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BreadcrumbResourcesDirect Debit: A Beginner's Guide

Direct Debit Customer Protections

Direct Debit - also known as ACH Debit or bank debit - has protections in place to ensure it's a safe payment method for your customers. Learn about them here.

Both the ACH scheme rules and Federal Regulation E have measures in place to ensure your customers are protected when they make Direct Debit payments (otherwise known as ACH Debits or bank debits).

Your customers can request a return in any situation if they believe the payment was unauthorized, including:

  • If the customer never authorized payment

  • If the customer revoked authorization

  • If payment was processed earlier than authorized

  • If payment is for a higher amount than the amount authorized

  • If a corporate debit has been taken from a consumer account

This can help give them peace of mind when paying your via Direct Debit. You can learn about the returns process in our guide to customer protection in the ACH scheme.

How common are returns?

A very low number of Direct Debits are returned, although the rate does vary according to the type of business.

High-value goods (e.g. cars), liquid assets (e.g. currency), gambling, and payday loan services tend to be at greater risk of fraudulent returns.

How can I prevent fraudulent returns?

  1. Provide clear contact information and good customer service - This will encourage customers to channel their complaints to you first, before contacting their bank to request a refund.

  2. Send invoices in advance - This gives customers a chance to raise any issues and, if necessary, cancel a payment before it is made.

  3. Follow the ACH scheme rules - Make sure you, or your provider, precisely follow the rules around mandates and timings.

Minimize the risk of returns with GoCardless

GoCardless removes the stress of the payment returns process by helping you manage any returns.

If one of your customers requests a return, GoCardless will notify you, allowing you to review the request and ask us to retake the payment if appropriate. Our processes are designed to minimize the risk of unauthorized returns, and ensure you always abide by Nacha’s scheme rules.

Learn more about ACH Debit payments with GoCardless.

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