This guide will help you design and send compliant SEPA Direct Debit pre-notifications.
What is a pre-notification?
A pre-notification informs your customer when they can expect a single payment or regular subscription to leave their account. It is a mandatory requirement of SEPA Direct Debit, and can be sent by email, phone, via SMS, with an invoice, or in a letter.
To create fully compliant pre-notifications, you will need to:
Inform the customer with the appropriate notice period.
Include the amount, due date, mandate reference and creditor ID.
Include your contact details.
Throughout this guide, the examples are take from the GoCardless pre-notification emails.
1) Email the customer with the appropriate notice period
Why? Gives the customer the chance to ensure they have sufficient funds.
How? Send the pre-notification X calendar days (as agreed when the customer set up their mandate) before the payment leaves their account.
The pre-notification period agreed with your customer must be no longer than 14 days before the date that the payment is charged. Best practice is to agree to send pre-notifications three working days in advance.
2) Include the amount, due date, mandate reference and creditor ID
Why? Helps ensure the customer recognizes the charge on their statement.
How? Either send an email before each payment, or give details up front for a fixed subscription.
For recurring Direct Debits of the same amount, such as subscription plans, you only need to inform the payer before the first Direct Debit collection (if you include details of all future charge dates - e.g. "first working day of each month"). A new pre-notification is then only necessary if the amount or frequency changes.
Example of a pre-notification for a one-off or recurring variable amount:
Example of a pre-notification for a recurring amount with multiple collection dates:
3) Include your contact details
Why? Makes it easy for the customer to contact you with any queries, reducing chances of chargebacks.
How? Include a snippet in each email with your address.
SEPA Direct Debit and GoCardless
GoCardless is an end-to-end SEPA Direct Debit provider and can handle SEPA compliance on your behalf, or guide you through your own custom integration.
GoCardless can send compliant emails for SEPA Direct Debit on your behalf. We cover all major European languages and automatically send emails in the language of the payer. We automatically send emails three calendar days before a SEPA Direct Debit collection.
If you wish to send your own emails, you can do this with GoCardless Pro. Your Account Executive will support you during your implementation of compliance guidelines.
To find out more about collecting SEPA Direct Debit payments, or to register your interest with GoCardless, visit our homepage.