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:
Payment Service Providers (PSPs)
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.
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.
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.
GoCardless is an online SEPA Direct Debit specialist that manages the entire collection process on your behalf. Merchants can manage their payments using an online dashboard or can integrate 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.
Your customer can set up SEPA Direct Debit payments to you online using your own online mandate form or GoCardless' pages. You can view an example of the online form for customers to complete (see here) and of a SEPA compliant mandate (see here). As soon as a mandate is in place, you can automatically collect one-off or recurring payments from that customer.
Our pricing is simple and transparent. There are no set-up charges or hidden fees.