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Telephone mandates

Rob Keating
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Last editedMay 20223 min read

How to set up SEPA Direct Debit mandates over the phone.

The organisation responsible for the oversight of SEPA Direct Debit, the European Payments Council (EPC), states in a clarification letter that a mandate is the expression of consent between a payer and a company, without specifying the specifics of how consent must be given.

That allows merchants to set up SEPA Direct Debit mandates over the phone, as long as they record the consent given in accordance with the relevant national legislation.

The following guidance is from the Irish Payment Services Organisation (IPSO) and applies to SEPA Direct Debit in Ireland. GoCardless can advise on its applicability to other countries, as well as scripts for other languages.

To create fully compliant telephone mandates, you will need to:

  1. Record and store the phone conversation.

  2. Adhere to a telephone mandate script.

  3. Send a confirmation letter by email or mail.

1) Record and store the phone conversation

Why? To keep a trace of the telephone mandate.

How? Agree with the payer that the call will be recorded.

You will need to store the audio files securely up to 36 months after the final Direct Debit collection, or up to 13 months after a mandate is cancelled by the payer.

2) Adhere to a telephone mandate script

Why? To establish a telephone mandate.

How? Follow a defined script.

The following script is provided by the Irish Payment Services Organisation. After the payer has agreed to pay by SEPA Direct Debit the following should be said:

  • Your company representative: Thank you for agreeing to pay by SEPA Direct Debit. I can now set up your mandate over the phone. Would that be helpful?

[Payer agrees.]

  • Representative: OK that’s fine. Now I just need to record your bank account details. Could I please have your name and your IBAN? These can be found on your bank statement.

[Payer gives information.]

  • Representative: Please confirm that you are authorized to allow Direct Debits to be collected from this account.

[If the payer does not confirm: Close call and request different method of payment.]

[If the payer confirms, continue as below.]

  • Representative: Can you confirm that the account can accept Direct Debits?

[If the payer does not confirm: Close call and request different method of payment.]

[If the payer is unsure: Ask if they have used this account to make Direct Debit payments before.]

[If the payer confirms, continue as below.]

  • Representative: Now that we have recorded your bank details is there a particular day of the month you would like the money to come out of your account? For instance, just after you have been paid?

[Payer agrees on most suitable day, or has no preference.]

  • Representative: We will advise you, in advance, of the date and amount that will be collected. This notification will be provided by notifying you of the amount(s) and date(s) of a series of payments, or through a monthly / bi-monthly bill / invoice. You will receive this notification 3 days in advance of the collection date. We will send you this notification via post, email, or text. Could you confirm / give your address, email or telephone number?

[Payer gives the relevant contact information.]

  • Representative: That’s it, you have set up your SEPA Direct Debit mandate. You will be sent confirmation of this agreement [via post or email] within 3 working days of this phone call. In the future, if there is a change to the date, amount or frequency of your Direct Debit, we will notify you in advance of your account being debited. [Confirm how notification will be made via post, email or text.]

  • Representative: You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by writing in good time to [your company name] and informing your bank by whatever means is acceptable to them.

  • Representative: Now I just want to confirm your bank account details. Your account name is [repeat account name], your IBAN is [repeat IBAN]. Is that correct?

[Payer agrees.]

  • Representative: That completes the setting up of your Direct Debit mandate. If you have any other queries please contact us.

3) Send a confirmation letter by email or mail

Why? Ensures the customer understands that a SEPA Direct Debit has been set up.

How? Send shortly after phone conversation.

Your confirmation letter must:

  • Include the mandate reference

  • Link to the SEPA Direct Debit mandate, or have this attached

  • Include your contact details

An example confirmation email and PDF mandate, as used by GoCardless, is below:

guides > images > sepa-email-confirmation
guides > images > sepa-mandate

SEPA Direct Debit and GoCardless

GoCardless Pro enables you to setup SEPA Direct Debit over the phone, and capture mandate information directly in your systems. Our Account Executive will support you during your implementation of compliance guidelines for telephone mandates.

GoCardless can send compliant confirmation emails after a telephone mandate has been set up. We cover all major European languages and automatically send emails in the language of the payer.

To find out more about collecting SEPA Direct Debit payments, or to register your interest with GoCardless, visit our homepage.

Over 70,000 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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