Can you use Direct Debit for one-off payments?

We still don’t recommend using Direct Debit for instant payments like e-commerce but Direct Debit is a safe, easy and inexpensive way to collect one-off payments.


This week we’ve had a few Tweets asking us whether Direct Debit can be used for one-off payments. The answer – which you might have spotted if you follow us on Twitter – is yes!.

We still don’t recommend using Direct Debit for instant payments like e-commerce but for one-off payments where you don’t need the money immediately Direct Debit can be a great option.

Direct Debit: a safe, easy and inexpensive way to collect one-off payments

  • Direct Debit is the safest payment method in the UK. The customer protection offered by the Direct Debit Guarantee is second to none - customers can get an instant "no questions asked" refund for any payments taken incorrectly.

  • Direct Debit is cheaper than using the card networks. Using credit or debit cards costs around 2-3% of the transaction amount + a flat fee of 20-30p. Direct Debit typically costs much less - GoCardless charges 1% per transaction, capped at £2.

  • Direct Debit is convenient. If you collect one-off payments which are charged at a later date (e.g. if you invoice customers once the service or product has been delivered) using Direct Debit lets you set up the payment at the point of sale but then charge at the agreed date without the hassle of sending out invoices, chasing customers or banking cheques or cash.

Who else is using Direct Debit for one-off payments?

At GoCardless, we work with a lot of people using Direct Debit to collect all kinds of one-off payments, from companies like Buy Our Honeymoon, Crowdfunder and Crowdcube to individuals collecting money for hen dos or stag dos. Recently we’ve even seen airlines, like KLM and AirAsia, offering Direct Debit as a method of payment.

Are you collecting one-off payments using Direct Debit? If so we'd love to hear about your experiences.

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