Online joining is the pinnacle of gym membership acquisition

Hooray for the internet! Without it, we wouldn’t have cats and cucumbers, email and lazy shopping experiences. Gym personnel would also find themselves working a lot harder to onboard members.

Luckily for them, somewhere amongst the myriad of YouTube wormholes and social media, we also have an equally brilliant web function called online joining, removing the hassle of membership collection once and for all.

What is an online joining portal?

Back in the day, people would have to fill out physical forms if they wanted to sign up to a Direct Debit. This was a great deal of rigmarole for customers, who would have to deliver said form to an organisation in person or by post, as well as a pain for organisations, as they would then have to find somewhere to store it.

A quick and convenient solution, the introduction of online joining allowed people to visit the website of the organisation in question and sign up to a Direct Debit from their couch or en route to a fitness class. It remains as one of the most prominent methods of obtaining Direct Debit payments for gyms, due to its ability to efficiently manage the constant flow of new members.

But there are a whole host of other benefits

  • Online joining is available 24/7. People can sign up at their convenience, even after the gym’s lights are out for the night.
  • The sign-up process is incredibly quick. A few personal questions, some bank details and it’s done with very little inconvenience to the customer.
  • It provides an easy marketing tactic for gyms, who generally rely on a well-constructed campaign as a way of getting new members through the door. The sheer ease of online joining is an attractive sales point in itself. Beyond this, a link to the portal can be included in marketing collateral, encouraging people to sign up on the spot.
  • Some online joining platforms come with a white-labelling option, tailoring the system to your brand.
  • Membership fees can be adjustable. Got an offer on the go? You can amend the pricing to suit this.
  • It’s paperless! All data can be stored safely online. This is automated and allows for a much more organised filing structure. Staff can devote more time to customer service and the gym’s facilities.

Can you give me an example of online joining?

DFC’s online joining portal, FastDD, is a popular choice amongst gyms and fitness clubs across the UK. A simple yet effective online sign-up tool, FastDD is bespoke to your branding and secure. Automatic bank verification reduces errors on entry, speeding up the process and ensuring higher conversion rates.

What really tips the scale for most gyms deciding between online joining options, is the smooth integration offered through DFC. As well as being easily implemented into your website, FastDD can also be linked up to a huge range of CRMs. If a CRM is not included in their catalogue, they are happy to extend their offering to include it.

Leisure Trust, Live Active, opted to use FastDD as a way of coping with a growing influx of new members. They needed a way to save time in-house and FastDD provided a fantastic solution. Marketing Manager, Karen Nichol, said: “DFC offered us an additional income generating opportunity. It’s allowed us to concentrate on sales rather than admin.”


Find out more about how you can streamline your gym’s membership provision through DFC here.

Using Direct Debit for membership and subscription payments

Let’s be honest. The one aspect people want to consider the least when signing up to a gym membership, or subscribing to their favourite magazine, is the finance implication. They want an easy ride. A way to continue their payments without any real effort on their part. Organisations want something similar.

That’s where Direct Debit comes in. A quick and simple way for people to sign up from the comfort of their couch, Direct Debit provides a solution that benefits businesses and and their loyal, paying customers in equal measures.

No late payments

Direct Debit membership and subscription payments are collected on an agreed basis. This could be weekly, quarterly, monthly or any other suitable billing frequency. Rather than taking payments from cards, a process which has high default statistics, fees are taken from the customer’s bank account directly and the responsibility falls on the business, or their Direct Debit bureau, to ensure continual transactions are carried out.

Incentives and discounts

Time is money. Whilst Direct Debit proves a cheaper alternative to card payments, which costs two to three per cent per transaction and a flat fee of 20-30p, it also saves a great deal of administrative tedium. This has positive repercussions for a business’s bottom line. Instead of chucking away cash on collection management, money saved by using Direct Debit can be focused on member retention and acquisition. It’s a win-win for both parties!

Convenient sign up process

Speaking of member acquisition, piquing a potential customer’s interest up that first transaction can prove laborious – sales teams will certainly sympathise! Ensuring a quick and simple sign-up process (and a grade A selling point) will make your sales team’s job easier. Gyms across the country use DFC’s online joining portal, FastDD, as a way for new members to easily join their organisation. It’s accessible 24/7, allowing people to join even after their doors have closed for the night.

Protected and adaptable

Maybe someone wants to increase their video subscription to premium, or your health club is being refurbished for a month. Unlike its inflexible cousins (think standing order), Direct Debit payment amounts or dates can be adjusted in line with fluctuations. Making transactional changes is easy. An organisation must simply inform the customer of any amendments up to ten days before taking the payment, as per the Direct Debit Guarantee. Immediate refunds will be made in case of an error on either side, and Direct Debits can be cancelled at any time.

Direct Debit bureau management

Organisations that rely on a Direct Debit bureau to manage their Direct Debit transactions will see their collection rates, customer acquisition and attrition, and their reputation improve. A Direct Debit bureau, such as DFC, will do all the difficult work collecting, managing and chasing customers, so that businesses are never left out of pocket. This way, businesses can dedicate more time to the people that truly matter – their customers.


Find out why so many organisations are using forward-thinking Direct Debit collection company DFC to collect Direct Debits from their members and subscribers here.

2017 was a record-breaking year for Direct Debit!

Another revolution around the sun, another celebration of record-breaking success for the ever-popular payment solution Direct Debit.

The latest figures published by Bacs detail continued growth for Direct Debit over the course of 2017. It would seem that this champion payment method isn’t set to decline in the minds of businesses and consumers anytime soon.

In 2017:

Direct Debit experienced 3.8% growth

The total value of Direct Debit transactions racked up to an impressive £1.3 billion.


That’s a whopping 155 million more payments per annum than the previous year

This brings the the total number of transactions in 2017 up to 4.2 billion, a big lead on 2016.


Direct Debit payments average out at an additional three more for every adult in the UK

Hooray! That’s a whole lot of new gym memberships, which can only mean a healthier population.


Bacs social media review figures show a 95% positivity rate for Direct Debit

It makes sense when you consider the array of benefits that Direct Debit provides.


Direct Debit contributed to the record processing high set by Bacs last June

With assistance from Direct Debit’s sibling, Direct Credit, more than 111 million payments were processed in just one day. This was 120,000 transactions in just one minute – an impressive PB!


On discussing Direct Debit’s positive growth trend over 2017, Bacs Chief Executive Officer, Michael Chambers, rightly commented: ‘quite honestly. the less that consumers and businesses need to think about the financial ‘plumbing’ the better!’

Very eloquently put. He’s right. Direct Debit is nothing if not convenient, and we at DFC look forward to seeing its convenience carry it to even more new highs over the course of the 2017. Stay posted!