Frequently asked questions

Paid with GoCardless? Read our FAQ for customers

Overview

How can I use GoCardless?

There are three ways to use GoCardless:

  • Our dashboards - Set up and manage Direct Debit payments with your customers using our simple online dashboard.
  • Our account software partnerships - We work with a growing list of partners, so you can take payments within the online services you already use.
  • Our clean, RESTful API - Integrate GoCardless into your website using our REST API.

Who is GoCardless for?

Anyone can use GoCardless, but it is particularly great for B2B (business-to-business) and recurring payments.

We have integrated with many of the most popular accounting packages to enable easy invoicing and payment reconciliation.
Find out more here.

What can I not use GoCardless for?

GoCardless is great for many use cases. However, there are some limitations with our service. We aren't able to:

  • Let you take credit card payments - however you can use another payment provider alongside GoCardless.
  • Let you accept instant payments - Direct Debit payments take 3-5 working days to clear, so they're not ideal for goods that need to be shipped quickly.
  • Let you accept payments from non-UK bank accounts - Soon, we'll be available across the EU, and then further afield.

We're able to accept most kinds of customers but there are some exceptions - for full details, see our restricted activities page.

Are there any limits on the amount I can collect?

There are no limits on how many transactions you can make.

For a single transaction, the minimum amount is £1 and the maximum is £5,000. We may be able to increase this with additional verification checks.

How do I receive funds I have collected with GoCardless?

Funds you have collected are paid directly into your UK bank account, minus our fee.

When do I receive my payment?

All payments are paid out 3 working days from when the payment was collected.

We don't hold back any of your funds in reserve.

Do you take credit or debit cards?

No, GoCardless is a Direct Debit company.

Why is GoCardless better than the other options I'm considering?

Below are just some of the reasons why people choose us:

  • Reduced administration - Collect recurring and one-off payments automatically, or at the click of a button. We manage everything else for you.
  • Simple, low pricing - We charge 1% per transaction, and never more than £2. Scale pricing is available.
  • Powerful tools that suit you - Everything you need to set up, collect and manage Direct Debit payments with our simple online tool or REST API.
  • The personal touch - Our support team prides itself on being there to help whenever you need us.

Is GoCardless a Bacs-approved bureau?

Yes, GoCardless is a Bacs-approved bureau.

How it works

When do I receive my payment?

We automatically pay out funds to your specified bank account 3 working days after they're collected from your customer. You can see more details here.

What types of payments can I collect?

You can collect one-off, regular or variable Direct Debit payments with our simple online tool or the API.

How does the payment process work?

  • Using our online tool you can issue a request for authorisation to take Direct Debit payments from a customer in 2 clicks.
  • We email your customer a link to our payment authorisation page. To authorise they click the link and complete our secure checkout.
  • Once authorised, you can take payments from your customers automatically by adding them to a payment plan.
  • We will notify your customers every time a new payment is taken.

How does my customer authorise a payment?

You can trigger a request for authorisation from GoCardless by adding a customer, or send them a link to a plan yourself.

Your customer just needs to click the link and enter their details on our secure online payment page to set up a Direct Debit and authorise you to take future payments automatically.

Can customers sign up on my website?

Yes - you can either do this by integrating with our API or by generating a link for a payment plan and embedding this as a button on your website.

On clicking the button the customer will be sent to our secure online payment page where they can authorise the payment(s).

Can I set payments to start and end on a particular date?

Yes - you can easily customise the day, date, frequency and duration of payments.

Can I change a payment or payment plan once it has been created?

Provided your payment hasn't been submitted to the banks yet, you can easily cancel an existing payment or remove your customer from the plan and add them to a new one. All this can be done from within your dashboard in seconds.

How do I know if I've been paid?

Our online dashboard gives you real-time info on all your payments and customers, allowing you to check the status of a payment at any time.

Will you ever place limits on my account?

There are certain situations where it may be necessary to place restrictions on your account:

  • Where we believe that there may be a breach in the security of your account details;
  • Where we suspect the unauthorised or fraudulent use of your account;
  • Where we are required to by law.

If we ever do have to do this, rest assured we will notify you as soon as possible and make sure that there is always someone you can talk to to help resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

Signing up

What do I need to sign up?

We will need some personal details to help us verify your identity and some basic information on the company or organisation you are collecting for.

How do I test out the product?

After signing up online, we recommend trying to take a test payment from yourself. It takes less than 5 minutes and is completely risk-free.

