protected].

Wondering whether SEPA Direct Debit could be for you?
Find out more

SEPA Rulebook Updates: November 2015

On 25th November 2013 the EPC released an updated version of the SEPA Direct Debit CORE and B2B scheme rulebooks (to go live next November) and announced a further update for November 2016.

Why are they releasing an update now?

The EPC releases updates each November to ensure that the SEPA payment schemes continue to stay up-to-date with global technical standards, best practice and ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) standards and to reflect feedback received during the public consultation.

What changes do you need to know about?

SEPA Direct Debit Core Rulebook 8.0 and SEPA Direct Debit B2B Rulebook 6.0

SEPA Direct Debit Core Rulebook 8.0 and SEPA Direct Debit B2B Rulebook 6.0 will be effective in November 2015 (in 1 year). In a nutshell the main rule changes outlined in SEPA Direct Debit Core Rulebook 8.0 and SEPA Direct Debit B2B Rulebook 6.0 are:

  1. A change to the mandatory wording in the Mandate The wording will be amended to read: “Alternatively, the mandate may be an electronic document which is signed using a legally binding method of signature.”

  2. A correction to the definition of ‘refusal by the Debtor’ A refusal not to make a payment is always based on a request of the debtor before the due date/ settlement date. The technical R-transaction could be either a reject (which is the preference) or, if technically not feasible before settlement, a return. Only refusals returned by a reject or a return will use the reason code ‘refusal by the Debtor’.

  3. An extension of mandate amendment combinations in AT-24 ‘The Reason for Amendment of the Mandate’. This change will allow creditors to send more combinations of mandate amendment reasons in just one SDD message.

Note: There is a further change to SEPA Direct Debit B2B Rulebook 6.0 which extends the explanation of reason code MD01 to ‘No Mandate or unable to obtain Mandate confirmation from Debtor’.

SEPA Direct Debit Core Rulebook 9.0

SEPA Direct Debit Core Rulebook 9.0 will be published in January, effective in Nov 2016 (in 2 years). The main rule changes proposed for Rulebook 9.0 are:

  1. Shorter timing for payments. Under Rulebook 9.0, all collections presented for the first time, on a recurrent basis or as a one-off collection, can be presented up to one inter-bank business day prior to the payment (instead of five for first and two for subsequent). This will shorten the GoCardless SEPA timings to 5 working days for all payments.

  2. Just one sequence type. The current requirement to use the sequence type ‘FRST’ in a first of a recurrent series of collections is no longer mandatory so you will be able to use 'RCUR' for all transactions.

The various rulebooks can be downloaded here while the changes are explained in further detail here.

If you want to take recurring payments across the eurozone, then register your interest to join our beta and simplify your recurring payments today!

Wondering whether SEPA Direct Debit could be for you?
Find out more

Christmas Opening Hours & Direct Debit Processing Over the Festive Period

Over Christmas and New Year there are extra Bacs non-processing days so make sure you don’t get caught out by submitting your files as early as possible. To help you out we’ve put together a helpful guide to the last date you’ll need to submit payments by if you need the payment to arrive in your account by a specific date:

Christmas Processing Dates

GoCardless support hours

Our support will be running normal business hours other than on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day:

  • Monday 22nd December – Normal business hours
  • Tuesday 23rd December – Normal business hours
  • Wednesday 24th December – Normal business hours
  • Thursday 25th December (Christmas Day) – CLOSED
  • Friday 26th December (Boxing Day) – CLOSED
  • Monday 29th December – Normal business hours
  • Tuesday 30th December - Normal business hours
  • Wednesday 31st December (New Year’s Eve) - Normal business hours
  • Thursday 1st January (New Year’s Day) – CLOSED

If you have questions about any of the above email us at [email protected].

Wondering whether GoCardless could be for you?
Find out more

GoCardless named a UK Future Fifty Company

We’re very proud today to be joining Tech City Uk's Future Fifty programme, a Government backed scheme supporting the UK’s most promising high growth start-ups scale and reach their full potential.

We’re in good company – previous Future Fifty participants have included Skyscanner, Graze, Swiftkey and Funding Circle while in this year’s cohort we’re joined by eleven other companies including TransferWise, JustGiving and Algomi. (Perhaps just as excitingly – we’re one of 7 Fintech companies selected which is fantastic news for the London Fintech scene!)

Philipp Stoeckl, director of the Tech City UK Future Fifty programme, said: “The new companies selected for the Future Fifty programme represent some of the nation’s most exciting and innovative digital businesses. The Future Fifty team looks forward to working closely with these new companies to help them reach the next stage of their growth journey. We also wish to congratulate the graduating companies who collectively have achieved outstanding and inspirational milestones.”

As a fast growing UK-based business (we’ve grown 600% year-on-year since launching), we're looking forward to being a part of this exciting network of peers, as well as getting support from the Future Fifty's private sector partners.

Our CEO and co-founder Hiroki Takeuchi commented: “Being selected for the Future Fifty is a real honour and something we’re thrilled to be part of. For a company that’s only two years old, it’s a massive achievement and we’re feeling very chuffed. We look forward to working with the Future Fifty team and seeing what can happen over the next year.”

Below is the full list of the other eleven companies:

  • Adzuna: Adzuna is a search engine for job ads that lists every job, everywhere.
  • Algomi: Algomi creates the network that enables all market participants to securely and intelligently harness data to make valuable financial trading connections.
  • busuu: busuu is the world’s largest platform for language learning providing interactive language courses, combined with social interaction with native speakers of the community.
  • JustGiving: JustGiving is the world’s social platform for giving, connecting causes with people who care.
  • LMAX Exchange: LMAX Exchange is the leading FCA regulated MTF for global FX trading and the UK’s fastest growing technology company.
  • Performance Horizon: Performance Horizon Group provides a world-class affiliate marketing and partner management platform that enables large enterprises to connect directly with their online and mobile publishers at scale, globally.
  • Qubit: Qubit empowers businesses to customise and optimise websites in real-time using qualitative and quantitative visitor data to deliver the right content to the right users at the right time.
  • Ratesetter: RateSetter is the one of the largest P2P lending platforms in the UK.
  • Rockabox: Rockabox provide a world leading content creation and distribution platform which hands control back to brands, agencies and publishers, helping them create, deliver and analyse video and rich media campaigns programmatically, at scale.
  • TransferWise: TransferWise is an international money transfer platform – it makes it up to 10 times cheaper to send money abroad compared to using a bank.
  • World Remit: WorldRemit is a global money transfer service – making sending simpler for friends and family in more than 110 countries.

For more visit: www.futurefifty.com

Wondering whether GoCardless could be for you?
Find out more
in Business

Recurring Payment Services in 4 numbers

We have put a lot of work recently into creating our Recurring Payments Guide. Here is a round-up of the key facts in four numbers.

20

  • It takes 20x the amount of time per week to administer a Do It Yourself Credit Card or Direct Debit solution than a payment processor or GoCardless.

  • There is 20x more churn using a credit card solution than using GoCardless.

10,000

  • You will need to take at least £10,000 a month in transactions to obtain an SUN number or a merchant account from a bank.

  • Banks will typically keep £10,000 as a bond from you when you set up a merchant account or an SUN number, in case you have any payment problems in the future.

4

  • The minimum amount of time it takes to obtain an SUN number and get set up with most Direct Debit solutions is 4 months.

  • It takes roughly 4 weeks to set up a merchant account and integrate it into a Do It Yourself Credit Card service.

15

  • Credit Card chargebacks will cost you around £15.

