Direct Debit for SaaS companies

Direct Debit helps SaaS companies reduce failed payments and admin and gives them flexibility to upgrade subscriptions or payment plans.


Software as a Service (SaaS) companies increasingly charge on a subscription basis. Traditionally, the only option available for taking these payments online was credit card. Now, an increasing number of businesses are turning to Direct Debit.

GoCardless helps hundreds of SaaS companies, from start-ups to established providers, to cut their costs by taking Direct Debit payments online. 

Three benefits your SaaS company could get by switching to Direct Debit tomorrow

  1. Gives complete flexibility to upgrade and downgrade subscriptions or payment plans
  2. Reduces failed payments/churn
  3. Reduce internal payment and accounting admin

1. Direct Debit gives you complete flexibility to upgrade and downgrade subscriptions

SaaS company customers may, from time to time, want to upgrade or downgrade their subscription. With Direct Debit, you can maximise conversions to upgrades as customers don't need to re-authorise their payment. Your customer just gives you a single authorisation on sign up - this allows you to take payments of any amount without asking them to do anything more. 

This flexibility also lets you charge customers depending on how much they use that month without needing a new authorisation every month. 

2. Direct Debit helps you reduce failed payments

Traditionally, the only option for taking payments online was to use credit cards. Roughly
5-10% of card payments fail each month due to card expiry or cancellation. This is a bad experience for your customers, creates unnecessary work for them having to update their details and worst of all, if they forget, may result in their subscription lapsing. By contrast, Direct Debit payments use a customer’s bank details, which rarely expire or change.

3. Direct Debit reduces admin time through automation

Direct Debit can be entirely automated, by integrating GoCardless's REST API with your website, CRM and accounts. Payments are automatically taken and tracked each month. This significantly reduces the time needed to manage them.

Agent Analytics, switched to GoCardless looking for a payment method, which would help the company grow. Founder Tim Hammond explains:

“Since we moved to GoCardless we’ve grown 10x without needing an accounts department. GoCardless is one of those things that you can set and forget – I know it’s there and I know it’s doing its job. It’s an enabler and I want to keep expanding our business with it.”

How to get started with Direct Debit

You can start taking payments by Direct Debit using a bank, bureau or GoCardless. If you would like to find out more about any of these options you may find our 60 second guide to Direct Debit providers helpful. 

GoCardless is the UK’s leading Direct Debit payments provider. It lets you automate the whole payment process and manage everything online. It offers:

  • Quick and easy sign up. You can You can sign up instantly and for free.
  • Easy and efficient management. You can collect recurring and one-off payments automatically, or at the click of a button. We manage everything else for you. We are also integrated with many of the most popular accounting packages to enable easy invoicing and payment reconciliation.
  • Simple, low pricing. All it costs is 1% per transaction, capped at £2. Scale pricing is also available. Many SaaS startups also choose GoCardless due to the absence of set-up costs and fixed monthly fees.
  • Simple online dashboard and REST API. Some Direct Debit Bureaus provide an API which you can plug into. GoCardless offers a simple online dashboard and REST API, which allow you to integrate GoCardless with your website and CRM. 

For more information on the Direct Debit system, read our overview of how Direct Debit works. You can also watch a short video on how GoCardless allows you to save time and money when collecting payments using Direct Debit.

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