Direct Debit mandates (authorisations)
Making a payment
Identifying a payment
What is a Direct Debit mandate?
A mandate (also known as a "Direct Debit Instruction" or "Direct Debit Request") is set up on a customer's bank account when a Direct Debit is authorised for a specific merchant, usually via our online form. An active mandate needs to be in place before any Direct Debit payments can be collected.
How do I set up Direct Debit?
To set up a new Direct Debit, the merchant you wish to pay through GoCardless will need to provide you with an authorisation form to complete. This is an online form and will most commonly be sent to you via email.
Once you submit the completed form online, we will then initiate the process for your bank to set up a new Direct Debit Instruction (mandate) on your bank account. Once active, we will then be able to charge your account according to the payment parameters set for you by the merchant.
What if my account requires multiple signatures to authorise Direct Debits?
When you complete the online payment page, you will find a check box at the bottom that indicates More than one person is required to authorise Direct Debits on your bank account. Select this option and you will be directed to complete a mandate form after submitting your details online.
If you would like more information on this, please see here.
Note: This step is only applicable to customers paying through Bacs (UK) Direct Debit scheme.
My Direct Debit authorisation link is returning an error when I click it. What should I do?
The best thing to do if you’re unable to open the online authorisation form from a link you’ve been sent is to get in touch with the merchant you wish to pay and ask that they send you a new link.
Most commonly we see this occur because the link has been opened and then copied from the browser URL address bar prior to being sent to the customer. The original link will need to be sent.
How do I update the bank account I'm making payments from?
If making payments through the Bacs (UK) Direct Debit scheme, you can either get in touch with our Support team via phone who will be happy to update the bank account you’re making payments from updated for you. If you would like to do this, please call our Support team on 020 7183 8674.
Alternatively, you can cancel your current Direct Debit authorisation and complete a new authorisation form with your new bank details. If you would prefer to do this, please get in touch with the merchant you're paying who will be able to cancel your current authorisation and send you a new payment form to complete.
Note: Unless you are making payments through the Bacs (UK) Direct Debit scheme, you will need to cancel your existing Direct Debit and set up a new one by completing a new authorisation form.
How do I cancel a Direct Debit?
You can cancel a Direct Debit mandate in one of the following ways:
If submitting a ticket with us, please ensure you include the email address you've registered against your authorisation and the name of the merchant you're paying.
- Directly with your bank or via your online banking;
- By contacting the merchant you're paying and request that they cancel it;
- Or by submitting a ticket with us to request the cancellation.
How can I reinstate a cancelled Direct Debit mandate?
Once a mandate has been cancelled in our system we are not able to reinstate it. If you accidentally cancel your mandate, the best thing to do is contact the merchant you're paying directly and ask that they send you a new authorisation link.
Please note that GoCardless will not be able to send you a new mandate link.
Can I pay using a credit or debit card?
GoCardless is an online Direct Debit provider and as such, we do not offer customers the option to pay merchants via credit or debit cards.
If you would prefer to make a payment outside of the Direct Debit system, please contact the merchant you’re paying directly.
How long does it take to process my payment?
Due to the nature of the Direct Debit scheme, payments are charged three working days after they are created in our system. Providing your payment is not part of an ongoing subscription, we will notify you of the payment via email when it is created.
Your payment will be paid out to the merchant two working days after the charge date.
My payment failed. How can I pay it?
If your payment has failed, the collection can be retried by the merchant you’re paying (providing your Direct Debit mandate is still active). Please get in touch with the merchant you're paying directly to request this. You will receive a notification email whenever a payment is retried.
Please note: GoCardless is unable to retry payments, or accept payment directly on behalf of merchants using the GoCardless payment service.
How do I obtain a refund for a payment I’ve been charged?
If you require a refund for a payment you’ve been charged, you would need to get in touch with the merchant you’re paying directly to organise this with them. GoCardless is unable to issue refunds at the request of payers.
You’ve taken a payment I didn’t authorise. How do I get my money back?
If a payment has been collected from your bank account that you didn’t authorise please don't panic! You are fully protected within Direct Debit scheme regulations and will be able to receive a full refund via your bank.
As a customer you are afforded the right to obtain a refund for a Direct Debit payment collected from your account in error via your bank. Once it is established that an error has occurred, your bank will return those funds on the same working day.
Please note that GoCardless are unable to claim a refund on your behalf as this must be done by the account holder.
