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How to talk to your customers about paying by Direct Debit

Are you considering offering Direct Debit as a payment method for your customers?

Or have you recently signed up to a Direct Debit provider (such as GoCardless) and are wondering how you ask your customers to start paying by Direct Debit?

By now you’re likely aware of the benefits of Direct Debit, both for your business and your customers, including:

  • Saves both of you time and hassle - Payments via Direct Debit are automatic, meaning you never have to wait for your customer to pay you and they don’t have to remember to do it.

  • Payments are flexible - Whether you bill your customers regularly or irregularly, and whether it’s the same amount each time or it differs, Direct Debit can handle changes with ease, not requiring any manual action from your customer.

  • Cost to your business is low - Fees associated with Direct Debit tend to be low relative to other payment methods like card payments. And payment failure rates are low, so any associated costs are also low.

If you want to ask your customers to switch to paying you by Direct Debit, the talking points depend on how they are currently paying you. Below, we show you which talking points you should cover off when asking your customer to switch, and provide you an email template you can use to cover them off easily.

If you customer currently pays you via bank transfer, cash, or cheque

If you have a customer that pays you via bank transfer, cash, or cheque, and you want them to switch to paying you via Direct Debit, cover off these key talking points:

  • Preferred payment option – Tell your customer that Direct Debit through GoCardless is now your preferred way to take payments, because it’s easy to use and benefits both of you. If you have a good relationship with them, this may be all it takes to convince them to switch.

  • Set and forget – Tell your customer that by paying via Direct Debit, they only need to set up payment once, and after that all future payments are taken automatically on the invoice due date. There’s no need for them to set diary reminders, log into internet banking to make a payment to you, or withdraw large sums of cash.

  • Never get chased for late payment – Tell your customer that payments via Direct Debit are automatic, so they won’t get chased by you to remember to make payments. That also means there’s no risk to them of late payment fees (if your business charges any).

  • In control and protected – Tell your customer that payments via Direct Debit are never taken without advance notification given by email beforehand. And if a payment is ever taken in error, they are guaranteed a refund.

  • Better for budgeting – If your customer pays you a regular sum, paying via Direct Debit on a fixed date can make that payment more predictable for them, which can make it easier for them to budget for your services.

  • (Optional) Financial reward – As shifting your customer from their existing payment method to Direct Debit can save you a lot of admin time, you can tell your customer you’ll pass the savings along to them. Common incentives include a 5-10% discount or a small, fixed sum discount. Inform your customer that they’ll receive the benefit as soon as they have authorised the first Direct Debit payment.

Once your customer is convinced to switch to Direct Debit (which the above talking points will help you achieve), tell them what happens next. Let them know they’ll receive an email from you which will prompt them to complete a Direct Debit mandate. Tell them this gives your business permission to collect the agreed funds from their bank account at the agreed time.

Below is an email template you can use to ask your customers to make the switch.

Hi [Customer name],

We’re changing the way we collect payments, but don’t worry, it’s simple and will benefit the both of us.

Direct Debit through GoCardless is now our preferred payment method. Because of the time this saves us on our end, we wanted to pass along the savings to you. So if you switch to paying us through GoCardless, we’ll [Insert incentive details here, e.g. waive our £25 admin fee / offer a free gift / discount / charitable donation].

All you need to do is enter your details online here [enter link to Direct Debit signup page].

Unlike with your current payment method, you won’t have to remember to make future payments. As soon as [your invoice due date is reached / subscription fee is due], we’ll collect payment directly from your pre-agreed bank account.

You’ll be notified before each payment is taken, and your payments are protected, so you’re guaranteed a refund if a payment is ever taken in error.

GoCardless is an approved Direct Debit provider, who work with over 50,000 businesses across the globe, including DocuSign, The Guardian, and Sage.

If you have any questions, you can find out more details on the GoCardless website or get in touch with us on [phone number].

All the best,

[Your name and details]

If you customer currently pays you via credit card or debit card

If you have a customer that pays you via credit card or debit card, and you want them to switch to paying you via Direct Debit, cover off these key talking points:

  • Preferred payment option – Tell your customer that Direct Debit through GoCardless is now your preferred way to take payments, because it’s easy to use and benefits both of you. If you have a good relationship with them, this may be all it takes to convince them to switch.

  • No need to worry about updating details – Tell your customer that by paying via Direct Debit, they use their bank account details to make the payment, rather than a card which can expire, or get lost or stolen. This saves them the hassle of having to update payment details with you in future, which could potentially disrupt their service.

  • In control and protected – Tell your customer that payments via Direct Debit are never taken without advance notification given by email beforehand. And if a payment is ever taken in error, they are guaranteed a refund.