Can I sign up if I'm not a registered company?

Yes - GoCardless is available to charities, registered companies and individuals.

If you're a company but you are not registered, you should sign up as an individual. This will not affect the operation of your account.

What do I do if I'm a developer?

Developers should sign up as normal. Once logged in, you can activate your developer account. Our API documentation can be viewed here.

Are there any commitments?

No. There are no commitments. Signing up just means that you create an account from which you can try the product; you can stop using it without paying us anything whatsoever.

Direct Debit

What is the Direct Debit Guarantee?

The Direct Debit Guarantee offers protection to customers paying by Direct Debit in the rare event that there is an error in a payment.

If a customer receives a refund they are not entitled to, they must pay it back at the organisation's request. Dispute resolution takes place outside of the Direct Debit scheme.

Do I need a Service User Number (SUN) or permission from my bank?

There is no need to talk to your bank either. We provide you with everything you need to sign up online and start taking payments.

What kind of payments is it good for?

They are particularly good for:

  • Regular payments (e.g., subscriptions or regular donations)
  • Customers with an ongoing relationship (e.g., account customers)
  • Invoicing for services (e.g., accountancy, tax advice, etc.)

What kind of payments isn't it good for?

  • Transactions which need an instant clearing (e.g., e-commerce)
  • High-value, one-off payments for liquid goods (e.g., gold bullion)
  • Transactions likely to experience chargebacks (e.g., gambling)

What are the payment timings for Direct Debit?

Unlike card payments, Direct Debits don't clear instantly. Instead, it takes 3 days to set up each new payer, and to collect from payers who you currently have a Direct Debit relationship with.

Once GoCardless has collected payment from your customer we hold the money for 3 working days before sending it directly to your bank account.

Can I collect one-off payments using Direct Debit?

Yes - although Direct Debit is most well-known for recurring payments, it can also be used to collect one-off payments.

Can I easily change Direct Debit provider?

Yes - the Direct Debit bulk change process allows you to move Direct Debits between providers easily.

GoCardless has experience managing the entire transfer process for several large merchants, including Greater Anglia Railways. Your existing customers won't need to take any action whatsoever, and we offer this service free of charge.

Security

How do I know my money is safe?

We are regulated as an Authorised Payment Institution by the Financial Conduct Authority and serve more businesses than any other Direct Debit provider.

All money collected is held in a secure client monies account with the RBS.

How does GoCardless protect my data?

Security is of utmost importance at GoCardless. We take a number of steps to ensure our customers' data remains safe at all times:

  • Our access to Direct Debit is provided by the UK's major banks, who have approved our systems.
  • All servers are hosted in secure datacentres located in Europe - data is never transmitted outside the EU.
  • Our financial data server is separated from our application server by multiple firewalls.
  • All client-server communication is 256-bit SSL encrypted. The banking system requires just 128-bit.

What do you do with my money before it is paid out?

All money collected is held in a secure client monies account held with the RBS.

Funds are held fully in accordance with safeguarding provisions.

Is it safe for my customers?

Your customers are fully protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee.

This entitles them to a full and immediate refund of any payments taken from their account in error.

Vulnerability Disclosure

We care deeply about keeping our users safe. If you believe you have discovered a vulnerability, we ask that you disclose it in a responsible manner. Sharing vulnerabilities publicly puts our entire user base at risk, so we urge you to keep issues private until we've had a chance to release a fix.

If you are interested in testing our service for vulnerabilities then we would appreciate any reports regarding our new dashboard and API, as the current dashboards will be replaced soon. You can sign up for a sandbox account to get started.

In recognition of your efforts, and as thanks for working with us to keep GoCardless safe, we offer financial rewards for responsible vulnerability disclosures. Rewards are issued at our discretion, determined by the severity of the issue.

Reporting issues

  • Email us at security@gocardless.com as soon as you become aware of the issue. Our GPG key id is 684ED3A3, and its fingerprint is 8A4C 2665 6632 8EC4 1C83 6BB4 D9E1 ADB2 684E D3A3
  • Include as much detail as possible, including steps for reproducing the issue
  • Do not exploit the vulnerability, except to demonstrate the issue to GoCardless staff
  • Please do not disclose the issue to anyone else before we've rolled out a fix

Reward eligibility

We appreciate the effort security researchers go to in order to keep the web safe, and we're keen to reward them for their work. However, we will not reward malicious behavior, or actions that deliberately cause a disruption to our service. Reward eligibility is decided on a case-by-case basis, but we will never provide rewards for:

  • Denial of service attacks
  • Using automated tools such as scanners and fuzzers as they can negatively impact our service, and create large amounts of noise that costs us time to clear up
  • Social engineering attacks
  • Physical attacks or threats against our staff or users

Customer Experience

Can I fill in the payment pages on my customer's behalf?