  • Direct Debit bureaus may hold 15% of each transaction you make to cover potential chargebacks.

  • You may be charged £15 per month to take payments in another currency when using certain Do It Yourself Credit Card solutions.

Want to find out more?

You can find out more in our Recurring Payments Guide, or sign up for GoCardless here.

in Business

Our Definitive Guide to Recurring Payments

recurring payments guide

This week we finally released our definitive guide to recurring payments. It's a free and interactive guide which helps you to find the right payments option for your business by focusing on the things you really care about.

As a startup, GoCardless isn't just trying to grab a share of the existing payments industry - we're trying to disrupt it. Payments providers can be notoriously vague about their costs, failure rates, etc. This makes it incredibly hard to make an informed decision about what's best for your business without spending hours online or on the phone to sales teams. We want to change this so we've written this comprehensive guide to give businesses everywhere the information they need to choose the right payments option for them - all in one place.

Our easy to use guide lets you compare the main options for collecting recurring payments from doing it all yourself to outsourcing to the brands (e.g. PayPal, Stripe and GoCardless). You can compare the payment methods in seven different areas:

  1. Cost: How much does it cost to get set-up, what are the transaction fees and how much admin time does it require?

  2. Set-up: How long does it take to get set up and taking payments and how difficult is it?

  3. Conversion: How many people actually convert to making a payment and how is it possible to improve this?

  4. Churn: How many of my payments will fail and what support will I get to resolve failures?

  5. Experience: What customer support do providers offer? How responsive are they and how much support do they offer for dispute resolution?

  6. International: Which countries can I collect payments in with each provider?

  7. Timings: How long do payments take to arrive in my account?

We've set out to make the best content on recurring payments anywhere - something which every small business would be able to benefit from. If you have any questions or feedback, we'd love to hear from you so please get in touch at [email protected].

If you know anyone else who might find the new guide useful please send them our way with this link to the guide.

Are you ready to conquer recurring payments?
Read the guide here
in Business

GoCardless Open House - Tuesday 26th August

10am-6pm | Drop-in Session

Have a question for us? Come to our drop-in session at our offices (address below) on Tuesday 26th of August. Our product consultants will be on-hand to discuss your product and answer any queries face-to-face.

No need to book in advance, just come along!

6pm onwards | Don’t have questions for us but fancy a beer after work?

We’re throwing open the doors to our new offices in Angel, and we’d love to invite you for a few drinks with us and some GoCardless customers.

If you'd like to come along RSVP here to confirm your attendance.

We look forward to seeing you!

Event details:

Date: Tuesday 26th of August

Address: GoCardless, 3rd Floor, 338-346 Goswell Road, EC1V 7LQ, London

If you have any queries, please contact [email protected].

Find out more about collecting Direct Debit payments
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New SEPA Direct Debit guidance on R-transactions

Today, the EPC published new guidance on reason codes for SEPA Direct Debit R-transactions.

What is an R-transaction reason code?

R-transaction reason codes are SEPA's way of telling us why a payment has failed.

If anything goes wrong during the mandate setup process or following a payment request, you'll be alerted by a message from the bank. These messages are received as ‘R’ codes and cover: Refunds, Refusals, Rejections, Returns, Reversals, Requests for cancellation and Revocations. Each code refers to a specific reason and requires a specific action to resolve it. It's therefore crucial to get these right.

Today's guidance makes it clear that there is still some confusion around which R-transaction codes should be used and when. To help you make sure that you've got your head around this slightly tricky area this post runs you very quickly through the three main points. For further details check out the EPC's guidance or our guide to R-transactions and payment failures.

SEPA Direct Debit R-transactions: three things to watch out for

  1. When an R-transaction is initiated or sent, and by who, affects how it should be handled (as set out in the handy timeline below).

  2. Rejects, returns and refunds of SEPA Direct Debit collections must be sent through the same CSM as the initial collection (unless otherwise agreed).

  3. Specific reason codes should be used unless they are legally forbidden in the customer bank’s country. To help with this the guidance sets out a table of the different codes along with corresponding use cases, causes and suggested actions for each.

SEPA Direct Debit R-transaction timeline

To find out more about SEPA, or more specifically about R-transactions, check out our new SEPA Direct Debit guide. This 50 page guide walks you through the essentials of SEPA Direct Debit, including:

Find out more about SEPA Direct Debit
Read our free guide
in Business

Australia should’ve won the 2014 World Cup (if it was based on Direct Debit use)

Here at GoCardless, we’ve gone a little World Cup crazy with a sweepstake, decorations, team events and lengthy discussions over lunch about who will win this year. And after England got knocked out we started thinking – what if the World Cup wasn’t about football – what if it was based on Direct Debit?

Sadly, England still wouldn’t have won although we would have at least made it out of the group stages but we did find some surprising (and some unsurprising) results based on the Bank for International Settlements’ Statistics on payment, clearing and settlement systems in the CPSS countries December 2013 report.

1. Percentage of total value of transactions

Australia flag

Despite Van Persie and Robben firing on all cylinders, Australia would not only have managed to get out of the group stages ahead of the Netherlands but would have gone on to win the World Cup if it were based on the percentage of total transaction value taken by Direct Debit. In Australia, Direct Debit makes up over 40% of the total value of payments – incredible when you consider that Direct Debit only makes up 10% of the number of transactions.

In contrast, while Direct Debit accounts for 18.5% of the number of transactions in the UK it only accounts for 1.4% of the total value.

2. Percentage of total number of transactions

German flag

Based on the proportion of payments taken by Direct Debit, rather predictably (in both the Direct Debit and football worlds), Germany would beat Brazil in the final to be crowned 2014 World Cup winners. And with 48.4% of transactions in Germany being made using Direct Debit (more than double any other World Cup competitor) their path to the final would be an easy one.

With 18.5% of payments in England being made by Direct Debit, they would make it out of the group stages only to be knocked out in the quarter finals by the Netherlands.

3. Total value of Direct Debit transactions

US flag

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the US would win this one. More surprisingly, England would’ve reached the semi-finals to then (unsurprisingly) get knocked out by Germany (those were the days - when Germany knocked us out on penalties!).

So what could we learn from these World Cup winners?

In the UK, Direct Debit is traditionally seen as a payment method for fixed, regular customer payments like utility bills, mortgage repayments or insurance premiums. While Direct Debit is great for these payments – and as such is used for these around the world – countries like Australia and Germany have found the benefits of Direct Debit can apply to a whole range of transactions.

  • Direct Debit can be used for more than just regular, fixed payments. Both Australia and Germany use Direct Debit for a whole range of transaction types including one-off and variable payments. In Germany, Direct Debit (or elektronisches Lastschriftverfahren or ELV) is one of the most popular payment methods and is used for almost everything – even in the supermarket and for 11.9% of all retail payments.

  • Direct Debit is great for B2B – not just B2C. In Australia, Direct Debit is commonly used by large enterprises to collect payments from commercial clients. We have started to see this shift in the UK - over 25% of B2B payments are now being made via Direct Debit, however, due to the risks associated with chargebacks most of these are for small utility style payments. There is therefore still considerable room for growth – particularly as we move towards SEPA – so we may see more and more businesses reaping the benefits of B2B Direct Debit payments in the near future.

If you’d like to find out more about whether Direct Debit could help your business check out our guide to the transactions Direct Debit is great (and not so great) for.

Want to find out more about Direct Debit?
Watch a demo
in Business

Have you seen our amazing new How to page?

If you’d like to find out more about using GoCardless or have signed up and need a little extra help getting started check out our fantastic new how-to page.

