How to send Direct Debit notifications

This guide will help to understand different types of notifications that can be sent to customers in accordance with BECS regulation and GoCardless best practice.

There are three types of notifications that can be sent to customers to inform them of their Direct Debit activity:

  • Service agreement - required
  • Direct Debit Request (DDR) set-up confirmation - GoCardless recommended
  • Pre-payment notifications - GoCardless recommended

Is it a requirement by BECS to send the customer a copy of the service agreement upon authorisation. The DDR confirmation and pre-payment notifications are not required by the scheme but it is a great way of keeping customers informed and retaining a great relationship with them.

Customer notifications and GoCardless

At GoCardless, we ensure that all three notifications are communicated to customers on the merchant’s behalf. If a merchant wishes to create and send their own notifications, they can do so with GoCardless Pro.

DDR confirmation and service agreement notifications

A DDR confirmation email lets your customers know that they have successfully set up an authorisation for a merchant to collect payments from their bank account in accordance with their service agreement.

At GoCardless, the DDR set up and service agreement notifications are sent within the same email.

How to send DDR confirmation and service agreement notifications

GoCardless recommends that you include the following information in the DDR confirmation notification, if you are creating and sending your own notifications to customers:

  • A heading describing the reason for the notification “Important: Confirmation of the setup of your Direct Debit to [Merchant]”
  • A statement acknowledging that the merchant is authorised to debit the customer’s bank account
  • The payer's redacted bank details, the DDR reference and the name on the User ID (what will show on the customer’s bank statement)
  • A link or a PDF copy of the service agreement (required by BECS)
    • As an integrator, you can find this information here
  • The address and phone number of the merchant

Changes to a service agreement

If any changes are made to a service agreement between the customer and the merchant, they must be notified with 14 days advance warning.

With GoCardless, this 14 day advance warning is required when there is a change of the merchant legal name which appears on the service agreement.

Pre-payment notifications

Pre-payment notifications can be sent to a customer before a Direct Debit payment to ensure they are fully aware when they will be charged.

How to send Direct Debit notifications

As best practice, GoCardless recommends that you follow the steps below if you are creating and sending your own notifications to customers:

1. Email the customer with an appropriate notice period.

Why? This gives the customer time to ensure they have the sufficient funds in their account prior to collection.

How? Best practice is to send the email one working day prior to the Direct Debit payment.

2. Include the amount, due date and creditor ID.

Why? It will help the customer to identify the payment on their bank statement.

How? Send an email for each one-off payment or payments of varying amounts. If the customer is set-up with a subscription (i.e. Direct Debit payments of the same amount on a regular basis) only one email before the first payment outlining all future payments within that subscription is needed. However, if the frequency or amount changes a new notification should be sent.

3. Include the merchant’s contact details.

Why? The customer knows exactly how to get in touch with the merchant should they have a problem or question regarding their payment.

How? Simply ensure the merchant’s address or other contact details are displayed at some point in the email.

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