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One-off payments made simple through the power of open banking

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Last editedJun 20234 min read

One-off payments serve as an essential mechanism for businesses to receive prompt payment from both new and existing customers. These payments, characterised by their singular nature, play a crucial role in facilitating timely and efficient transactions. With open banking, a concept that enables secure data sharing between financial institutions, the landscape of one-off payments has undergone a significant transformation. With open banking, has never been easier to receive one-off payments.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What is a one-off payment

  • What is open banking

  • How you can save time and money on one-off payments with open banking

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 an 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 negatively impacts 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.

What is open banking

Open banking refers to the practice of granting authorised third-party financial service providers access to customers’ banking and financial data held by both traditional banks and non-bank institutions.

This access is facilitated through the utilisation of application programming interfaces (APIs). By enabling the secure sharing of account information and transaction data, open banking paves the way for interconnectedness among institutions. This interconnectedness benefits consumers, financial institutions, and third-party service providers, as it allows for the utilisation of shared data across multiple platforms.

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. 

Key takeaways:

  • One-off payments are crucial for any business, even if you focus on a subscription model

  • Traditional methods of taking one-off payments caused too much friction and impacted customers negatively.

  • GoCardless Instant Bank Pay allows you to take one-off payments from new and existing customers and receive instant confirmation of funds.

  • With open banking, one-off payments can be taken with only a few clicks from your customer, making the process extremely fast, reliable and conveneint for both parties.

  • One-off payments taken via open banking incur lower fees, saving you extra money on each transaction.

Business case study: Frankie G Clark Coaching

Frankie G Clark, a personal trainer, was able to use GoCardless in two ways: directly with her 1:1 private customers and through TeamUp - a cloud-based calendar app that can be used to help organise monthly sessions for groups - which integrates directly with GoCardless.

“Instant Bank Pay is really great when you're self-employed, because the funds arrive right away – there’s no lag, so that side of the finances is always up to date.”

Frankie collects one-off payments from customers using Instant Bank Pay from GoCardless, a simple, convenient way to collect individual payments, powered by open banking.

“It allows me just to send out a link to the customer, they follow the instructions, and the payment arrives immediately. It makes life a lot easier, takes the stress off, and it's something that I think should be a standard across all payment channels.”

How to use GoCardless

Utilising GoCardless for your payment needs is a simple process that requires no contracts or upfront commitment to get started. Setting up payments takes just a few clicks inside the merchant dashboard, which provides a user-friendly interface that allows you to easily track and monitor payments.

Once your customer has granted authorisation, you can rest assured that payments will commence on the scheduled date without further intervention. GoCardless takes care of the automated payment process, allowing you to relax and focus on other aspects of your business.

Even if you are currently using an alternative payment system, GoCardless offers seamless integration with over 350 software packages, including well-known platforms such as Xero and QuickBooks, as well as API access. This compatibility enables you to leverage your existing tools and smoothly incorporate GoCardless into your existing payment stack.

We can help

GoCardless is a global leader in bank payments and open banking that helps you get paid faster and easier. Collect instant payments and automate one-off and recurring payments collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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