For any business looking to offer Direct Debit payments to customers, you have to have access to the Direct Debit Scheme which is owned and operated by Pay.UK.
There are two ways to get set up on the Direct Debit Scheme, either doing it yourself or via a third-party Direct Debit bureau.
- Managing Direct Debits in-house:
This is usually for larger organisations who want to manage it themselves entirely, i.e. direct access, also known as becoming a direct submitter.
The first step would be to obtain a Service User Number (SUN) from your bank. This involves completing a series of forms which then the bank evaluates if your business is eligible for the Direct Debit scheme.
It can take several weeks for your bank to approve you as a direct submitter. You then need to develop or purchase the software to make the Direct Debit payments; as well as have the in-house knowledge to provide the right information to Bacs so payments are made accurately and on time.
- Direct Debit outsourcing
A Direct Debit bureau looks after the submissions of your Direct Debit payments to Bacs. Some bureaus, like Access PaySuite, provide you with a webpage that lets you set up Direct Debits online or over the phone, as well as via paper.
However in the main bureaus are there to remove the manual processes, as all payments are automatically collected and submitted to Bacs without you needing to be involved.
There are two options for managing your Direct Debits via a bureau:
- Your own assigned SUN: This means that your name will show up on your customer bank statements, reducing any unnecessary cancellations.
- Making use of the bureau’s SUN: Direct Debit payments can be set quickly, however, your customers will see the bureau’s name on their statements, rather than yours.