Last editedMar 20232 min read
What is a one-off payment?
One-off payments play a vital role in bringing income into your business. A one-off payment differs from a recurring payment by a customer simply paying once for goods or services, rather than having to set up a recurring payment. Even if your business operates mainly on a subscription basis, there are still some occasions for taking one-off payments from customers. These include:
Taking a first payment during the process of creating a recurring payment plan
Taking a payment to cover additional goods or services not covered by a wider scheduled payment plan
Topping up a customer account via a single payment, as distinct from ongoing recurring payments
Collecting when a recurring payment has failed
In the past, collecting a one-off charge of this kind was complex, which customers might find off-putting. The friction of collecting a one-off payment using traditional methods could affect customer satisfaction. In the digital age, customers now expect their interactions with businesses to be seamless.
Traditional methods for taking one-off payments
A bank debit is the ideal tool for collecting recurring payments, and the Direct Debits facilitated by GoCardless offer the advantage of being a ‘pull’ payment, placing the onus of collecting money onto your business rather than the customer having to send it. Such debits are less well to one-off payments, however, which were traditionally taken using methods such as payment cards and bank transfers. The first problem with taking a one-off payment in this manner is that introducing more than one payment method for a customer impacts negatively on their user experience.
The second issue is that the actual payment methods have intrinsic shortcomings – credit cards have relatively high failure rates and prohibitive transaction fees, while bank transfers offer a poor user experience. Simply, a bank transfer requires the customer to undertake the administrative work to make the payment, an inconvenience which might prompt the customer to look elsewhere.
Until now, businesses have simply accepted these problems with one-off payments, but the good news is that the era of open banking – and the investment GoCardless have made in the sector – means that one-off payments are now simpler than ever.
Open banking and one-off payments
In simple terms, open banking involves regulated providers sharing data, thus making it much simpler for users to shift their money and manage their finances using a range of secure apps and services. Open banking’s power enables a payment platform like GoCardless to use it along with existing payment structures to offer complete flexibility to users. The simplicity of bank-to-bank payments using the Instant Bank Pay system is a prime example of this flexibility. Instant Bank Pay enables GoCardless users to take one-off payments from new and existing customers on a direct, bank-to-bank basis without disrupting the use of other payment methods such as bank debits. It keeps the customer’s life simpler.
One-off payments made easy
The Instant Bank Pay process contains three simple steps for making one-off payments:
The customer either clicks a button on your website or receives a link requesting payment
The customer authorises payment
The payment is confirmed and both parties are notified instantly
The process is quick and seamless, confirmation of payment takes place in real time, offering complete peace of mind, and the fees are lower than standard online card transactions.
We can help
GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.