No - due to strict rules around Direct Debit, customers must fill in their payment details and go through the signup process themselves. However, we can prepopulate some of their details for them to make signup as easy as possible. See *Can information on the sign-up and payment pages be pre-populated?* below for further details.

Will my name appear on my customer's bank statement?

This depends on which of our products you're using. With GoCardless, your business will appear as the reference for the Direct Debit, with GoCardless as the recipient. You can customise how we display your business name on bank statements in the Settings page of your merchant dashboard.

With GoCardless Pro the recipient will be your company name, and you have control over what appears as the reference. There will be no indication that GoCardless facilitated the transaction.

Can I host the payment pages on my site?

Again this depends on which of our products you choose. With GoCardless, in order to comply with the Direct Debit scheme rules the payment pages are securely hosted on our site. You can redirect the customer to our payment page and we will redirect them back to your site. Alternatively you can allow them to access them via a pop-out from your site.

With GoCardless Pro, you can host the payment pages on your own site so will not need to redirect customers.

Do you offer iFrames?

No - we do not offer iFraming of our payment pages.

Can payments be made directly via the API?

Only once authorisation is in place. Customers must be sent to our secure payment pages to give initial authorisation of the Direct Debit.

To make this as easy as possible for your clients, you can pass their personal information to us via the API to prepopulate the form.

Once authorisation is in place payment can be requested via the API.

Can information on the sign-up and payment pages be pre-populated?

Yes - to make this as easy as possible for your clients, you can pass their personal information to us via the API to prepopulate the forms.

The only information we cannot pre-populate are their bank details.

Can customers pay from their mobile?

Yes - GoCardless is compatible with mobiles and tablets. Our payment pages will work in any Internet browser.

How can customers keep track of their payment history?

As part of setting up a payment, your customer will create a GoCardless account. From then on, they can log in to view their dashboard, including details of all their transactions.

International payments

Can only UK businesses use GoCardless?

Yes for the time being, unless you use GoCardless Pro.

When can I collect from Europe?

With GoCardless, any merchant registered in the U.K. can collect from the Single European Payments Area. You will need to have a Euro account open in the UK or a Eurozone country.

If you take more than 500 payments a month and want to use our Pro solution, you can be registered anywhere in the world.

Where in Europe can I collect from?

You can collect from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

What is SEPA Direct Debit?

SEPA Direct Debit is a new payments scheme which allows you to collect from any bank account in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). It works similarly to Direct Debit in the UK.

Read more about it in our guide to the SEPA Direct Debit scheme.

Which currencies does GoCardless support?

We support payments in GBP and EUR (with our SEPA Direct Debit product).

Will international payments cost the same as UK?

International payments will cost 1% per transaction (capped at €2).

When will GoCardless be available outside Europe?

We are working very hard to expand to more countries in 2015.

Developer API

What can I use the API for?

Our REST API allows developers to easily create powerful integrations with GoCardless. See our documentation to find out more.

You can integrate as a Merchant to take payments on your own behalf, or integrate as a Partner to create and manage multiple merchants.

How does the Partner API work?

A Partner integration allows your customers to quickly and easily create a GoCardless account without copying and pasting API keys.

This account will be linked to your Master Merchant account so that you can manage these accounts and process payment requests on their behalf.

For further information see the "Partner" section of this FAQ or our partner API guide.

What programming languages can I use?

We have client libraries for Ruby, PHP, Java, Python, .NET. If you need any help with these, just drop by our IRC chat (#gocardless on irc.freenode.net) for details.

Using a different language? No problem - our standards-compliant REST API can be used with just about any programming language

Can I host the payment pages on my site?

No - in order to comply with the Direct Debit scheme rules the payment pages are securely hosted on our site.

You can redirect the customer to our payment page and we will redirect them back to your site. Alternatively you can allow them to access them via a pop-out from your site.

Do you offer iFrames?

No - we do not offer iFraming of our payment pages as we are not sufficiently comfortable with the reliability and security of iFrames.

