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Want to compare the best Direct Debit providers in the UK for 2022? We’ve researched products, features, service and pricing so that business owners like you can make an informed choice on your payment solution. 

So let’s dive in and check out our Direct Debit comparison. Click on the following links to jump to each section.

Competitor Logos

The main Direct Debit players for businesses

There are a lot of companies that offer Direct Debit services to some degree or another and when you want to compare the best direct debit providers in the UK it is a good idea to take a methodical approach to understand their background, features and price to get the best bang for your buck. We've gone the done the hard work for you in one handy place. Read about each payment solution in detail or skip to the short-snappy comparison table at the end. 

PaySuite (us!)

We couldn’t start off without mentioning us now could we! Designed as an all-in-one solution for Direct Debit payment processing, PaySuite is delivered by the Access Group, and we’re one of the best-known names in accounting software.

With 5,000+ customers, £12bn per year in payments and 20 years of experience in the business, we're authorised and regulated as a Payment Institution by the Financial Conduct Authority- let's just say we know what we're doing.

Our cloud-based software gives the user the ability to manage payment processing from anywhere - whether that be faster payments, Direct Debits or direct remittances from the customer or payments out to suppliers and employees.

One of the biggest benefits of using a payment specialist is that you can make your processes much more efficient but to do that you need to be able to integrate easily with other systems such as accounting and CRM.

PaySuite provides fully managed bureau services and facilities managed services. We also have fully-featured and market-leading API that allows super-quick integration with almost any online system out there, as well as:

  • No setup costs or hidden fees
  • Priced on volume, not transaction value
  • Tiered plans to suit your business. See pricing >
  • Paper and telephone sign up
  • +56 NPS score
  • FCA regulated and Bacs Approve Bureau
  • Market leading API integration
  • Customer Support
  • Detailed reporting suite
  • 20 years experience

Keen to know more? You can book a demo or speak to one of our friendly team will be happy to talk you through our solutions. 

Go Cardless

Go Cardless processes more than $20bn in transactions a year for over 60,000 businesses. Founded by Hiroki Takeuchi back in 2011, the business now boasts investors such as Blackrock Capital (a major fintech player) and Permira.

The GoCardless offer includes recurring payments which are great for businesses that sell subscriptions and you can receive both local and international payments in this way.

If your business needs to collect one-off payments then GoCardless has you covered because they have a neat app that allows you to send payment requests to your customers.

Pricing depends on the type of functionality and support you want but unless you are a very large organisation then you have to choose one of their set packages named Standard, Plus or Pro.

Go Cardless has an API which means that you should be able to integrate it with your e-commerce site and your accounting system as well as;

  • Direct Debit, recurring payments and invoice services
  • No setup costs 
  • No lock in contracts
  • Priced based on your transaction volume and transaction value
  • Flexible payment collection dates
  • Start taking payments on the same day

ClearDebit

Positioning themselves as much more than just a payment services provider, ClearDebit is a Bacs Approved Bureau, a Bacs Accredited Training provider and an independent Bacs Consultancy. This means that you get next-level support and assistance when you sign up as a customer. They offer BACS software, a fully accredited BACS bureau service and BACS specific tools to help your website manage signups and payment processing.

Initially set up as a Direct Debit and BACS training provider, ClearDebit has morphed into a hybrid training and DD software provider. Founded in 2009 by Gavin Lawrence and Debbie Lane, the company was acquired by fintech investor the ClearCourse partnership in 2018.

Something of a boutique Direct Debit provider ClearDebit has over 75 customers including Kew Gardens, Brother and Crystal Palace FC.

  • Online signup screens
  • Comprehensive audit trail
  • Detailed reporting
  • DD management software
  • Account validation software
  • Direct Debit training

FastPay

FastPay is also a Bacs-approved Bureau and Bacs Affiliate based in the North-West of the UK.

Whilst they don’t provide software for customers to manage their Direct Debits themselves, they do have both a bureau and a managed service.

The company claims to be able to have people up and running on their managed service within 24 hours and provide real people to help with support and queries.

FastPay is one of the longer-lived names in the UK Direct Debit processing sector, having been set up way back in 2008.

They provide direct credit services as well as Direct Debit and their system integrates with standard accounting systems like QuickBooks, Xero and Sage.

  • Direct Debit outsourcing
  • Managed service up and running within 24 hours
  • Integration with accounting packages including Xero, Quickbooks etc.
  • Fully branded service, your name appears on bank statements
  • Free lifetime email and phone support

AccessPay

AccessPay is firmly aimed at the corporate sector and if you know what an embedded payment rail is then this is probably the service for you.