Please do inform our team if a payment has been collected from you in error so that our accounts team can investigate further.
How can I change the date or amount I’m being charged?
If you would like to change the date you’re being charged, you will need to get in touch with the merchant you’re paying to organise this with them. GoCardless is unable to update charge dates or amounts on behalf of merchants.
Why do I have a Direct Debit set up when I was only making a one-off payment?
We collect all payments, whether one-off or recurring, via the Direct Debit network. In order to do this a Direct Debit mandate must be put in place on the bank account we collect the payment from. This authorises GoCardless to process these funds on behalf of the merchant.
What if my funds don’t reach the merchant?
We are not aware of a payment having ever failed to reach its destination. If, for any reason, the merchant you’re paying contacts you to advise that they have not received your payment, we recommend the merchant contacts us directly so we can investigate this further.
What emails can I expect to receive?
You will receive emails for the following:
- To confirm the setup of your Direct Debit mandate, or if the mandate should fail or is cancelled.
- Payment notification, three working days before an ad-hoc (one-off) payment is due to be charged.
- If a payment is cancelled or fails. (Please note failure notifications are sent the next working day, after the charge date).
- When a failed payment is retried.
- When a new subscription (recurring payment) is set up. The email will contain information to let you know the amount of your payments and how often they are collected. (Please note that if your payments are part of a subscription you will not receive an email before each payment is collected).
- If your subscription amount is changed or when a subscription expires or is cancelled.
Why am I not receiving my notification emails?
If you have not received an email it is worth first checking your Spam or Junk folder to make sure it has not been diverted there. We would advise you to add ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ as a contact to make sure our emails are not blocked.
If you are still not receiving your notification emails, please submit a ticket with our Support team so we can investigate further. Please ensure you include the email address you have registered against your Direct Debit authorisation.
How do I update my registered email address?
You can change your email address in the following ways:
- By contacting the merchant you're paying
- By submitting a ticket or sending an email to email@example.com. If emailing, please send your request from your registered email address if possible. Please ensure you include the current email address registered to your payments, your new email address and who your payments are being collected on behalf of.
I've seen GoCardless on my bank statement. Who are you?
GoCardless process Direct Debit payments on behalf of other businesses and organisations.
These businesses and organisations create payments for their customers using our system and we then process these according to the parameters they have set.
How will payments appear on my bank statement?
The reference format as shown on customer bank statements varies between Direct Debit schemes, and will differ depending on the GoCardless package the business you’re paying is signed up to.
Please see here for more information on the reference format for each Direct Debit scheme.
Note: In some instances, certain banks may not provide the full reference provided and instead simply use “GoCardless LTD”.
How do I find out what company I’m paying?
If you do not recognise a payment we have collected from your account, we recommend using our Payment Lookup Tool to help identify it.
If for any reason, this doesn't return a result, please submit a ticket or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can provide you with some more information. Please send us as much of the following information as you can to help us locate your payment:
- Your billing postcode
- The amount paid
- The date it was paid
- The mandate reference*
* Every payment we collect is submitted to the bank with a mandate reference which can help us identify your payment. This reference is a mixture of letters and numbers and should be available from your bank.
What do I do if I believe I have been a victim of fraud?
Please let us know immediately by contacting our support team either by email at email@example.com or by raising a ticket here.
We will then investigate the matter further and advise on how you can reclaim your funds if required.
How does GoCardless keep my details safe?
Security is of utmost importance at GoCardless. We take steps to ensure customer data remains safe at all times:
- Our access to the Direct Debit system is provided by some of Europe's major banks, who have approved our systems
- All customer data is treated in accordance with European data protection laws, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- All client-server communication is 256-bit SSL encrypted
- We are ISO27001-certified and regularly perform internal and external security audits on all our systems and processes
- We will never share any data we collect from you with third parties for their own unrelated purposes, except as specifically needed to process your payments.
We are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide payment services as an Authorised Payment Institution. We serve more businesses than any other Direct Debit provider.
All money collected is held in a secure client monies account with either the Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank or SEB before being paid out to the merchant you're paying.
You can view our full privacy notice here.
Customers paying through GoCardless do not have a GoCardless account to access. If you require a breakdown of the payments you’ve made to a business through GoCardless, the best thing to do is contact the merchant directly to request this, or otherwise you will be able to view any payments made through GoCardless via your bank statements.