Can payments be made directly via the API?

Only once authorisation is in place. Customers must be sent to our secure payment pages to give initial authorisation of the Direct Debit.

To make this as easy as possible for your clients, you can pass their personal information to us via the API to prepopulate the form.

Once authorisation is in place payment can be requested via the API.

What information do you make available via the API?

GoCardless provides webhooks to notify Merchants of any changes in the status of its resources. One extremely useful example is determining when a bill has been paid.

You can find out more about available webhooks and how to use them in our webhook guide.

Where can I get technical support?

You can email us at help@gocardless.com. We also have a live chat room which can be found in #gocardless on irc.freenode.net. Our developers are on hand 9am-6pm, Mon-Fri to help with your technical queries.

A number of detailed product guides are also available in our Help Centre.

Partners

What is a partner?

A partner is someone who uses the GoCardless API to create and manage multiple merchants. Partnering with GoCardless allows your customers to take payment from within your application.

For further information check out our partner API guide.

Who are existing partners?

GoCardless is integrated into a variety of accounting packages and popular services. Current partners include:

Can I take a revenue share?

Yes - we offer partners a revenue share of 10% of transaction fees.

How can I become a partner?

Just email us at help@gocardless.com with a short description of your application, and we'll get right back to you.

How does it work for my users?

A Partner integration allows your customers to quickly and easily create a GoCardless account without copying and pasting API keys.

This account will be linked to your Master Merchant account so that you can manage these accounts and process payment requests on their behalf.

Can I display payment information in my application?

Yes - GoCardless provides webhooks to notify Merchants of any changes in the status of its resources. One extremely useful example is determining when a bill has been paid.

You can find out more about available webhooks and how to use them in our webhook guide.

Can I host the payment pages on my site?

No - in order to comply with the Direct Debit scheme rules the payment pages are securely hosted on our site.

You can redirect the customer to our payment page and we will redirect them back to your site. Alternatively you can allow them to access them via a pop-out from your site.

To make this as easy as possible for your customers, you can pass information to us via the API to pre-populate the form.

Do you offer iFrames?

No - we do not offer iFraming of our payment pages as we are not sufficiently comfortable with the reliability and security of iFrames.

Do you work with crowd-funding sites?

Yes - we are pleased to work with some of the UK's leading crowd-funding sites, including Crowdcube and Peoplefund.it.

Because of the risk profile of crowd-funding payments we charge a different fee: 0.5% of the transaction, with no cap.

Referral scheme

What is the GoCardless Referral scheme?

The referral scheme lets you earn money by recommending GoCardless. Refer anyone to GoCardless and we will give you both £50 credit each towards your GoCardless fees.

Find out more here.

Who is eligible to make a referral?

Anyone with a GoCardless account can make referrals. It doesn't matter if you're a merchant or a reseller.

You can find your referral link here.

What qualifies as a successful referral?

A referral just needs to click your referral link and sign-up. We will immediately give both of you £50 of GoCardless fee credits.

How will I know how many referrals I have made?

Everyone who signs up after clicking your referral link will be displayed in the referrals section of your account. We'll show when they signed-up and how much commission they've earned you. We'll also email you the moment someone signs up.

Is there a limit to the number of referrals I can make?

No. But referrals are most effective when they are relevant.

Find out more about the best Direct Debit use cases.

How do I share my referral link?

However you want. Feel free to email it out to people, tell them about it in person, or blog about it to a wider audience.

Please don't try to abuse the system though - this is in contravention of our Terms of Service.

Where can I find my referral link?

Your unique referral code will be displayed in the referral section of your GoCardless account. It is accessible from your dashboard settings and does not expire.

How do I get my credit?

We'll collect your fees as usual, and will pay you a rebate every month up to your £50 credit. We will send you an email summary at the same time. You can check how much commission you have earned anytime in your account settings.

Can I send the referral to a different page on the site?

Yes. By default your referral link will go to the GoCardless home page. To send people to a different page, take the query string from the end of the referral link and add it to the end of any GoCardless URL.

The query string is the bit that looks like this: "?r=1ABC23DE45". For example, to send them to the sign-up page you would change the URL to: https://gocardless.com/merchants/new?r=1ABC23DE45.

Does my link expire?

No - your link will not expire.

What if someone I refer forgets to use my link?

Just let us know if someone you refer forgets to use your referral link, or the referral is not tracked for any reason - we can activate the referral link for you.