SEPA Direct Debit checklist

A checklist for anyone considering switching to SEPA Direct Debit.


You have two options to become SEPA compliant: overhaul your payment systems and process to comply with the strict SEPA requirements or find a Direct Debit provider like GoCardless who can take care of all of this for you.

If you choose to do the work in-house, the following checklist will help you become SEPA compliant.

1. Review current systems and processes

Ensure messaging formats are SEPA compliant

  • Ability to produce and process XML format

Ensure processes are SEPA-compliant

  • Ability to store BIC and IBAN and to comply with SEPA timings
  • Ensure there are appropriate procedures in place to handle ‘R’ transactions

2. Obtain a Creditor Identifier

Contact your bank to find out what you need to do to become a creditor in the SEPA scheme. Each bank may apply its own criteria to assess your suitability. Complete any necessary application and provide any requested documentation.

3. Conversion to BIC and IBAN

Obtain BIC and IBAN details from payers

  • Existing customer’s Sort Codes and Account Numbers will need to be converted to the required BIC & IBAN format.
  • External vendors can provide conversion of existing details to the new format.

Validate data

  • Implement algorithms to ensure data provided to banks for processing is valid

4. Mandate management

Migrate any existing mandates to the Core scheme

  • Review current mandate related information and assess whether sufficient
  • Update mandate information
  • Assign unique mandate references

Create new mandates for existing Direct Debits for the B2B scheme

  • Create new mandates
  • Assign unique mandate reference

5. Customer communications

  • Notify existing customers of your migration to SEPA Direct Debit
  • Consider how you will deliver subsequent notifications e.g. collection notifications, rejections, refunds

6. Testing and Implementation

  • Allow time for a testing phase in the migration phase

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

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