Two of our product specialists, Ben and Ricky, have put together eight short videos (the longest is just 2 minutes!) which walk you through every step of the process from trying out GoCardless to taking payments and handling reports.

1. Overview of the GoCardless Dashboard

In this video, Ricky gives you a brief introduction to GoCardless, our dashboard and some of the features and benefits.

2. Trying out GoCardless

In this video, Ben takes you step by step through how you can test GoCardless to find out if it’s the right choice for your business.

3. Setting up customers

To collect Direct Debit payments you need your customer to authorise you first. In this video, Ben walks you through how to get authorisations from your customers.

4. Taking payments

In this video, Ben shows you how to take a one-off or recurring payment from an individual customer.

5. Custom payment forms

In this video Ben shows you our online mandate and briefly outlines the benefits of online Direct Debit over traditional paper forms.

6. Recurring payments

One of the key features of the GoCardless Dashboard is the ability to create custom plans for recurring payments. In this video, Ben takes you step by step through setting up recurring payments and payment plans for multiple customers.

7. Taking bulk payments

In this video, Ben shows you how to take payments from hundreds of customers at once by simply uploading a CSV file and using our bulk import tool.

8. Real-time reporting

In this video, Ben walks you through how our reporting works and shows you how to track payment statuses in real time.

Any questions? Get in touch with [email protected].

Want to find out more about GoCardless?
Book a chat with an expert
in Business

10 reasons to start using Direct Debit today

1. No more late payments.

With Direct Debit you’re in control – once authorised you can collect payments whenever they’re due without needing your customer to do anything else. So no more chasing customers for payments - they'll be on time every time.

2. Direct Debit reduces your admin time.

Once a Direct Debit has been set up the whole process can be automated. Payments can be automatically taken and tracked each month which significantly reduces the time needed to manage them.

3. It lets you set and forget.

If you’re collecting fixed amounts at regular intervals, you can set up Direct Debit payments then forget about them as they’ll automatically be taken each time they’re due without you or your customer needing to do anything more.

4. Direct Debit is more cost effective than card payments.

Using the card networks usually costs around 3-5% per transaction. Direct Debit is typically much cheaper. GoCardless only charges 1% per payment up to a maximum of £2, and even less if you’re collecting over 500 payments.

5. It reduces payment failures.

Roughly 3-5% of card payments fail each month due to card expiry or cancellation. Direct Debit payments use a customer’s bank details, which rarely expire or change so failure rates are less than 1%.

6. Direct Debit is flexible.

With Direct Debit, you can change the amount and frequency of payments without needing your customer to re-authorise. This means you can take variable amounts or increase prices whenever you need to without administrative hassle.

7. It improves cashflow.

Late payments impact your cash flow as you won’t know when to expect payments and therefore when you can pay your own bills or buy new stock. With Direct Debit, you'll always know when payments will be arriving so you can plan accordingly.

8. Direct Debit is great for recurring, variable and one off payments.

While Direct Debit is usually associated with regular and recurring payments, it can also be a great option for one-off payments (as long as you don’t need the money immediately).

9. It’s environmentally friendly.

Using paperless Direct Debit is not only great for the environment (no more paper, printing or postage) but it also saves you time and money helping you to streamline your business.

10. Direct Debit is easy to set up and get started.

Direct Debit is often seen as just for big businesses or expensive and difficult to set up but with Direct Debit providers like GoCardless you can use Direct Debit no matter the size of your business or your income. In fact - with GoCardless you can get set up instantly and for free.

To find out more about how Direct Debit could help your business, check out our beginner's guide to Direct Debit for industry specific benefits and examples.

Interested in switching to Direct Debit?
Watch a demo
in Business

Merchant of the Month: Toothpick

Toothpick.com logo


Last week, one of our merchants, Toothpick, was nominated as the Best Health Startup in the Europas (GC are also up for Best Fintech Startup and Best Co-founders!). This followed Toothpick's other exciting announcement that they had surpassed 100,000 bookings – or £17m worth of dentistry - in their first year. With all of this fantastic news it seems only right that Toothpick is May’s Merchant of the Month.

Toothpick is the UK’s first, and leading, nationwide service for live, online dental appointment booking. Using Toothpick, patients can book straight into a dentist’s calendar, making it easy to find a dental appointment when you really need one regardless of the time of day.

Toothpick has been using GoCardless since September 2012 via Xero and Directli to collect payments from their customers conveniently and affordably.

Toothpick Co-founder Jozef Wallis explains why they chose GoCardless:

“We found out about GoCardless and realised that it was revolutionary compared to how we were doing it. It just seemed simpler and more convenient than any other option. It also gives us the streamlined, paperless process we wanted and makes it incredibly easy to collect payments even as we grow.”

Interested in discovering all the great benefits of GoCardless for yourself? Simply sign up today in just 60 seconds!

Interested in collecting Direct Debits?
Watch a demo
in Business

Accounting software integrations with GoCardless

GoCardless integrates with the accounting software you already use so you can easily receive, track and reconcile your payments.

To help you find a solution that suits your business, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite accounting integrations:

1. Kashflow

Kashflow is a popular UK based accounting and invoicing software for small business owners. It's incredibly easy to use and has attracted tens of thousands of users with its simple, jargon free system.

The integration with GoCardless allows Kashflow users to automatically collect Direct Debit payments from their customers each time they’re invoiced.

  • Pre-Authorisation (for variable payments)? Yes
  • Subscriptions (fixed, repeat payments)? Yes (via pre-auths)
  • One-off payments? Yes
  • Cost: £18/month

2. Sage

Sage 50 Accounts is the UK's market-leading accounts software. It is designed for established small to medium sized businesses.

The integration with GoCardless allows Sage 50 users to collect invoices using Direct Debit.

  • Pre-Authorisation (for variable payments)? Yes
  • Subscriptions (fixed, repeat payments)? No
  • One-off payments? No
  • Cost: £742.80 (inc VAT) but the integration is free

3. Xero

Xero is an easy to use online accounting software that’s designed specifically for small businesses. It has over 150,000 paying customers worldwide and is particularly popular with accountants and bookkeepers.

The integration with GoCardless allows users to automatically collect one-off payments from their customers. With the Directli integration, Xero can also be used to collect recurring payments.

  • Pre-Authorisation (for variable payments)? No
  • Subscriptions (fixed, repeat payments)? No
  • One-off payments? Yes
  • Cost: £12-£24/month

4. Directli

Directli’s Xero integration is an online payment collection and management system that lets Xero users automatically collect recurring (variable and fixed) Direct Debit payments through GoCardless.

  • Pre-Authorisation (for variable payments)? Yes
  • Subscriptions (fixed, repeat payments)? Yes
  • One-off payments? Yes
  • Cost: £99/year

5. Freeagent

FreeAgent is an award-winning online accounting software for freelancers and small businesses. It helps small businesses to keep on top of their finances, including estimates, invoicing, expense reporting, banking, accounting and taxes.

The integration with GoCardless allows users to automatically collect one-off payments from their customers.

  • Pre-Authorisation (for variable payments)? No
  • Subscriptions (fixed, repeat payments)? No
  • One-off payments? Yes
  • Cost: £15-£25/month

6. Clearbooks

Clear Books Pro provides sole practitioners and startup accountants with an integrated suite of services which allows them to manage their business in the cloud.

The integration with GoCardless allows users to automatically collect one-off and recurring (fixed and variable) payments from their customers.