Delivering software solutions for treasury management, Direct Debits and finance transformation the company has pitched itself at the top of the tree in terms of customers. They boast users such as the AA, Saga and ITV.

AccessPay was founded in 2012 with the launch of the world’s first cloud-based, Bacs approved payments solution and since then has added many services including;

  • Platform to handle all payments
  • Automation of payment accounts payable process
  • Direct integration into CRM and ERP systems
  • Make payments using Bacs, Faster Payments, Swift, SEPA
  • Process bulk payment files such as payroll
  • Super-secure using PGP encryption MFA and AI to detect suspicious transactions
  • You need your own Service User Number (SUN) to use their service

Stripe

Stripe is one of the better-known names in the world of payment processing and has a dizzying array of products.

The Stripe API was one of the first in the world of payment processing having been around now for more than 10 years and the company is perhaps known as one of the new wave of disruptors.

Set up as a SaaS service, the stripe solution works best for customers who want either to take the vanilla option of using the Stripe payment services as they are or for large companies that have in-house developers who can get the most out of the advanced functions.

Stripe fees vary depending if you have your own SUN or not. The per-transaction costs are reasonable although by no means the cheapest on the market.

As you would expect from one of the larger players, Stripe offers a wide variety of services including;

  • Central dashboard to manage payments
  • Pre-built payment pages
  • Accepts recurring payments globally
  • Embedded payment pages for e-commerce
  • Payment links 
  • Subscription management

London & Zurich

London & Zurich started life way back in 1998 as a cheque and card payment processor and has gradually migrated over the years to digital payment processing.

Originally called Card Management Services (CMS), London & Zurich looks much more like a traditional bank than a modern disruptor and as you would expect for a business that is approaching a quarter-century in the business, they have an excellent reputation.

In 2012, CMS was bought by the Constellation Group and rebranded as London & Zurich.

In contrast with online-only businesses, London & Zurich take a much more personal approach with account set-up being done on the phone and personalised quotations for pricing.They promise lifetime phone support.

L&Z provide both a BACS service for customers who have their own SUN numbers and a branded managed service for companies that can’t or don’t want to obtain their own.

London and Zurich offer; 

  • Secure online portal
  • Live support
  • Cash credited within 2 days
  • Central reporting suite allowing excellent visibility
  • PCI level 1 compliant
  • API allows connectivity with in-house systems

Bottomline

One of the larger players in the market, Bottom line claim more than 600,000 customers which include 1200 banks and financial institutions. Their customer base includes names such as Warburtons, KPMG and Schuh. The company has over 2,000 people in 25 offices and is able to process payments in 92 countries around the globe.

They offer connectivity to networks including SWIFT, SEPA, Bacs, CHAPS and Faster Payments and their service is aimed at larger, enterprise-grade users.

The Bottomline platform allows users to manage both payments and receipts from a wide variety of sources in one place, giving managers excellent visibility of their cash usage.

Bottomline also offers other services that help companies to produce a compliant payment processing infrastructure including financial document automation, Fraud and financial crime management and spend management.

Features of their product include;

  • Direct Debit management
  • Verification and validation of new customer bank details
  • Advanced notice post fulfilment
  • Automated payment collections and notifications
  • Detailed BACS reporting
  • BAC-accredited training

Speak to an expert

UK payment providers product features and price comparison

We’ve pulled out a few of the major features that we think every good system should have.

Provider

Aimed at

DDs

Detailed Reporting

API

Live support

Paper DDMs

PaySuite

SME-medium-corporates

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Go Cardless

Medium-corporates

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Clear debit

SME-medium

Yes

No

Mandate API

No

Yes

FastPay

Medium

Yes

No

Yes

 

No

AccessPay

Corporates

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Stripe

SME-corporate

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

London & Zurich

SME-medium

Yes

No

 

No

No

Bottomline

Corporates

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

 

UK payment providers price comparison

Pricing can be complex and we sometimes think that this is on purpose!

Although the base price of a Direct Debit can be compared, that isn't the end of the story and many companies levy hidden (or at least not transparent) charges.

As you would expect, bureau and managed services are generally more expensive than software but that is largely related to the work that they have to do. However, not all pricing is as it seems.

