How to get access to SEPA Direct Debit

This guide briefly outlines how to set up SEPA Direct Debit and all the available options.


This guide briefly outlines how to set up SEPA Direct Debit and all the available options.

There are four options available for merchants wishing to set up SEPA Direct Debit:

  1. Direct access
  2. Bureaus
  3. Payment Service Providers (PSPs)
  4. GoCardless

Direct access

A merchant may wish to manage SEPA Direct Debit collection in-house. To do this a merchant will need to set up a Creditor Identifier with a preferred bank. For details on getting a Creditor Identifier please see our guide to Creditor Identifiers.

Once granted a Creditor Identifier the merchant will need to ensure that its systems and processes are SEPA compliant. For further details on what this will involve see our guide to getting ready for SEPA. The organisation will also need to ensure that it has the technical expertise in-house to collect, store, submit payment information correctly, and correctly interpret messages from banks. This may require staff hiring and training.

Setting up direct access to SEPA Direct Debit with your bank may involve a time consuming and expensive initial set up. Nevertheless, for large companies with a high volume of payments, the low transaction fees associated with direct access may outweigh the initial set up and overhead challenges and costs.

Submitting Indirectly

If you would prefer for someone else to manage the complexities of collecting SEPA Direct Debit, you can outsource to a third party, such as a Direct Debit bureau. GoCardless can set up and manage SEPA Direct Debit collections on your behalf.

Direct Debit bureaus

There are a handful of UK Direct Debit bureaus that support SEPA - most through partnerships with local European providers. GoCardless is an online SEPA Direct Debit specialist - read on to find out how we can help take the hassle out of SEPA Direct Debit payments.

Payment Service Providers

Payment Service Providers (PSPs) are generalists who aggregate many different payment methods available in different countries. Some PSPs include SEPA Direct Debit as part of their offering, such as Adyen. PSPs are a great way to do multiple payment methods (cards, direct debit, local payment instruments) in one go but they may not support local Direct Debit schemes such as Bacs in the UK, or provide specialist Direct Debit support to customers.

GoCardless

GoCardless is an online SEPA Direct Debit specialist that manages the entire collection process on your behalf. Merchants can manage their payments using an online dashboard or can integrate with our REST API.

GoCardless merchants do not need to update their systems to XML message formats and IBAN/BIC account details. GoCardless will collect IBAN or local bank details directly from your customers, automatically select the correct BIC and will submit, receive, interpret and action bank messages for you. All payment statuses are available in real-time in our dashboard or via our API. See our guides to getting ready for SEPA and submitting and receiving messages for further details.

Your customer can set up SEPA Direct Debit payments to you online using your own online mandate form or GoCardless's pages. You can view an example of the online form for customers to complete (see here) and of a SEPA compliant mandate (see here). As soon as a mandate is in place you can automatically collect one-off or recurring payments from that customer.

Our pricing is simple and transparent (see it here). There are no set-up charges or hidden fees.

To find out more about collecting SEPA Direct Debits or to register your interest with GoCardless, check out our GoCardless Europe page.

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