* For transactions of £ / € 2,000 or more, they charge an additional 0.3% fee on the portion of the transaction above the £ / € 2,000 threshold.
If you’re looking to take recurring payments and direct debits from your customers it is often worth using a specialist company rather than a full service payment processors. The downside of a full service provider is that you typically have to do more yourself (e.g. to use Direct Debit, you may also need to register with your bank, a process that can take months and can be expensive).
A specialist direct debit provider is a third party which submits payments into the Direct Debit system on your company’s behalf. They will streamline the collection of recurring payments and customer onboarding and can also reduce fees.
In this article, we’re list the UK’s top ten Direct Debit and recurring payment services providers to help you decide whether it is worth using switching in order to increase your monthly card revenue and /or reduce your fees. So let’s get started.
GoCardless are a specialist in building simple and secure bank payment solutions and offer an alternative to card processing. Their mission is to become the world’s bank payment network.
With GoCardless, merchants are able to automatically pull funds directly from customers’ bank accounts. This can improve payment success rates as you don’t need to worry about failed card payments or expired card details.
They are best suited to small businesses that have one or more of the following issues or requirements:
Their standard package priced at a £0.20 fixed fee + 1% of the transaction, capped at £4 per transaction for domestic payments.
With over 350+ partner integrations, GoCardless can be integrated into existing business solutions.
They have an out-of-the-box payment page solution with customisable features or for businesses with more technical resources, an API for building your own payment authorisation page.
AccessPay also has an impressive list of clients to brag about but it expands beyond Direct Debit payments to provide accounting and payroll solutions, plus a range of other services. They offer an integrated cloud system for setting up Direct Debit payments with customers and managing payroll for your employees. You can do this from the same interface, which makes managing the two processing easy and the interface itself is intuitively designed.
They don’t charge any setup fees or transactions fees, which is isn’t something you’ll find very often in this business. Instead, you pay a flat annual fee for as long as you want to continue using the service. The only problem is it doesn’t list this annual fee on its website as it provides bespoke solutions. It may be worth negotiating by using quotes from other providers.
Vindicia provides an extensive set of features for businesses selling subscription paid services. While there are other payment service companies that allow you to set up subscription payments, this tends to be an additional feature offered as part of wider payment services, which means you don’t get the same specialist features Vindicia has to offer.
Aside from setting up recurring subscription payments, Vindicia allows you to run campaigns, promotions and loyalty programmes to encourage more signups. You can also set up freemium subscriptions to get new customers on board and then upsell them to paid versions later on. Then you have Vinicia Select, an automated tool that aims to reduce customer churn and help you resolve missed payments.
Eazy Collect allows you to set up Direct Debit payments across all of your sales channels: in-person, online, over the phone, via mobile app and using a tablet. It’s the only platform we know of that offers this kind of truly omnichannel Direct Debit service backed up by a highly secure payment system.
You can also set up flexible payment schedules and manage everything in the Eazy Collect application, which you can see in the video above. It’s not the most attractive of interfaces but it’s intuitive enough in terms of navigation and functionality, which is always more important.
Adyen is a payment services platform designed for modern retailers, software and tech companies. Used by the likes of Spotify, Microsoft and Booking.com, you’re in good company if you choose Adyen as your online payment solution.
While you can’t set up Direct Debit payments with Adyen directly, the platform comes with a really strong set of recurring payment and subscription features – including tools to increase customer retention and minimise cancelled subscriptions and failed payments.
FastPay offers simple, comprehensive Direct Debit services with two main packages: a Managed service for SMEs and a Bureau service for high-volume merchants. The company doesn’t delve into any other payment services so we’re talking about a true Direct Debit specialist here and it happens to be one of the most transparent companies in the business when it comes to pricing.
You can find the full list of fees for both Managed and Bureau services on the FastPay website. The only downsides are these prices aren’t exactly the cheapest options if you’re only going to be collecting a low volume of Direct Debit payments and the initial setup fees are a bit pricey, too. However, there are no monthly fees to pay, which will soon offset the setup fees (most companies charge both).
Clear Direct Debit not only provides Direct Debit processing services but also training and consultancy. So, if you’re looking to take advantage of Direct Debit payments but you’re not entirely sure what kind of setup is best suited to your business, Clear Direct Debit can take you through the entire process.
The company also offers Bacs accredited training for businesses across the UK, which can be useful if you’ve got a team who needs to get up to speed with Direct Debit payments. Unfortunately, Clear Direct Debit doesn’t list its payment processing fees on its website and the company has very little in terms of an online reputation, which makes it tricky to know which kind of businesses the company is most suitable for.
SmarterPay provides Direct Debit and Direct Credit processing, which allows you to set up on-off and recurring payments with customers, as well as pay staff and suppliers with Direct Credit. The company also offers card payment services for both in-person and online payments, complete with shopping cart and payment gateway for selling online. You’re also covered for MOTO transactions (mail order telephone order) and international payments in multiple currencies.
It adds up to a solid offering of payment services but SmartPay is another one guilty of not disclosing its pricing publicly. It also joins the list of Direct Debit processing companies that don’t have much of an online reputation, which only makes it more difficult to make an informed decision.
The potential is certainly there, though.
Smart Debit is the UK’s leading Direct Debit provider offering a well-rounded collection of services for enterprise businesses and SMEs and has and impressive list of major clients in the UK.
They offer 2 pricing tiers with their Bureau service offering the cheaper fee structure – £199 setup fee, £30 monthly fee and 20p per transaction. Their Bureau service is for companies who have their own SUN (service user number) which banks consider issuing around the £1M turnover level.
The company also offers cheque processing and it’s teamed up with Global Payments (Realex) to provide online payment services as well. SmartDebit has an excellent reputation for customer service and its account managers will help you make the most of its services.
As you can see, the services offered by each Direct Debit and recurring payment service provider in this list can vary greatly. Pricing isn’t the only thing to consider here. You also need to look at your existing payment services – if you have any at all – and identify what else your business needs. If you’re only looking to add Direct Debit payments to your existing setup, then your choice is a little easier.
However, if you need something a little more specialised (such as advanced subscription payment features) then your list of options is going to be smaller.
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