Frequently asked questions

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Direct Debit

What is SEPA Direct Debit?

SEPA Direct Debit is a new payment instrument introduced by the European Union in August 2014. It replaces the national Direct Debit schemes that operated previously. It allows companies to collect Euro-denominated funds from the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

What is the Consumer Protection?

Consumers have the right to be refunded of an authorised SEPA Direct Debit payment. Any refund request must be presented to their bank within 8 weeks of their account being debited.

Consumers can also ask for the immediate refund of an unauthorised or fraudulent SEPA Direct Debit payment. They must do so as soon as possible and at the latest 13 months after the date their account was debited.

A refund by the bank does not mean that the claim against the underlying bill is justified. It is up to the merchant to settle the commercial dispute between the customer and themselves.

Are there any fees for the customer?

No. With SEPA, banks are forced not to charge for Direct Debit transactions. It is therefore free for your customers.

Do I require a SEPA Creditor ID?

No. We can supply you with one via our partner bank.

What kind of payments is it good for?

They are particularly good for:

  • Regular payments (e.g., subscriptions or regular donations)
  • Customers with an ongoing relationship (e.g., account customers)
  • Invoicing for services (e.g., accountancy, tax advice, etc.)

What kind of payments isn't it good for?

  • Transactions which need an instant clearing (e.g., e-commerce)
  • High-value, one-off payments for liquid goods (e.g., gold bullion)
  • Transactions likely to experience chargebacks (e.g., gambling)

What are the payment timings for SEPA Direct Debit?

Unlike card payments, SEPA Direct Debit transactions don't clear instantly. Instead, you must submit a payment request 6 working days before the payment is due when you've just created a new mandate with your customer; and 3 working days afterwards.

Once GoCardless has collected payment from your customer you will receive the funds 3 working days later in your bank account.

Can I collect one-off payments using Direct Debit?

Yes - although Direct Debit is most well-known for recurring payments, it can also be used to collect one-off payments.

Can I easily change Direct Debit provider?

Yes - we just need to amend the SEPA mandate to add the name and Creditor Identifier of the new provider. Your customers must be notified of the change but won't need to take any action whatsoever.

GoCardless manages this change for you entirely. You have nothing to do and this service is free.