  • Pre-Authorisation (for variable payments)? Yes
  • Subscriptions (fixed, repeat payments)? Yes (via pre-auths)
  • One-off payments? Yes
  • Cost: £9-£39/month

7. Quick File

Quick File is a free online accounting system designed for the non-accountant.

The integration with GoCardless allows users to automatically collect one-off, fixed and variable, recurring payments from their customers.

  • Pre-Authorisation (for variable payments)? Yes
  • Subscriptions (fixed, repeat payments)? Yes (via pre-authorisation)
  • One-off payments? Yes
  • Cost: £0

Are we missing someone?

If you'd like your favourite accountancy software provider to offer a GoCardless integration, email their support team requesting a GoCardless integration and cc'ing [email protected]. That way we can send them a lovely info pack.

If you'd like to integrate your accounting software with GoCardless the best thing to do is contact us directly. You can also let us know by registering your interest.

Interested in using Direct Debit?
Watch a demo

Exciting news from the Foundation of Hearts

Foundation of Hearts twitter announcement

“The Foundation of Hearts is delighted that on Friday 9 May a deal was agreed that is the first huge step to our fan ownership vision. We would like to thank GoCardless for helping us get to this significant position.”

The Foundation of Hearts is a not-for-profit made up of Heart of Midlothian FC fans aiming to save the club from administration by becoming its majority shareholder.

Hearts went into administration last June with debts of about £30 million. Since then, the Foundation of Hearts has signed up over 8,000 fans to make monthly contributions of £10 - £200, by Direct Debit with GoCardless, to fund a fan takeover of the club.

On Friday 9th May, the Foundation made a huge step towards this – and to taking the club out of administration before next season - when Ann Budge became the majority shareholder of Hearts FC. Budge will become executive chair on a “no-fee” basis and then plans to transfer ownership over to the Foundation within five years.

Chairman of the Foundation, Ian Murray MP, who will join Budge on the board, explains:

“Hopefully we will be able to do this an awful lot quicker than five years, but it will depend on the level of pledges from supporters going forward. Every ten pound note we get each month is a ten pound note closer to getting the club into full fan ownership.”

To find out more about how the Foundation of Hearts use Direct Debit, check out their amazing customer story or book a chat with one of our Direct Debit experts.

Find out more about collecting Direct Debit payments
Watch a Demo
in Business

Our new SEPA Direct Debit guide

As the implementation deadline draws nearer, a lot of questions our customers are asking us are, unsurprisingly, about SEPA Direct Debit.

SEPA Direct Debit offers businesses in the UK, and the rest of SEPA, an amazing opportunity to access new markets by making it cheaper and easier to collect Euro-denominated payments from across Europe.

As it’s such a new system there’s very little information about it available. And to make matters worse – what is available is generally complicated and not aimed at small businesses. The EPC’s scheme rule book provides a lot of information but at 260 pages it isn’t exactly a light read.

To make things a little easier, last month we published our new SEPA Direct Debit guide. This 50 page guide walks you through the essentials of SEPA Direct Debit, including:

Find out more about how SEPA Direct Debit works
Read our free guide
in Business

Four Top Tips for Setting Up Customers

Merchants sometimes ask us for help getting all their customers set up on GoCardless. To make things easier, we’ve put together our four top tips:

1. Move your customers over automatically

If you’re already using Direct Debit, our bulk change system means that you can transfer all of your existing customers over without them doing anything.

2. Email all your customers at least twice

Send them regular email reminders using this template.

3. Follow up with customers by phone

If some of your customers still haven’t set up an authorisation, the best thing to do is give them a quick call to explain what they should do and the benefits of doing it:

  • Saves us admin time, so we can focus on giving you great service.
  • Paying by Direct Debit saves you time - you only have to do it once.
  • You are fully protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee.

4. Add ‘Pay now’ links to your invoices

This allows people to click through to the GoCardless payment page directly from the invoice and set up the payment immediately.

You can use Plan Links to get a link to add to invoices or use an accounting integration to do this automatically. You may also want to use our 'Pay with GoCardless' buttons.

Any questions? Get in touch with [email protected]

Find out more about collecting Direct Debit payments
Watch a Demo
in Business, Engineering

Rolling your own cloud phone system

At GoCardless, we're committed to providing great support to all of our users. This means building great tools, both for our customers and for internal use.

We've previously looked at our Nodephone cloud phone system which uses Twilio's telephony APIs and hooks up our phone support with our user data, as well as various internal tools.

Quite a few people have asked us about open sourcing the application. We might well do this, but my experience shows that different users will have very different requirements, so it makes sense to roll your own. This is a guide that will help you do just that.

Choosing the framework: Ruby on Rails + Backbone

I've previously experimented with Node.js and its Express framework and Ruby on Rails for these kinds of applications. Rails is the stand-out choice for three reasons:

  • It's the framework of choice for GoCardless and most other startups too, meaning the expertise is most likely already there
  • Rails provides so much for free, so you spend less time reinventing the wheel and more time building functionality
  • Ruby has an incredibly rich ecosystem of gems, providing functionality from Twilio API access in twilio-ruby to tagging with just one line of code with acts-as-taggable-on

On the frontend, I opted for Backbone.js. Nodephone was my first time working with a JavaScript framework like this, but I'm absolutely converted. Its models and collections made data super easy to handle, and encapsulating presentation logic in bound views helped avoid inevitable callback hell.

Choosing the platform: Heroku

We're experienced at deploying and scaling Rails apps at GoCardless, but a service like this didn't justify giving our dev ops team another service to manage. Instead, we chose Heroku to give us:

  • super simple deployments
  • high availability so users can always reach us

Heroku offers a lot of addons as well, making it easy to add extras like log management, a Redis database or exception tracking in a couple of clicks with no billing complications.

Heroku can be a little expensive. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative and more flexible customisation, a great choice would be Amazon Web Services Elastic Beanstalk, especially with the benefits of the AWS free tier.

Working with external services

One of the great things about building a custom phone system is the freedom to integrate with other services you use.

Nodephone pulls in the profiles of callers from GoCardless itself based upon their phone numbers, as well as working with external apps like Salesforce.

When you're working with Twilio, response times of your app are critical to providing a decent experience for callers. Slow external services, and worse still, applications that inevitably go down, threaten that.

The ever-popular background job library Resqueprovides an ideal solution, allowing tasks depending on background services to be performed asynchronously.

When someone calls in, we look up their phone number in GoCardless to see if we know who they are. To do this, we enqueue a Resque job to perform the API request whilst displaying a progress indicator to the client:

Looking up...

Once the job has finished in the background (which usually takes seconds) the app provides a real-time update to clients using Pusher's web sockets:

response = Gocardless::Merchant.find(args["merchant_id"])
Pusher.trigger('calls', 'lookup', { id: args["call_sid"], merchant: response })

Looked up caller

If GoCardless is slow to respond or out of action, there will only be a slight degredation of service, rather than failed calls.

Avoiding missed calls

We've all called customer support lines, and one of the biggest frustrations is having to wait for ages to speak to someone who can help.

In order to manage bursts of incoming calls, we introduced a queuing system. Since our average call lasts less than 3 minutes, most callers can get through to someone within a few minutes. However, we also wanted to ensure we didn't miss calls from people getting frustrated by longer waits in the queue.

We achieved this with more Resque magic. Once a caller has chosen an option, they're placed in the queue and agents can pick it up by hitting the "Answer" button on their screen. When a call is answered, we mark it as such in our database.

