Managing your SEPA Mandates


SEPA Direct Debit requires merchants to carry out mandate management including:

  1. Physical collection and storage
  2. Updates and amendments
  3. Cancellation

This guide will walk you through managing your SEPA Direct Debit mandates. You may also want to read our guides to options for setting up SEPA Direct Debit and taking payments by SEPA Direct Debit.

Physical collection and storage

All signed paper mandates together with any later modifications or cancellations must be stored and maintained by the merchant. This differs to UK Direct Debit where mandates are stored and maintained by the payer’s bank.

For paperless and e-Mandates, the electronic mandate related data must be stored intact by the merchant. Paper mandates should be stored either as the original document or in digitalised format subject to national legal requirements.

All SEPA Direct Debit mandates should be stored as long as the mandate is valid and for at least 36 months after the final collection.

Updates and amendments

Both the merchant and the payer can amend a mandate at any time.

Any amendments must be agreed between you and your customer. You do not need to involve the banks although you may need to inform them of certain changes. As merchant, you are responsible for making and storing any amendments to a mandate.

Merchants may wish to make amendments to:

  • The Unique Mandate Reference,
  • Their name
  • The Creditor Identifier

The payer and both banks should be informed of these changes. Details of how these amendments can be used to switch Direct Debit provider can be found in our guide to Transferring Mandates.

Payers may also wish to make amendments including:

  • Changing to another bank account at the same bank.
  • Changing to another bank account at a different bank. This would also change the account number so would require a new mandate (and the following collection would need to be submitted as a first payment).

As a merchant, you must be informed before these changes can take place.

To make any amendments to a mandate you will need to:

  1. Electronically store the details of the amended mandate; and
  2. Send the information to your bank as part of the next collection.

If any of the above amendments are made the bank will also need to be notified at the time of the amendment.

Cancellations

Either the customer or the merchant can cancel the mandate at anytime. A mandate can be also cancelled automatically due to inactivity (see below). In both cases, it is not necessary to involve either of the banks.

For B2B Direct Debits your customer’s bank must include an obligation for the payer to inform their bank about the cancellation of a mandate in its conditions. Your customer’s bank can then update its stored instructions for rejecting unauthorised collections.

As merchant, you are responsible for archiving and storing any cancellation documents (e.g. letters to your customer confirming the cancellation for a Paper mandate). If you are using e-Mandates any cancellation must be made online. Cancellations of paper and paperless mandates may also be made online. If any further collections are still to be made following the cancellation, information on the cancellation must be included as part of the last collection.

Any mandate which has been inactive for 36 months must be automatically cancelled by you.

Once a mandate has been cancelled it cannot be used again. You will not be able to initiate any further collections based on this mandate. If you do need to collect any further Direct Debit payments you will need to set up a new mandate.

SEPA Direct Debit mandates through GoCardless

GoCardless provides a Mandate management service online:

  • Automated responses to messages from the banks.
  • Amendments made on request and automatically incorporated into future collections.
  • Cancellations made on request (or automatically after 36 months). The mandate related data will continue to be stored by GoCardless for a further 14 months following cancellation.

This means that you do not have to collect or store any documents or the mandate itself as we look after everything for you.

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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