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What to do if gym direct debit collection fails?

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Last editedMar 20232 min read

Gym direct debit collection has significant benefits for both gyms and their customers. It makes it easy for merchants to create payments. It allows customers to make their payments without any effort. That said, it’s still advisable to take steps to minimize payment failures. You also need to be prepared to deal with them when they happen. Here are some tips to help.

Minimizing payment failures

In gym payment processing, the key to minimizing payment failures is communication. Firstly, make sure that your members are clear on what they are due to pay and when. Secondly, make sure your members know to contact you if their circumstances change. 

Updating bank details

One of the major benefits of gym direct debit collection is that it eliminates the need to keep updating customers’ card details. A member’s bank account details will stay the same unless they actually change their account. This is fairly rare. When it does happen, it’s easy to make the necessary changes in GoCardless.

Updating charge dates

What is likely to happen more often is that customers will want to update their charge date. For example, if they change jobs, they will want their membership taken on their new pay date, rather than their old one. It’s advisable to accommodate this as it can make collecting gym payments a lot easier.

How you go about making this change depends on how you use GoCardless. It is, however, possible regardless of whether you use the dashboard, a partner integration, or the API. You can also take a one-off payment to cover any payment gaps the change creates.

You may also find it helpful to offer weekly and/or fortnightly subscriptions as well as monthly ones. Remember, even though monthly pay is the standard in the UK, it’s definitely not the only option. For example, many agencies pay staff weekly. Also, many freelancing platforms have weekly or fortnightly pay-out cycles.

What to do if gym direct debit collection fails? 

Handling any payment failure requires striking a balance between robust credit control and maintaining the customer relationship. This is particularly important in gym payment processing.

On the one hand, gyms need reliable payments in order to survive. On the other hand, pushing too hard for these payments can lead to members canceling. For most people, gyms are discretionary expenses at the best of times. Arguably, they have become even more so since COVID-19. People now have all kinds of options for exercising elsewhere.

The solution is to press gently and considerately. Show flexibility where it’s justified. Here are some ways to put this into practice.

Consider using Success+

Success+ is GoCardless’ automated intelligent retries system. Essentially, it uses the customer’s spending history to determine when they are most likely to have money. It then automatically retries the payment when it is likely to succeed.

You can keep track of Success+ activities to see if the same customers regularly have their payments retried. If they do, you may want to reach out to them to see if they’d like to change their payment date.

Have a process for taking one-off payments

If a customer is having cash-flow issues, you could offer to take a one-off payment for a smaller amount than their standard fee. This could allow them to keep using the gym (to some extent) while they wait for their funds. You could then set the one-off payment against the amount they were due to be charged.

Offering this option could allow you to keep customers with irregular incomes such as the self-employed. It can also help out people with regular incomes who have been hit with unexpected expenses.

Avoid charging fees for failed payments

GoCardless only charges fees on successful transactions. There is no penalty if a transaction fails. That being so, it can be advisable for gyms to avoid charging their members fees if a payment fails. This can prompt them to churn.

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Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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