When the call joins the queue, at the same time we schedule a job for 3 minutes time which will check if the call has been answered:

Resque.enqueue_in(3.minutes, ForwardUnansweredCall, @call.id)

If, 3 minutes from now, it hasn't, it'll ring on all of the phones in the office immediately. This means that every single call is answered within 3 minutes during office hours - but usually much sooner!

Open for business

A particular challenge when building phone systems, as simple as it sounds, is managing opening hours, thanks to complications like time zones. Existing gems that I found like business_time were one step removed from what I needed.

It quickly became clear that I wanted something that didn't already exist, so I built it myself in no time at all. My in_business library lets you set your business hours on a daily basis, and provides simple open? and closed? methods to call in your code:

# Configure the gem with hours of your choice, on a day-by-day basis
InBusiness.hours = {
  monday: "09:00".."18:00",
  tuesday: "10:00".."19:00",
  # ...
  saturday: "09:00".."12:00"
}

InBusiness.open? # => true [if now is within the set hours]
InBusiness.open? DateTime.parse("9th September 2013 08:00") # => false

Taking inspiration from business_time, I added support for the holidays gem, making it possible to take into account public holidays with just two lines of code:

Holidays.between(Date.civil(2013, 1, 1), 5.years.from_now, :gb).
  map{ |holiday| InBusiness.holidays << holiday[:date] }

InBusiness.open? DateTime.parse("25th September 2013 10:00") # => false

An important final addition was adding overrides for the set hours. From time to time, you inevitably want to open and close on an ad-hoc basis. For instance, you might decide to open on a bank holiday when you hadn't planned to.

Overriding business hours

The end result

Twilio, accompanied by popular tools and frameworks and some ingenious thinking makes it relatively simple to build powerful bespoke phone systems which run entirely in the cloud.

Do you love talking to customers and building great tools to track and improve the service you provide?
Join the GoCardless team.

Sage users can now get paid faster with GoCardless

Businesses using Sage can now eliminate late payments, once and for all

In just a couple of years, GoCardless has grown to serve more businesses than any other Direct Debit payments provider in this country. Over 2,500 businesses have chosen us to simplify their payments, their cash flow and their time.

Today, we're releasing a new product that will bring the full power of GoCardless into the world's most popular accounting platform, Sage. For the first time ever, businesses can set-up, bill and automatically reconcile Direct Debit payments without ever leaving Sage.

Business owners will have the confidence that every single invoice will be paid on time and in full.

We built this add-on because we want our customers to have the time they need to grow their businesses. We believe that in the computer age, no one should have to waste time chasing late payments, re-keying data between systems or reconciling bank statements. This add-on was built to make those tasks a thing of the past for Sage users.

For us, it is a huge milestone in our mission to make Direct Debit payments simpler for every business in this country. Just as eBay was the platform that drove PayPal's rise to the top, this Sage add-on will sit alongside KashFlow, Xero and 125 other key partnerships to help us achieve that mission.

This is just the start. The coming months will see GoCardless working ever more closely with our customers to help build out the only Direct Debit system that works the way business owners want. So if you have any suggestions to make GoCardless work better for you, please let us know.

Try it for yourself

If you're a Sage 50 user, find out more about taking Direct Debit payments here.

The add-on is free. We only charge a simple transaction fee - see our pricing here.

Interested in using GoCardless with Sage?
Call us on 020 7183 8674
in Business

Switching Direct Debit provider is as easy as 1-2-3

One of the most common questions we're asked is "can I transfer my existing Direct Debit customers to GoCardless?" The answer is yes: there's a simple process for this called "bulk change".

We've written about all the technical details of bulk change in our Direct Debit guide, but in a nutshell:

  1. Your customers don't need to lift a finger. There's no need for your customers to set up new mandates to you, or to "opt in" to the change. All that's required is that they're notified of the transfer.
  2. The process takes around 4 weeks. From start to finish, it takes around 4 weeks to transfer providers. You can still collect payments using your existing provider for all but 5 working days of that period.
  3. You'll need to know your customers' details. Transferring a mandate requires your customer's address, email, name and bank details. If you don't know these your current provider should be able to provide them to you.

GoCardless can manage the entire transfer process for you, as we have for companies like Greater Anglia Railways. We offer this service for completely free.

Interested in transferring to GoCardless?
Watch a Demo

Talking to our customers 2.0

Back in January, I wrote about our customer support phone system, Nodephone. Based on Twilio's telephony platform, it allowed us to collect valuable data about our phone calls with customers.

Since then, GoCardless has grown to become the UK's largest Direct Debit provider. On support, we now generate huge amounts of data every day. We've continued iterating our phone system to help us:

  • Prioritise development by generating user request data
  • Train our staff by recording calls
  • Distribute our product by linking up with Salesforce
  • Deliver great customer support by routing calls efficiently
  • Allow flexible working so support agents can work from across the UK

This post describes how the system works.

Prioritising development by collecting feedback

Around two months ago, we started using our new feature tracking tool to log our customers' thoughts and comments. Often, however, we found feedback from calls was lost, as the process for recording it was still too time-consuming.

With our new phone system, it is extremely simple to log a feature request whilst on a call.

The agent simply enters the information in a textbox on-screen either during the call or immediately after.

It is then submitted instantly to the tracker, complete with the caller's details, so we can keep them up to date on progress or get in touch if we want to delve deeper into their thoughts.

Training our staff with call recordings

Providing great quality support means providing great training for our support agents. Further, to keep close to our customers we insist that everyone in the company spends time on support. That means a lot of people who need training!

One powerful way we've found to help people improve is to play back calls and discuss them. Our new phone system makes that easy - thanks to Twilio, we're able to record every phone call, providing amazing resources for training and monitoring.

Linking up with Salesforce

Many of our potential customers first contact us via our support channels, so we want the handover to our sales team to be as smooth as possible.

Now, we record data about prospects into Nodephone, and this is passed through automatically to our Salesforce CRM using their API.

Recording a prospect

What's more, the process for our sales team of calling back leads is massively simplified with a smart integration between Nodephone and our internal Chrome extension.

Call from Salesforce

Click the "Call" button and your phone rings and connects you straight through. Make some notes or schedule a callback in the window that pops up, and all the data gets passed back through to Salesforce automatically, including the recording. Magic.

Salesforce tagging

This has increased the call volume our sales agents are able to make by about 20% - a real difference for our productivity.

Providing a great customer experience

We want to provide awesome support, and that doesn't include waiting ages for an answer and then being sent around the houses. Our new phone system makes call routing simple, and ensures no-one waits longer than 3 minutes to speak to us.

Now, when customers call, they begin at a quick 10-second menu where we work what they're calling about - whether they're paying someone, already collecting or looking to start taking payments with us.

Once they've chosen an option, they enter the queue and show up in our revamped agent interface.

Queued call

After 3 minutes, if no-one has answered, all calls are forwarded to every phone in the office, ensuring a speedy response.

Allowing flexible working

As GoCardless has grown, we've needed to expand our support team. As we've done so, we've become more and more interested in a distributed support model, where agents work part-time from wherever they are.

Historically, it's always been easy to answer emails from home but not so simple for phone calls. Our new phone system fixes that.

When configuring Nodephone, agents enter the phone number they'd like to use when answering calls. Then, when they hit the "Answer" button, the call is put through to that phone. Agents can choose any phone number or even take the call direct from their laptop using Twilio Client.

More accessible data

In the original Nodephone, we recorded plenty of data for long-term stats, but it wasn't easily accessible on a day-to-day basis. We've taken two steps to fix this.

Firstly, we have a full interface for looking back at previous calls, incorporating recordings, notes and other data.

