10 important questions to ask your 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?


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

But are you getting the best deal from your provider? Does your current solution have the flexibility and cost-effective pricing you deserve as a business?

GoCardless is using technology to bring the antiquated Direct Debit system into the 21st century – and, as a result, we’re revolutionising the way companies collect their recurring payments to ensure it’s as time and cost-effective as possible.

Is my current Debit Debit solution really delivering?

We want to make sure you always get the best solution for your business. So we’ve put together a few key questions to ask your current provider to make sure your Direct Debit system is really delivering best-in-class performance.

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.

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

Can you integrate directly with accountancy software like Xero, Kashflow, Sage50 or FreeAgent? 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.

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.

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.

6. 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.

7. Are you tied into a lengthy contract?

Does your current provider charge you a penalty fee if you decide to move on and take your business 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 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.

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:

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