Some companies charge an all-in fee. You pay a flat rate for the software and it doesn’t matter how many transactions or reports you upload or receive. Others charge you per file submission so every time you upload a DD or ADDACS you get charged. Companies will also charge extra for set-up, changes or for what they call ‘premium’ support. In other words, talking to a real person!

So when you compare prices, don't stop at just the per DD price!

Provider

Set up fee

DD fee

Monthly fee

PaySuite

£0 £0.04- 0.35p £40
Go Cardless £0 £0.20p + 1% £0-£200

Clear debit

£250-£350   £0

FastPay

£0 - £375 £0.10-50p (managed service) £0-£49

AccessPay

    Annual subscription fee based on transaction  volume bands

Stripe

£0 £0.20p + 1.4% £0

London & Zurich

£199 1.25% from £29.99 

Bottomline

£0 £0.40p - £0.50p £0-£50 

 

What to look for when comparing Direct Debit providers for businesses

So what should you look out for when choosing your Direct Debit provider?

1. Be a company that you get on with

We agree that this isn’t something that immediately springs to mind when you are thinking about Direct Debits but bear with us. You see if they have a website that is full of technical jargon and they are hard to contact at the buying stage, then you are probably going to find it even harder to get sensible help when you are a customer.

Whereas if you find that they are easy to talk to, responsive and they talk in plain language then you are much more likely to have a great relationship with them later on.

2. Look at the number of helpful resources

The world of payment processing is awash with acronyms like ADDACS, DDMs, AUDDIS and so on.

What you need is a company that is able to tell you what you need to do, when to do it and how to do it without you engaging the services of a technical expert.

3. Read customer testimonials

Look for case studies and examples of where the service has helped companies that are doing business in the same way as you. Look to see if they found it easy to set up, simple to use and that reduced manual processing times.

4. Check out their service and help methods

If you can only contact the helpdesk through email then that isn’t going to be massively useful if you are stuck processing your payroll at 4pm on a Friday afternoon.

Be aware that some providers charge more for ‘premium’ help and this can actually be quite a weighty amount so make sure you know what you are getting and how much it will cost before you sign up.

If you want to integrate your payment processing system with your accounting, payroll or webshop then you’ll need API connectivity so make sure that this is available. Also, get them to confirm that it will work with your systems specifically because some systems only work with integrations with specific software rather than having an open API.

5. Check they're regulated

One more important thing to look out for is that the company you are working with is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, meaning that they adhere to the highest possible standards for financial institutions.

Request a demo

Want to know more? Speak to our friendly team who can talk you through our payments solutions. We offer direct debits with simple, affordable pricing, with no set-up fee and transaction fees as low as 4p.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Payment Software?

Payment software allows organisations to process multiple types of business-to-business (B2B) payments. You can send and receive payments automatically and have clear real-time reporting over where you stand with your cash flow at any time.

What is the best online payments system?

The best online payments solution largely depends on the type of company that you are and the level of support you are after. Businesses with under 100 transactions per month might benefit from a payment solution with less support and no set up fees to keep costs down. Larger organisations may benefit from volume based pricing over transaction value. When comparing online payments solutions one size doesn't fit all and it's important to compare features and prices to find the right solution for you. 

How to compare payment software?

There are many things you should consider when comparing payment software. Price of course is a factor, but so are product features, customer service, reviews, and accreditations. Do your due diligence when comparing the various providers to make sure you are comparing like-for-like and to make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck. 

Which is the cheapest payment software for businesses?

Cheap doesn't always mean best when it comes to payments software, but there are savings to be made by researching the plans of the various UK payment software providers. If you are a business with high transaction values, you might be able to save significantly on your plan by picking a volume-based pricing provider. If you are not concerned about support you can find a plan with little or no customer service included. Look for providers who offer free set-ups and API integrations to save time and money when it comes to onboarding. 

In summary...check the small print

As we have seen there are many aspects to think about when you compare the best Direct Debit providers in the UK.

There’s no point signing up with a company that is aimed at large corporate businesses if you’re an SME and they charge a premium for smaller transaction volumes or they won’t have the kind of support and resources you need.

Similarly, if you don't have in-house technical expertise then you need to make sure that your payment services provider is fast and responsive to support requests and has real people to talk to.

Above all, we’d say that price should probably be the last of your considerations because when you scale your business and start to process hundreds if not thousands of Direct Debits every month then this will become irrelevant compared to the features and support you will want.

Like what you've read? We've got a bunch more content on payments for you to check out like direct debit vs standing order, the small business guide to direct debits, or how to deal with late payments.