Getting Started with a Direct Debit Bureau
Each year, numerous businesses opt for Direct Debit as their preferred method for collecting payments from customers due to its cost-effectiveness and efficiency. Managing Direct Debits can be facilitated through a third party known as a Direct Debit Bureau. In fact, over half of the businesses and organisations in the United Kingdom that utilise Bacs services choose to process their Direct Debit payments through a Bacs-approved bureau, as opposed to submitting files directly to Bacs.
Understanding Direct Debit Bureaus
A Direct Debit Bureau is an external entity responsible for handling Direct Debit payments on behalf of your business. They can operate using either your own Service User Number (SUN) or the bureau’s designated SUN. Several factors may lead a business to choose the services of a Direct Debit Bureau, including:
- Managing only a limited number of Direct Debit or Bacs direct credit transactions each month.
- Failing to meet all the criteria necessary for submitting payments directly to Bacs.
- Having recently established the business with an inadequate or unreliable payment collection system.
- Being an SME with a relatively modest turnover.
Regardless of the reason for opting for a Direct Debit Bureau, it guarantees a seamless payment collection process and lessens the responsibilities placed on the business owner. Moreover, Bacs-approved bureaus are held to high security standards, subject to regular inspections and reviews by Bacs to ensure compliance with scheme requirements.
Using Your Own SUN vs. a Bureau’s SUN
One crucial aspect when working with a Direct Debit Bureau is the Service User Number. Bureaus like FastPay can establish a unique Service User Number for your payments, labelled as “facilities management.” This option is ideal for businesses wishing to display their name on their customers’ bank statements. Alternatively, businesses can choose to use the bureau’s SUN, allowing the bureau to submit and manage payments on their behalf. This route offers a faster process with less concern about the appearance of the bureau’s name on customers’ bank statements, streamlining the management process.
Customer Enrolment Process
Enrolling new customers when collecting payments through a Direct Debit Bureau is straightforward and can be completed using paper or online forms, or through phone channels if preferred.
Services Offered by Bureaus
Merchants who select a Direct Debit Bureau usually handle both paper and paperless Direct Debit Mandates themselves. However, the subsequent stages vary depending on the services provided by the bureau:
- Instead of submitting payment details directly to Bacs, an email or Excel file is uploaded to the bureau.
- The bureau takes charge of submissions on your behalf and promptly notifies you of any failures.
- Large businesses receive payments collected through a Direct Debit bureau directly into their bank account.
- Smaller businesses or merchants, conversely, have the bureau collect payments and disburse them within 3-7 working days.
- Typically, around 5-20% of each collection is withheld by the bureau to cover potential chargebacks.
Direct Debit Bureaus, such as FastPay, offer comprehensive solutions to ensure the smooth operation of your Direct Debit services and the hassle-free completion of your payments.
Facilitating a Variety of Collections
With expertise spanning various industry sectors, we collaborate with companies of all sizes to cater to the specific requirements of your business, whether you’re a utilities company collecting variable amounts from customers or a fixed-fee subscription service.
Need Help with Your Payments?
At FastPay, we help a multitude of businesses and organisations take care of their payments. From our Direct Debit Managed service and Powerful Integrations to the FastPay Direct Debit Bureau, we’re committed to providing a payment solution tailored to our client’s needs.