Calls

Secondly, if a caller has called before, at the click of a button you can get an at a glance view of their previous interactions.

Previous calls modal

To sum up

Nodephone 2 is already bringing great benefits to our internal processes and our customers.

If you're more of a technical type, stay tuned - in a few weeks' time, we'll have an in-depth look at the technical implementation of this new app.

Are you excited by building great tools to solve real business problems? Join the GoCardless team.

What do you think?
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Wired Money: An overdue revolution in B2B payments

At the inaugural Wired Money conference in London on Monday, I talked about the need for long overdue revolution in B2B payments. For those of you unable to attend, here is an overview.

Fifteen years ago, eBay was an exciting new marketplace for people to buy second-hand goods. But making payments for those products was next to impossible online. PayPal innovated around that problem, making it easy for consumers to make and take payments online. Today, companies like Stripe and iZettle are continuing this revolution.

Consumers now don't have to think about payments - they're instant, convenient and intuitive. But not so for companies.

Tom Blomfield at Wired Money

Businesses have been neglected by the digital payments revolution. Left in the dark ages, they rely on antiquated payment methods such as cheques, which still account for an astounding 80% of B2B payments in the US. To make it worse, any accountant will tell you that managing Accounts Receivable is a laborious job of sending invoices, chasing late payments and manually reconciling bank accounts. The result is that UK businesses are suffocating under £30bn of late payments.

At GoCardless we want to solve that problem by making it simple for companies to take Direct Debit payments online, which puts them in control of when they are paid. Integrations with accounting software platforms mean payments can be automatically reconciled against invoices.

By being resolutely data-driven, our automated payment system has helped businesses such as the Ask Driving Schools reduce their accounting time by 80%. Invoices, payments and receipts don't need to be re-keyed and manually reviewed. We can leave computers to manage payments and accounts for us - with the right identity and authorisation processes in place.

GoCardless is one of the leading companies in the B2B payments revolution making these transactions seamless, convenient and automated. The revolution will (dare I say, hopefully), render 90% of accounts departments redundant. Companies will have more time and money to spend on their products, their customers, and their growth.

What do you think?
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Making something customers want

Since day one, GoCardless has been trying to build something businesses desperately want: a simple, easy, low-cost way to accept Direct Debit online.

Scaling brings problems. Thousands of business are now using us. It's easy to listen to your customers when you only have a dozen, but how do you collect and organize feedback when there are thousands of them?

Enter technology. To solve this, we built a nifty feedback tool: it enables us to collect every piece of feedback we receive no matter where it is, collate it in one place and share it with the team.

How we collect our feedback

Great options already exist for collating feedback from a single channel (Get Satisfaction and User Voice are two of our favourites), but nothing really helped us collect feedback across different channels. In a typical day, we'll get feedback through emails, feedback forms, phone calls, forums, in the pub and everywhere in between.

So we decided to build our own solution.

We started by linking up the feedback box on the new GoCardless Dashboard, an easy win allowing us to record feedback and customer information directly from within our app - this is a goldmine for feature suggestions.

We then updated our phone call tracking system, Nodephone, to include a feature request field, making it simple to track feedback and link it to specific phone conversations.

An Awesome Extension

What about feedback we receive in forums? In emails? Twitter? Facebook? Fleeting moments of genius from a team member on a caffeine-induced high? All of these happen in a browser (or at least in close proximity to one), so we went ahead and built a Chrome extension.

The extension enables us to select any piece of text, right click, and instantly log that feedback right there and then. It’s that simple.

After being tested by some brave volunteers, we launched to the whole team later that afternoon.

Turning 1000 voices into 1

We feed all of the information into a simple Rails app hosted on Heroku. With the new tool, feedback rapidly accumulated. Our next challenge was turning thousands of unstructured textual feedback snippets into an actionable, prioritised list that could drive development.

The primary challenges here are cataloging the feedback and then ensuring it gets seen by the right people. Rather than expecting everyone to look at every piece of feedback, someone from the Customer Support team blitzes through all submitted feedback each week and makes sure it’s tagged for the appropriate features and products.

This gets automatically compiled into a summary which outlines the top requested features and areas for improvement that week, comparing it to all-time demand.

Focus, Focus, Focus

The feature tool now sits at the centre of any dev-prioritisation meetings, allowing the most requested features to naturally shift towards the top of our roadmap. This helps to focus discussions, and back up our intuition with some hard data. On top of this, we can go into the tool and dig in past the summary to see exactly what our users have been saying.

We firmly believe every member of the team should understand our customers' needs, so every team member has access to the app to read feedback and add comments.

We encourage this behaviour with an automatic summary email each day outlining the previous day’s feedback, enabling people to quickly spot potential issues and tackle them early.

We have been using our feature tracker internally for just under a month now, and it has already led to a few great new product features:

  • Global search for payments, customers and plans
  • Custom meta-data on accounts (eg. add a membership ID to each customer)
  • Pending account balance view (i.e. how much money they have outstanding)

Final Thoughts

Building the feedback tool might have taken a day of our time, but the business application was clear and it's had immediate effect.

How do you manage feedback in your company? Should we open-source the Rails app / Chrome extension? Let us know

What do you think?
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in Business

Why we've published our special sauce

Last month, we published the recipe for our special sauce. We're a Direct Debit provider, and our Direct Debit guide contains almost everything we've learnt about the system in the last two years. We even published our study as a book to give to
our customers.

We set up GoCardless to help people, and publishing everything we've learnt about taking payments is part of that. We also think the business case makes sense.

Growing the pie

As a startup, GoCardless isn't just trying to grab a share of the existing UK Direct Debit industry - we're trying to disrupt it. In our case, that means giving access to thousands of small businesses who have never had automatic payments before. Publishing everything we know about Direct Debit helps us reach them.

A lot of the questions our customers ask us are about Direct Debit, not GoCardless. Most of them have never used the system before, and there's very little information about it available to small companies. Even worse, what is available often suggests Direct Debit has to be a complicated, expensive affair. Some of our customers tell us they'd looked at Direct Debit before and been put off.

By filling the content void, we want to help grow the market. If a small wholesaler stumbles across GoCardless they're much more likely to use Direct Debit than if they read the complicated technical information available from Bacs or enter an enterprise sales funnel at one of our traditional competitors.

Taking a bigger slice

Publishing our knowledge also helps us take a greater share of the existing, £1 trillion, UK Direct Debit market. It further establishes our reputation as the UK's Direct Debit experts, improves our search rankings, and provides the backbone for our marketing material.

As online specialists, GoCardless already helps some of the UK's largest companies process tens of thousands of monthly payments. To serve more we need a great reputation and great sales materials. Being the first name they see when they search also helps.

It's too early to tell if publishing everything we know about Direct Debit will take us to #1 on Google, but it's already materially affected our sales process. Distributing our guide to all serious prospects keeps us front-of-mind as they consider Direct Debit. Since we've kept the guide as impartial as possible it's genuinely useful to them.

Helping our competitors

The downside to publishing our special sauce is the opportunity it gives our competitors. Other Direct Debit providers now know how we do things, and new entrants can enter the market with the benefit of our experience.

We're not worried. Good competitors keep us disciplined, and help make GoCardless a great company. Even better, every success they have in broadening the UK Direct Debit market benefits us.

Find out more about how Direct Debit works.
Read our Direct Debit guide

Introducing instant access to variable Direct Debit

Direct Debit logo

We're excited to announce our new variable Direct Debit tool. Taking recurring payments has never been easier.

