What is a Creditor Identifier?


A merchant must have a Creditor Identifier to collect SEPA Direct Debit from payers. A Creditor Identifier is a unique reference which identifies each SEPA Direct Debit originator. If you are familiar with domestic UK Direct Debit, it is the equivalent of a Service User Number (SUN).

This guide explains what a Creditor Identifier is and how to get one. You may also want to read our guide to getting access to SEPA Direct Debit.

What is a Creditor Identifier?

A Creditor Identifier is a unique reference for organisations collecting payments by SEPA Direct Debit. It must be included in each SEPA Direct Debit collection and allows the payer and the payer’s bank to:

  • Verify each SEPA Direct Debit
  • Request refunds or make complaints
  • Check the existence of a mandate when a payment is requested

Merchants can also use a “Creditor Business Code” extension to identify different business activities. This code allows a merchant to identify different business lines or different services. It is not needed to identify a mandate in a unique way, but contains useful information for the merchant and for the customer.

Getting a SEPA Creditor Identifier

You can get a SEPA Creditor Identifier in one of two ways:

1. Via your preferred bank

Contact your bank to start the process. They will be responsible for its generation. You may need to meet certain criteria set by the bank (similarly to with SUNs). It is likely that banks will look for the following key requirements:

  • Management expertise to enforce the SEPA Direct Debit scheme rules, minimise submission errors, and maintain the reputation of the scheme.
  • Financial reserves to refund any chargebacks. Under the UK Direct Debit scheme, these reserves must be placed in a surety bond.
  • Contractual capacity to indemnify the bank against any payments charged back.

2. Via GoCardless

GoCardless enables you to use our master Creditor Identifier to collect from your customers, or to use a Creditor Identifier in your name. This Creditor Identifier can then be used in any SEPA country for any scheme and whichever bank you collect through.

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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