BECS Direct Debit is not an instant payment method, as payments take at least one working day to reach your bank account.
Direct Debit file exchanges between banks occur Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays. These file exchanges contain the information necessary to debit the customer’s account and credit the Debit User’s account. Cut off timings for the file exchanges vary from bank to bank, and you’ll need to speak to your bank for further information.
Let’s assume that a Debit User submits files to their bank by 6:00pm for the evening’s batch run by the bank. For files sent after that time, the files will not be received by other banks until the next morning and may be subject to a late processing fee.
Once your bank receives the file it will process the Direct Debit requests and send a copy to your customer’s bank via BECS.
Your customer’s bank will then accept the file and attempt to debit your customer’s bank account. As long as you send your file to your bank by the cut off time, and the payments are successful, the requested funds should be in your account by 9:00am the next business day.
Once the file has been processed, you’ll receive a report detailing any failed transactions. Some banks will notify you of a return as soon as they know on Day 1. But the scheme rules allow banks to send returns or refusals by the close of Day 1, meaning you may not receive notification of any returns or refusals until Day 2.
Even though Direct Debit is known as a ‘next day settlement’ mechanism, the payment failure rules mean it can take up to 3 days to confirm that a payment has been successfully processed with Direct Debit.
Day 0 - File submitted to bank
Day 0 - Bank processes file and sends through BECS network
Day 0 - File available to your customer’s bank
Day 1 - Customer’s bank account debited
Day 1 - Debit User’s bank account credited
Day 1 - Customer’s bank sends through file with any returns or refusals
Day 1 or 2 - Your bank receives notification of any returns or refusals
Payment timings with GoCardless
GoCardless optimises the timings of all Direct Debit payments. We submit and receive messages from the bank on your behalf, complying with notification rules, file exchange timings and cut-off times. You can view the status of your payments at any time through our dashboard and API.