We're really proud of this product - now any SME can access Direct Debit through a cutting edge online tool. GoCardless is accessible without the lengthy application process, up-front fees and transaction limits usually associated with Direct Debit -- we give you instant, free access.

For our press release, please see here.

The inspiration

GoCardless now serves more companies than any other UK Direct Debit provider, and many of our customers have taken the time to tell us exactly what they want from online Direct Debit. We listened.

Business owners told us they wanted the flexibility to bill varying amounts on an ongoing basis. So we started building it. And we kept listening -- testing this tool with hundreds of companies.

This release is the result of their generously given feedback. Thanks to them it offers the flexibility to meet the needs of any business. And we won't stop listening now. If you need it to work differently just tell us.

How it works

From the GoCardless website you can request online Direct Debit authorisation from customers in two clicks. No more paper mandates - your customer can authorise online in seconds.

Once authorised you can take one-off and recurring payments automatically. We will notify your customers by email every time a new payment is taken, but they won't have to lift a finger.

Take a payment

Sound like it might be a good fit for your business? Finding out for sure couldn't be easier -- you can sign-up online and try the product in under 10 minutes. There are no commitments so it's completely risk-free.

We really hope you like this product -- we built it for you!

-The GoCardless Team

Find out more about collecting Direct Debit payments
Watch a Demo
in Business

Are late payments holding back your business?

Many of our merchants come to GoCardless because they are sick of chasing late payments. We wondered: how big is this problem, really? Pretty big.

The average UK SME is owed £36,000, a sum that would put many out of business. They also have to wait a staggering 43 days before settlement, stumping growth whilst working capital is withheld by sneaky debtors.

Chasing customers is a hassle, it’s boring, and doesn’t help business owners develop a positive and long-lasting relationship with their clients. What’s more, it’s a big waste of time. 14 days per year: that’s 14 days that could be invested in growing their businesses.

We’ve run the numbers to find out how much people in different professions would lose. The average plumber would lose £2,100, a private investigator £4,000 and a senior accountant £5,800. It could be more.

Recent research by Experian showed that big businesses are the worst offenders: sole traders generally pay overdue invoices a good 11 days earlier than large firms with 500+ employees. As the FPB have highlighted recently, this is on top of the already long terms of up to 90 days that big businesses set.

So what can you do to ensure you get paid on time? We’ve got three simple tips:

  • Agree clear payment terms before you commence work. Aim for 30 days, especially when working with larger businesses.
  • Use e-invoicing whenever possible. Check out the top UK online bookkeeping and e-invoicing providers here.
  • Set up a Direct Debit when you commence a project, putting you in full control of your cash flow. Login here to instantly set up a Direct Debit through GoCardless.

Have any other ideas for improving your cash flow? Tweet @GoCardless.

in Business

SEPA Direct Debit - under the hood

GoCardless makes collecting SEPA Direct Debits incredibly simple by abstracting away the implementation details. If, however, you've ever wanted to peak under the hood at how SEPA works, this post is for you.

The SEPA Direct Debit system

Before we dive into an example payment collection, it's useful to spend a moment understanding how a payment scheme, and specifically SEPA, works. I've written about the features of SEPA Direct Debit before. Here I'm interested in what defines the scheme.

EU Flag

Like any payment scheme, SEPA Direct Debit is essentially a set of rules agreed between banks. These rules define, amongst other things, access to the scheme, the payment submission process, and how failures are handled. Together, they fully specify the scheme.

There are actually two rulebooks for SEPA Direct Debit: one for a general scheme and one for B2B Direct Debits only. For now, collecting using the general scheme is safest as the B2B scheme is in its infancy. In future, GoCardless will take payment by B2B Direct Debit where possible, falling back to the general scheme where necessary.

The full rulebook for SEPA Direct Debit (core) is online. In the following sections we'll walk through its implications for collecting a payment.

Getting authorisation from the payer

Similarly to UK Direct Debit, to pay by SEPA Direct Debit the payer signs a mandate approving variable future payments. The mandate and signing process are both specified by the SEPA rulebook.

A SEPA mandate must display text on the payer's rights, and must collect specific details from them. The rulebook allows some flexibility in how these details are obtained. For example, the customer's IBAN and BIC can be generated them from more familiar details.

Once completed, a mandate needs to be signed. SEPA includes an e-Mandate scheme to do so through the payer's online banking, but it is currently unsupported by the banks. Instead, GoCardless maintains comprehensive logs of the 'electronic signature' the customer creates.

Submitting payments

Once a mandate is in place, payments can be collected by notifying the payer and submitting a request to the banks.

SEPA Direct Debit requires payers to be notified about each collection from their account. Just as for UK Direct Debits, these notifications may be for one or many payments and must be issued an agreed number of days in advance.

Once the payer has been notified, payment is initiated by submitting a file to the collector's "sponsor bank" (see below). This file is then distributed to the other banks involved in the transaction, who process the payment.

The "sponsor bank" system controls access to SEPA Direct Debit. A collector must first find a bank to sponsor them into the system. With GoCardless, however, there's no need to arrange a banking deal of your own - you can submit payments through us (and our sponsor bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland).

Receiving updates from the banks

Once payments have been submitted, it takes several days for them to clear (more on timings in a separate post). To help manage this delayed clearing, and to inform collectors if anything goes wrong, the banks send collectors messages. To avoid any ambiguity, these messages are sent as two-letter codes.

In many cases, such as a change in a customer's bank details, the banks' messages can be responded to automatically. In others, such as when a payment fails due to lack of funds, the response is up to the collector (e.g., whether to retry the payment).

Understanding and responding to these messages is crucial to collecting SEPA Direct Debit payments. GoCardless puts them in the context of your payments, and automates the response when it's clear. When it's not we describe the choices to you clearly.

How to get access

GoCardless will be beta testing SEPA Direct Debit in the coming weeks. Initially, we'll allow UK-based merchants to collect from select European countries. We'll then expand the countries we collect from to cover all of SEPA, and begin to serve non-UK merchants.

To be part of the GoCardless beta test register your interest here.

in Business

SEPA Direct Debit - an introduction

In a few months, GoCardless will become one of the first Direct Debit companies to offer collection from across Europe. We'll be doing this using the new SEPA Direct Debit scheme.

What is SEPA Direct Debit?

SEPA Direct Debit is a new payment scheme for collecting from any bank account in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

The SEPA scheme works similarly to Direct Debit in the UK:

  • Payers authorise merchants to take variable future payments from their account by issuing them a mandate
  • Once this authorisation is in place, the merchant just needs to notify the customer before taking the payment automatically

SEPA's key innovation is to create a single system for collecting from across the Euro area. This pan-European system supersedes the national Direct Debit schemes it currently operates alongside. In February 2014 it will formally replace them.

Differences to UK Direct Debit

There are a few key features of SEPA Direct Debit that differ from the UK system:

  1. Currency - All SEPA Direct Debit transactions happen in Euros (even if the relevant accounts aren't in Euros). Any currency exchange required is up to the payer's and collector's banks
  2. Chargebacks - Under SEPA, payer's can query payments and get a refund from their bank for up to 13 months. Under UK Direct Debit the chargeback period is unlimited
  3. Bank details - To collect using SEPA Direct Debit, you need a customer's BIC and IBAN. Generally these can be generated from details the customer is more familiar with

In addition there are a lot of differences 'under the hood'. The way mandates are stored, payment timings, and the submission process are all different. I'll write more about these implementation details in a subsequent post, but for now it's worth noting that using GoCardless abstracts them away.