  • (Optional) Financial reward – As shifting your customer from card payments to Direct Debit can save you on costs, you can tell your customer you’ll pass the savings along to them, such as via a small discount. Inform your customer that they’ll receive the benefit as soon as they have authorised the first Direct Debit payment.

Once your customer is convinced to switch to Direct Debit (which the above talking points will help you achieve), tell them what happens next. Let them know they’ll receive an email from you which will prompt them to complete a Direct Debit mandate. Tell them this gives your business permission to collect the agreed funds from their bank account at the agreed time.

Below is an email template you can use to ask your customers to make the switch.

Hi [Customer name],

We’re changing the way we collect payments, but don’t worry, it’s simple and will benefit the both of us.

Direct Debit through GoCardless is now our preferred payment method. Because of the savings we can make on our end, we wanted to pass those along to you. So if you switch to paying us through GoCardless, we’ll [Insert incentive details here, e.g. waive our £25 admin fee / offer a free gift / discount / charitable donation].

All you need to do is enter your details online here [enter link to Direct Debit signup page].

Direct Debit payments make use of your bank details which, unlike credit cards and debit cards, do not expire, or get lost or stolen. Similar to how your current payments work, as soon as [your invoice due date is reached / subscription fee is due], we’ll collect payment directly from your pre-agreed bank account.

You’ll be notified before each payment is taken, and your payments are protected, so you’re guaranteed a refund if a payment is ever taken in error.

GoCardless is an approved Direct Debit provider, who work with over 50,000 businesses across the globe, including DocuSign, The Guardian, and Sage.

If you have any questions, you can find out more details on the GoCardless website or get in touch with us on [phone number].

All the best, [Your name and details]

If you customer currently pays you via standing order (standing instruction)

If you have a customer that pays you via standing order, and you want them to switch to paying you via Direct Debit, cover off these key talking points:

  • Preferred payment option – Tell your customer that Direct Debit through GoCardless is now your preferred way to take payments, because it’s easy to use and benefits both of you. If you have a good relationship with them, this may be all it takes to convince them to switch.

  • Less hassle to make changes – If your customer’s regular payment amount is likely to change (e.g. if you change your prices or the amount of work you do for them), tell them that payments via Direct Debit only need to be set up once, unlike standing orders which need to be manually amended by them every time a change occurs.

  • Informed and protected – Tell your customer that before every payment is taken via Direct Debit, advance notification is given by email beforehand. So they’ll always be informed of upcoming payments, unlike with a standing order. And reassure them that if a payment is ever taken in error, they are guaranteed a refund.

  • (Optional) Financial reward – As shifting your customer from a standing order to Direct Debit can save you a lot of admin time, you can tell your customer you’ll pass the savings along to them. Common incentives include a 5-10% discount or a small, fixed sum discount. Inform your customer that they’ll receive the benefit as soon as they have authorised the first Direct Debit payment.

Once your customer is convinced to switch to Direct Debit (which the above talking points will help you achieve), tell them what happens next. Let them know they’ll receive an email from you which will prompt them to complete a Direct Debit mandate. Tell them this gives your business permission to collect the agreed funds from their bank account at the agreed time.

Below is an email template you can use to ask your customers to make the switch.

Hi [Customer name],

We’re changing the way we collect payments, but don’t worry, it’s simple and will benefit the both of us.

Direct Debit through GoCardless is now our preferred payment method. Because of the time this saves us on our end, we wanted to pass along the savings to you. So if you switch to paying us through GoCardless, we’ll [Insert incentive details here, e.g. waive our £25 admin fee / offer a free gift / discount / charitable donation].

All you need to do is enter your details online here [enter link to Direct Debit signup page].

As soon as [your invoice due date is reached / subscription fee is due], we’ll collect payment directly from your pre-agreed bank account. Unlike with a standing order, you’ll be notified before each payment is taken. Your payments are also protected, so you’re guaranteed a refund if a payment is even taken in error.

GoCardless is an approved Direct Debit provider, who work with over 50,000 businesses across the globe, including DocuSign, The Guardian, and Sage.

If you have any questions, you can find out more details on the GoCardless website or get in touch with us on [phone number].

All the best, [Your name and details]

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GoCardless Ltd., Sutton Yard, 65 Goswell Road, London, EC1V 7EN, United Kingdom

GoCardless (company registration number 07495895) is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017, registration number 597190, for the provision of payment services. GoCardless SAS (23-25 Avenue Mac-Mahon, Paris, 75017, France), an affiliate of GoCardless Ltd (company registration number 834 422 180, R.C.S. PARIS), is authorised by the ACPR (French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority), Bank Code (CIB) 17118, for the provision of payment services.