10 important questions to ask when choosing a Direct Debit provider

Are you using Direct Debit as a fast, efficient, low-cost method to collect regular fees, subscriptions or one-off payments from your customers? Or considering adding Direct Debit to your payments mix?


Are you using Direct Debit as a fast, efficient, low-cost method to collect regular fees, subscriptions or one-off payments from your customers? Or considering adding Direct Debit to your payments mix?

But how do you know if you are getting the best deal from your provider? Does your solution of choice have the flexibility and cost-effective pricing you deserve as a business?

We want to make sure you always get the best solution for your business. In this post, we have highlighted some key questions for you to ask when choosing a Direct Debit provider.

1. How much does it cost?

Are you charged extra for failed payments? Adding new customers? Reporting? Cancellations? Bacs submissions? Most Direct Debit bureaus will charge you a fixed amount of between 35p to 50p per transaction, with additional charges for these extra services. This can easily double your charges, adding to your monthly running costs.

Watch this video for more information on the cost of Direct Debit with different providers.

2. Does your Direct Debit solution integrate with your accounting software?

Can you integrate directly with accountancy software like Xero, Kashflow, Sage50 or QuickBooks? Many Direct Debit solutions don’t integrate fully with your financial software. That means more hassle and headaches to get your payment data into your accounting system.

3. How much time does it take to manage the entire Direct Debit process?

From sending out Direct Debit forms to actually being paid, how long does it take? Days, weeks, or even months? Waiting for mandates to be signed and paperwork to be posted isn’t efficient. You may have to wait weeks before you’re ready to go. And, in business, time is literally money.

Watch this video for more information on Direct Debit timings with GoCardless.

4. How frequently do you want to collect payments?

Are you constrained to one or two dates each month to submit payments? If yes, can you choose these dates to suit your business? Some providers only offer a restricted number of collection days in the month. That can be extremely limiting, both for you as a business and for your customers.

Watch this video for more information on collecting payments with GoCardless.

5. Do you get notified automatically if a payment fails?

Does your provider notify you as soon as a payment has failed, with detailed reporting on the nature of the failure? If you’re not informed when payments fail, you can’t react to resolve the issue. Without automatic notifications, you have to rely on lengthy weekly or monthly reports.

With GoCardless, payment failure rates can be as low as <0.5% and we notify you of any failed payments.

6. Can you take one off, recurring and variable payments?

Does your provider make it easy to create fixed payment plans and set up the one-off payments you need to collect from customers? Sometimes you’ll need to collect a one-off payment, or want to vary the amounts in a payment plan. Most bureaus will charge you for these bespoke amounts and payments.

7. Are you tied into a lengthy contract?

Are there penalty fees for moving to a different supplier? It’s helpful to have the choice and mobility to move suppliers. But many providers will tie you to a contract of a year, or even two years, with an additional 3-month penalty to pay.

8. Is there a limit to how much you can bill my customers per month?

Do smaller upper limits make it difficult to take the kinds of larger payments that your business deals with? It can be restricting to find there’s an inflexible upper limit on payment amounts or that collections can only be made in fixed amounts, as is the case with many bureaus.

9. Is there a dedicated UK support team?

Do you get fed up dealing with email-based support desks, or talking to outsourced customer service teams that can’t answer your Direct Debit queries? Talking on the phone to a dedicated Direct Debit expert can be reassuring. Some providers don’t provide phone support, and others have outsourced their support to a third party – so resolutions can take time.

10. Can you charge in both GBP and euros?

Do you have the flexibility to take payment collections in euros if you’re trading with customers across Europe? Taking payments in euros means using the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA), a service that some providers don’t offer and others will charge you an additional fee to use.

GoCardless: transparent pricing, flexible options and efficient integration

At GoCardless, there are three key attributes that make our Direct Debit offering a more customer-driven service.

  • Transparent pricing – We’re completely up front about the best-in-class service you can expect and the lack of any hidden costs in our pricing. By charging you a flat 1% fee, capped at £2, on your transactions, you know exactly what you’ll pay each month, with no extras.
  • Flexible options – We don’t believe in limiting your payment dates, payment amounts or whether you’re trading in the UK or the Eurozone. We give you options, so you can tailor the service to your business needs.
  • Efficient integration – Our UK support team help you integrate your payment processes directly with your accounting software. So reconciling transactions is a breeze and you’re automatically notified when payments fail – so you’re on top of your numbers.

Want to talk to us about swapping your Direct Debit provider?

You can contact our sales team on 020 8338 9537. Alternatively, fill out the form and tell us a little more about your Direct Debit needs:

There was a problem submitting the form - please try again.

Thanks for getting in touch - we'll get back to you soon.
‹ View all tips

Latest features

How to set up Direct Debit – a guide for small businesses in Australia

In this guide we'll look at how Direct Debit can help your business. We'll cover the advantages and disadvantages and show you how you can quickly start accepting customer payments this way.

Cash collection causing headaches? 3 ways to automate the way you take payments

Processing, chasing and reconciling payments doesn't have be time consuming. In this guide, we compare three automated payment methods, and identify the pros and cons of each, to help you choose the right one for your business.

How to stop wasting time on cash collection: Five hacks for SMB owners

Sending out invoices, collecting payments and reconciling cash are time consuming tasks – costing SMBs 120 hours a year. In this guide, we’ve highlighted 5 hacks to help your cash collection process run more efficiently.

View all


Reference guides

View all