Where can and can't you collect from?

SEPA Direct Debit allows collection from almost all Euro-denominated bank accounts in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), including any account which is accessible by a national Direct Debit scheme. The accounts that are not accessible are generally savings accounts.

In addition, SEPA Direct Debit can be used to collect from some non-Euro accounts. Here, participation is at the discretion of the payer's bank, and GoCardless is in the process of determining each bank's policy.

How to get access

GoCardless will be beta testing SEPA Direct Debit in the coming weeks. Initially, we'll allow UK-based merchants to collect from select European countries. We'll then expand the countries we collect from to cover all of SEPA, and begin to serve non-UK merchants.

To be part of the GoCardless beta test register your interest here.

in Business, Engineering

Data-driven support

Here at GoCardless, we try to make all our decisions in a data-driven way. Staying customer-centric whilst we do so means making sense of all the interactions we have with our customers.

On the Customer Support team, we spend more time than anyone else speaking to customers. We generate a lot of rich but unstructured data: our email, calls and other interactions. Recently, we’ve been working on new ways to analyse it to improve our support and drive product development.

How things were

When I joined GoCardless we were providing great support but our tracking was ad-hoc. We were manually recording some interactions, but the data was patchy and the process was time-consuming.

Worse still, our support data wasn’t linked with the rest of our data, meaning we weren’t using what we did record. It was buried.

Enter Nodephone

We decided to begin our overhaul of support-tracking with our phone channel, and I set about building a new, metrics-driven system.

We had a good foundation to build on - all external calls come in on a Twilio number and are forwarded to phones in our office. To get good quality tracking I built a system called “Nodephone” to sit in the middle. Built in Node.js with the Express framework and Socket.io, it’s on the other end of Twilio, responding with TwiML, but it also communicates with GoCardless and a web interface.

Any incoming call is logged and looked up in our merchant records. We then display the call on a simple web interface, where the support agent can see the caller’s name and click straight through to their records. At the end of the call, they can add descriptive tags and notes.

Nodephone interface

Now when customers call we know who they are and can greet them personally! If we don’t recognise their number and we find out who they are on the call, we can save it from the web client for future calls.

All the data entered, alongside the duration of the call, is saved on the merchant’s account for future reference.

A logged call

Data, data, data

All that data we’re collecting has already proved incredibly useful since we can analyse it to find the trends. For example, we want to know between what hours we should provide support, so I graphed the number of calls in different hours of the day over a typical month:

Calls over hours of the day

Clearly the vast majority of people call between 9am and 6pm, so we decided to set our office hours for then. We also use this kind of data to inform recruitment for the customer support team.

We can also see why people are calling - that is, whether they’ve paid via GoCardless (customers), collected money (merchants) or are interested in taking GoCardless payments (prospects) from the tags:

A logged call

As a start-up that prides itself on reducing friction to signup we were amazed to see so many prospects trying to call us. What’s more, they were finding our number from parts of our site designed for our current users. From the data above, we decided to put our number front and centre on our merchant signup pages - check it out here.

The tags we logged on calls from merchants also showed that there was a lack of helpful information on the site to answer common questions, so we’re revamping our FAQs with a whole range of new content.

What’s next

We’ve built a powerful new automated metrics system for logging our phone calls.

Next we’re targeting our other support channels. We’ll be using Desk.com’s API to analyse our email support, providing the ability to do all sorts of calculations which aren’t possible with the software’s own analytics.

We're also going to build an internal dashboard so anyone can see the headline stats for support in a couple of clicks.

Over time, we want to make all our internal analytics as powerful as we can. If you find problems like this interesting, we’re hiring and would love to hear from you.

in Announcements, Business

Coming soon: Take payment across Europe with GoCardless

One of our most requested features is the ability to take payments across Europe. We are extremely excited to announce that this will be available from early next year. In fact we are already submitting test payments across Europe with selected pilot partners.

We will be offering the ability to take Direct Debit across Europe via a single API. This will be perfect for everything merchants already do in the UK such as recurring payments and B2B invoicing. It will also make it easier for you to collect in countries where people prefer to pay with their bank details, like Germany and the Netherlands.

Are you thinking about collecting Direct Debit across Europe? Get in touch - our solution will save you significant amounts of time and money.

Register your interest using GoCardless across Europe here.

PS. If you have a second to spare we would love to hear which countries matter most to you, and what problems you are currently experiencing that we may be able to help with.

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What do customers see when they use GoCardless?

We know how important it is to see what your customers are seeing, so we've put together a screen by screen walkthrough of the payment process with GoCardless. This blog post will show you how simple and quick using GoCardless is for your customers, as well as which elements of the payment pages you can customise.

Your customers will enter their details on our secure payment pages, and we'll immediately redirect them back to your site when they complete the payment process.

Example payment page

An example of the payment page a customer sees is above. Its simplicity speaks for itself, but some key points to note are:

  1. We only ask your customers for absolutely required information
  2. You can add your own branding by sending us a logo to show in the top left (alternatively we can just put your company name there)
  3. The page clearly tells the customer what they're purchasing. The name and description of the item(s) is as chosen by you
  4. More information about our credentials is instantly available, so customers can pay with confidence

Once we've collected the essential payment details from your customer we ask them to confirm the payment, and that's it! Payment done. We'll redirect the customer to the URL of your choice and send them an email confirming their payment.

If you're curious, and want to click through the process yourself you can do so by going to our example payment page. Feel free to use the dummy bank details from screen 2 in the walkthrough above when you do so (we'll never submit payments to the banks from that site anyway, so using your own details is also fine).

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Payment Timings Explained

GoCardless provides an easy way to collect money online via Direct Debit. As we're not using card networks, our payment timings are slightly different.

In short, payments take 7 business days to reach your account, from when the customer pays.

Read on for a more detailed explanation. Note that each number (of days) below should be considered +/- 1 working day due to the nature of the Direct Debit system.

Receiving funds with GoCardless

When a customer initiates a payment through GoCardless, it takes three working days to establish a 'Direct Debit Instruction' (DDI) between us (GoCardless) and the customer's bank. It then takes a further two working days to take the payment.

The DDI only needs to be established once, so subsequent payments only take two working days.

We have a seven working day holding period. This means that we make daily payouts to merchants comprised of all payments initiated seven working days earlier. These payouts can take up to two working days to arrive.

The customers' experience

When a customer pays with GoCardless for the first time, funds will be withdrawn from their bank account approximately five working days after the payment is initiated. Subsequent payments will be withdrawn from their bank account two working days after the payment is initiated.

When can a payment be considered 'confirmed'?

We receive funds from customers' bank accounts either five working days after the payment is initiated (for first-time customers) or two days after the payment is initiated (for returning customers).

When we receive the funds we send a notification to your server called a webhook. Receiving a 'bill paid' webhook is the best moment to consider a payment 'confirmed'.

You can check the status of payments made to you at any time by logging in to your dashboard and clicking the 'Payments' tab. Clicking individual payments displays a pop-up with more detailed information about the payment status and timings.

Once the payment has been initiated there are only very limited circumstances in which the payment will not be completed i.e. the payment is cancelled or their are insufficient funds in the customer's bank account.

Receiving payments through our partners

If you're using one of our partner services then you should be able to check the status of payments from within that service.

For example, in KashFlow you can can check the status of payments by clicking the 'Customers' tab, clicking the relevant customer then looking in the 'Invoices' table. 'Payment status' is the far right column.


If this post hasn't answered your question about payment timings then please don't hesitate to email us and we'll help you out.