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How do you get access to SEPA Direct Debit?

Rob Keating
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Last editedApr 20232 min read

How to set up SEPA Direct Debit, and all of your available options.

There are four broad options available for merchants wishing to set up SEPA Direct Debit:

  1. Direct access

  2. Bureaus

  3. Payment Service Providers (PSPs)

  4. GoCardless

Direct access

Direct access is a method where the merchant manages SEPA Direct Debit collection completely in-house. To do this, a merchant will need to set up a Creditor Identifier with a preferred bank. For details on getting a Creditor Identifier please see our guide to Creditor Identifiers.

How to collect SEPA Direct Debit payments with GoCardless


Create your free GoCardless account, access your user-friendly payments dashboard & connect your accounting software (if you use one).


Easily set up & schedule SEPA Direct Debit payments via payment pages on your website checkout or secure payment links.


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Once granted a Creditor Identifier, the merchant will need to ensure that its systems and processes are SEPA compliant. For further details on what this will involve see our guide to getting ready for SEPA. The organization will also need to ensure that it has the technical expertise in-house to collect, store, submit payment information correctly, and correctly interpret messages from banks. This may require hiring staff and undertaking training.

Setting up direct access to SEPA Direct Debit with your bank can be time-consuming and expensive. For large companies with a high volume of payments, the low transaction fees associated with direct access may outweigh the initial set up and overhead challenges and costs.

Submitting indirectly

If you would prefer for someone else to manage the complexities of collecting SEPA Direct Debit, you can outsource to a third party, such as a Direct Debit bureau. GoCardless can also set up and manage SEPA Direct Debit collections on your behalf.

Direct Debit bureaus

Direct Debit bureaus are specialists in Direct Debit, acting as a more simplified access point to Direct Debit compared to businesses attempting direct access. There are a number of non-European Direct Debit bureaus that support SEPA - most through partnerships with local European providers.

Payment Service Providers (PSPs)

Payment Service Providers are generalists who tend to aggregate many different payment methods available in different countries. Some PSPs include SEPA Direct Debit as part of their offering, such as Adyen. PSPs are a great way to offer your customers multiple payment methods (e.g. cards, Direct Debit, and other local payment instruments), but they may not support certain Direct Debit schemes or provide specialist Direct Debit support to their customers.

A better solution for SEPA Direct Debit collection: GoCardless

GoCardless is an online SEPA Direct Debit specialist that manages the entire collection process on your behalf. Merchants can manage their payments using our simple online dashboard, connecting to their existing accounting software, or via an integration with our REST API.

GoCardless merchants do not need to update their systems to XML message formats and IBAN/BIC account details. GoCardless will collect IBAN or local bank details directly from your customers, automatically select the correct BIC and will submit, receive, interpret and action bank messages for you. All payment statuses are available in real-time in our dashboard or via our API.

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

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

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