A Service User Number (SUN) is a unique six-digit number given to Direct Debit merchants as a way of identifying them from other users. Businesses can get allocated their own Service User Number or submit payments indirectly through a Direct Debit bureau.
Also known as SUNs, Service User Numbers are used by Bacs as a unique identifier to organise and manage transaction records. A Service User Number is most commonly used by banks as a tool for looking up information about a business within the Bacs database.
Obtaining a Service User Number is the first step in getting your business started with Direct Debit. Without one, transactions can’t take place. To get a Service User Number, your business must be sponsored by one of the UK’s banks.
Obtaining a Service User Number
The first thing you want to do is get in contact with your bank and kickstart the application process. Every bank has its own set of criteria which businesses must meet, as well as a set of mandatory conditions. Acceptance onto the Direct Debit scheme will be granted dependent on:
1) Your business’s bank account
A UK GBP bank account is a mandatory requirement of the Direct Debit scheme.
2) The quality of your administrative control
Your business must be able to prove that it can manage submissions without the risk of errors or financial mismanagement
3) Your financial standing
You must be able to refund your sponsor bank in the instance of an indemnity claim under the Direct Debit Guarantee.
4) Your organisation’s contractual capacity
To compensate your sponsor bank against any claims under the Direct Debit guarantee.
Banks are also less likely to consider businesses that have been established for under three years, or businesses that have a turnover of less than £1 million.
Using a third-party Service User Number
If you have difficulty getting hold of a Service User Number, or you want an opportunity to improve your Direct Debit collection success, then you can join forces with a Direct Debit bureau.
A Direct Debit bureau’s job is to take over the management of your Direct Debit process in order to boost sales, improve collection rates and drive customer retention.
When you enlist the help of a Direct Debit bureau, you can use their Service User Number or, in some cases, one that they have set up for you. Using a Direct Debit bureau cuts out the application process as they will be the one making Direct Debit submissions on behalf of your business.
Here at DFC, we operate using our own Service User Number. Even so, a large number of our clients still use us to collect payments on their behalf using their own SUN – the choice is yours.
At DFC, we offer a full service approach to collecting Direct Debit membership payments for gyms, leisure centres and other health & fitness operators.
We are focused on making running your business easier. Reducing time spent on admin work, and helping you take control of your entire member journey to increase retention and revenue.
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