Direct Debit is a great way for charities to collect payments. It fits perfectly with the common practice of regular monthly donations and its one of the cheapest of all online payment methods, meaning that more of the money your donors pledge can get straight to the great causes you serve. However, for many charities, getting access to the direct debit scheme can be prohibitively hard, especially for small charities. That's why we've put together a guide just for charities, of the three main direct debit bureaus that serve charities. Hopefully, you can read this guide and understand which Direct Debit bureau is the best one for your charity.
Valldata are a general purpose payments processing company specifically targeted at charities. They also happen to be a Bacs approved Bureau. Valldata are currently the biggest provider for charity payments and process around 85% of payments in the UK charity sector. If you are collecting many different types of payments (cheques, card-payments, direct debits and others) and need to manage them all together, then Valldata are a great option. They serve some really great existing charities, like WaterAid and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without borders).
Despite being pretty large, there aren't many customer reviews of Valldata out there unfortunately, so its quite hard to score them on this front. One of the drawbacks of using Valldata is that it takes a few weeks to get set up with Valldata. This is usually ok for the bigger charities that can afford to move slowly, but for small charities or clubs and organizations that are non-profits, this can be a major roadblock. Valldata's pricing is extremely custom, so its hard to give a clear idea of it, but it usually works out quite competitive for the really big charities.
Rapidata are Direct debit focussed payments company that mainly serve medium sized organizations, with a special sector of their business focussed on local government and charities. They don't list many of their non profit customers on their website and they make the information super hard to get to but they do mention Helen & Douglas House and Children in Crisis as non profits that they work with.
One of the major drawbacks with Rapidata is that it takes two months to get going with rapidata and that you will often get hit by unneccessary fees, such as a setup fee (around £200-£250), a fee per customer added (50p to £2) a monthly fee of £20-£90, fees for their hosted payment pages (£10-£20 for additional pages) as well as additional fees for use of their API (such as the 8p per address lookup fee & 8p per bank validation). Again, very few of Rapidata's customers have taken time to review them online, so its quite hard to get a sense of what they're existing customers think of them.
Of course, our favourite direct debit processor is GoCardless (Disclaimer: we are GoCardless!), the UK's leading Direct Debit company. We process direct debit payments for more UK businesses & charities than anyone else and our non-profit customers include Meningitis Now and The Insitute of Health Visiting. GoCardless is also a Bacs approved Bureau.
We started out our life serving small clubs and organizations and we now supply hundreds of these across the country. Using GoCardless, you will incur no hidden costs - just a 1% per transaction fee, but we'll never bill you more than £2 per payment. Our customers love usand unlike other systems, you get started collecting payments in an instant. We do only do Direct Debit payments though, which means if you want to take payments through multiple sources (e.g. including card payments) you'll want to think about using us in complement with a card payments provider. We usually recommend Stripe, who like us believe in great customer service and simple payments.
If you're interested in taking payments for your non-profit organisation, try out GoCardless for free and Start taking payments today!