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How to set up customers to use Direct Debit (ACH)

Merchants often ask us to help them set their customers up to use bank debit. In this guide, we provide six simple steps to help you, the merchant, through the entire process.

By following these steps, our merchants have greatly increased customer sign ups, improved cash flow, and spent less time on processing payments. To set customers up to use bank debit, we recommend you do the following:

1. Send advance notice of the switch

2. Send a bank debit request

3. Send a reminder for customers who haven’t signed up

4. Follow up by phone for customers who haven’t signed up

5. Address any customer concerns

6. Send a personal reminder to any remaining customers

If you're already using bank debit, our bulk change process allows you to easily transfer your existing customers to a new provider.

1. Send advance notice of the switch to bank debit

First, notify all your customers that you’re planning to use bank debit to take payments. Ask customers to tell you if they have any questions or concerns, so you can address these as soon as possible.

You can use the below email template to tell your customers you’re moving to bank debit. This step isn’t strictly necessary, but many customers appreciate being notified early.

Hi [name],

Here at [your business], we want to save you time paying us each month. So, we’re moving all regular payments to bank debit.

Switching to bank debit will save you the hassle of manually paying each month. You’ll be notified of any upcoming payments, and you can cancel them whenever you want. What’s more, the bank debit Guarantee makes this the safest way to pay.

You will receive an [online/paper] bank debit Mandate form from us shortly. We would be grateful if you could [complete it/return it] by [due date].

If you have any questions, call us on [your phone number].

Regards,

[your name]

2. Send a bank debit request to all your customers

The below template provides customers with a brief explanation of what will happen and gives them a further chance to ask questions. You can use it to send the mandate form to your customers.

Hi [name],

Further to my email last week, we’re now moving your payments to bank debit. To set up your bank debit payment, please [complete this secure online mandate form/ return the enclosed mandate form] before [due date].

When you have done so, we will start billing you according to the agreed payment schedule. You’ll be notified of upcoming payments by [email/letter], and you can cancel them if you want.

Your invoice for this month’s work is attached. We will bill this against the bank debit once you have set it up.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Regards,

[your name]

3. Send a reminder to any customers who haven’t set up a bank debit

If you are still waiting to hear back from a customer a week later, you can use this template to remind them to return the mandate to you:

Hi [name],

This is a reminder that we would like you to set up payment by bank debit. Your invoice for this month’s work is attached.

We will bill you against this invoice once you have set the bank debit, so please [complete the secure online mandate form/return the enclosed mandate form] before [due date].

Let me know if you have any questions.

Regards,

[your name]

4. Follow-up by phone with anyone who still hasn’t responded

If some customers still haven’t set up an authorization, it’s best to call them a few days before the cut-off date. Explain what they need to do and how it will benefit them.

Our merchants have found that the following explanations work well:

  • Paying by bank debit saves time - you only have to do it once and we’ll do everything else for you

  • You can set up your payments instantly using paperless bank debit

  • You’re more protected as a consumer

  • bank debit saves us admin. time, so we can focus on giving you great service

5. Send a personal reminder to any remaining customers

If any customers still haven’t set up a mandate, it may help to send them a personal reminder. The below template lets you resend the mandate so your customer can return the form to you without needing to search for it again.

Hi [name],

We spoke on the phone last week about moving your regular invoice payments to bank debit, but I noticed that you haven’t had a chance to fill out the mandate form yet.

[Please click the link below to set up your bank debit today, before your invoice due date on [due date].]

Your invoice for this month’s work is attached, and we will bill you against this invoice once you have set the bank debit.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Regards,

[your name]

GoCardless makes moving your customers over even easier

In our experience, the above steps help merchants move customers over to bank debit quickly and easily. To make the process even smoother, we offer you the ability to:

  • Move your customers over automatically. If you’re already using bank debit, our bulk change system means that you can transfer all your existing customers over without them doing anything.

  • Add ‘Pay now’ links to your invoices. This allows your customers to click through to the GoCardless payment page directly from an invoice and set up the payment immediately.

  • Offer customers flexible payment dates. GoCardless lets you submit payments every day of the month which gives you the option of offering your customers more flexible payment dates.

GoCardless makes it easy to collect recurring payments

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