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Transferring Direct Debit mandates - the bulk change process

Rob Keating
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Last editedMay 2022

The bulk change process is a simple way to transfer your existing Direct Debit mandates over to another provider

To change a Direct Debit mandate, the customer, organisation, and bank need to be notified. Changes to the details of Direct Debit payments can be made over the phone, via secure online banking, or by visiting your local branch. Any changes to a Direct Debit can take up to 10 workings days to clear.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of transferring your Direct Debit mandates to another Direct Debit provider. We'll also address some of the most frequently asked questions about the bulk change process.

What is bulk change and how does it work?

Bulk change is the process for updating Direct Debit mandates. It allows the merchant name, reference and SUN on a mandate to be changed, as long as:

  • Customers are notified of the change (although they don't need to take any action)
  • The new SUN owner agrees (if relevant) and so does their sponsor bank
  • The old SUN owner agrees (if relevant) and can assist in the transfer

How do I transfer my Direct Debit mandates to GoCardless?

GoCardless has managed the entire transfer process for merchants such as Boost Capital and SLM Connect. We’ve processed over 250 bulk changes, and will work with you to handle the whole process without causing any disturbance to your customers. Your existing customers won't need to take any action whatsoever, and we offer our whole transfer process service free of charge.

I want to switch to GoCardless from my current Direct Debit provider. Do I need to get authorisation from them?

Yes, you’ll need to get their agreement before proceeding.

Do I need to notify my customers?

Yes, you need to inform them of the change in writing, using bank-approved wording. An example letter is available here. Customers don’t need to opt-in or set up new mandates, as their original authorisation to you as the merchant is sufficient.

How long does the process take?

Timelines are the same for each type of mandate. However, in reality, the actual timeline may differ based on various parties involved, for example one bureau may be slower than another at processing paperwork.

Here’s an example of the timeline for changing the SUN:

  • 4+ weeks before

    Inform new and old SUN owners of the change. The sponsor banks for each SUN must then agree to the change.

  • 3 weeks before

    Complete and submit two forms to the sponsor bank of the new SUN owner:

    1. The Bulk Change Deed. transfers liability for indemnity claims to the new SUN owner
    2. The Notification of Change Form. informs the new SUN owner's sponsor bank of the size and date of the change

  • 0-3 weeks before

    Notify payers of the change in writing using bank-approved wording. An example letter to payers is available here.

  • 2 working days before

    Submit final payments under old SUN.

  • Change date

    Process the change. Bulk changes are processed by cancelling the original mandates at the same time as creating new ones.

  • 3 working days after

    Payments can be submitted using the new SUN from this day onwards.

How do I transfer mandates between Direct Debit providers?

Since the bulk change process allows the SUN field to be updated, it also allows mandates to be transferred between Direct Debit providers. The SUN field simply needs updating to that of the new provider. The following transfers are possible:

  • Your own SUN --> Third party provider
  • Third party provider --> Third party provider
  • Third party provider --> Your own SUN

Transfers follow the same timeline as any other bulk change, and no input is required from your customers.

Can I continue to collect payments from my customers during the bulk change process?

Yes, you can. GoCardless will handle the whole process so that your customers remain completely undisturbed.

Will I need to set up my payments again?

Yes, exactly the same way as before, whether using the GoCardless dashboard, via our API or with a partner integration. Contact our customer support for further help.

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