Keep track and keep ahead with Data Retrieval

Welcome to the future with our innovative solution for your business – DFC Data Retrieval Service. It helps you keep your customers’ Direct Debit data up to date and makes it a breeze to monitor and maintain their payment information.

 

What exactly is data retrieval?

Data Retrieval is DFC’s unique management system provides you with up-to-date reports on your incoming Direct Debit payments. It gives you the tools to make membership and subscription administration a breeze.

 

How can it benefit my business?

Thanks to DFC’s unique management platform, integrating DFC’s Data Retrieval System to your existing CRM can be done with no hassle. It also makes the process easy and user-friendly, without having to deal with complex queries to extract the desired data. However, this does not mean that our Data Retrieval Solution isn’t powerful.

In fact, it has the capabilities to help you track, monitor and manage:

Existing Direct Debit information;

Unpaid Direct Debits;

Frozen Direct Debits;

The new DDs that have been processed;

Customer, that have cancelled the instruction;

Accessible 24/7, Data Retrieval can provide you with handy insights on anything from your best-paying customers to your worst – information that could ultimately be strongly impacting your bottom line.

 

Why should I choose DFC?

We offer a transparent service, with clear pricing and no hidden extras. Constantly working hard to provide new solutions for our clients, we deliver on our promises – day in and day out.

Our mission is to make our clients business easier and help improve your relationships with your customers so that they stay longer. You can let us collect your Direct Debits, while you concentrate on running and growing your business and on the things that you really value.

Best practise for secure Direct Debit collections

The GDPR is now in force! Are you locking your work computers? Have you updated your passwords? And have you reassessed your Direct Debit strategy?

Whilst Direct Debit is one of the safest payment methods available in the UK (governed under the rules of the Direct Debit Guarantee), safeguards are a vital facet in any situation where money and personal data unite.

Here are some of the safety measures you can put in place to ensure your Direct Debit practise operates smoothly:

  1. Use online joining – gyms and fitness centres, in particular, have lorded online joining as the holy grail of membership acquisition. Online joining, such as DFC’s FastDD, is a safe way for customers to sign up to a Direct Debit. Automatic bank verification reduces delays and errors on first payment, and all data is locked away in a paperless vault (aka. Your CRM).
  2. Keep the bank and Bacs in the loop – particularly with regards to your security info. If this information is incorrect, then they may not be able to get in touch regarding important matters. They’re also less likely to accept authorised verbal instructions.
  3. Develop a damage control strategy – most operations function much more efficiently when processes are put in place. A disaster mitigation plan will set the wheels in motion to handle something as small as late payments (which are unfortunately a given) to rarer crises such as system failures.
  4. Use a bureau – this is arguably some of the best advice you will receive, in this case for contingency, but also for many other motives. A bureau will handle every aspect of the Direct Debit process for you, from the attainment of a member or subscriber to customer service and data control. Bureaus are the font of knowledge on everything Direct Debit. Security is their forte and they’re happy to remove the onus from you.

 

Who is DFC?

DFC is a leading Direct Debit bureau offering a transparent service, with clear pricing and no hidden extras.

DFC’s mission is to make our clients business easier and help improve your relationships with your customers so that they stay longer. You can let DFC collect your Direct Debits, while you concentrate on running and growing your business.

Direct Debit in the educational sector

Did you know that every year, we pay more than 55 million in business to business direct debits? Even more reason to start using this method to ensure you are paid on time. This is important in any sector, but even more so in education. Let’s find out why!

Imagine having finally set up your tutoring business or an after-school sports club with wholly positive expectations to be able to inspire and motivate children to only find out that you start having a cashflow problem. One week it’s a forgotten wallet, then it’s ‘I’ll write you a check next time’ or ‘Oh, I thought I paid for the month’. You may even hear complaints that your services are too expensive!

It’s not uncommon for businesses to just give up and quit the economy. There must be something better.

This is where payment by direct debit comes in as the solution to all these problems. From private tuition to secondary schools and nurseries, from sports clubs to academies and boarding schools – payment by direct debit makes it easy and transparent for parents to pay and for the organisation to receive the payment as soon as possible and with no problems or extortionate fees.

 

Benefits

 

Flexible payments:

Hourly, weekly, monthly – we have it covered. This degree of flexibility, coupled with our dedicated team’s efforts makes it easy for the parents to keep track of their finances whilst staying on top of household bills.

 

Cost-effective for businesses

Cuts in administrative costs that would normally arise from cash and cheque payments, DD solutions are also cheaper per transaction than debit and credit card payments.

 

More secure

Direct Debit Guarantee for a peace of mind.

 

Fast to set up

Gone are the times when you had to sign everything on paper. Providing the opportunity for parents to sign up online would make it a breeze. From a business perspective, it makes it easy to do accounting and analysis of payments.

 

When used in promotions, it’s been proven that direct debit can nearly double the conversion rate

and it helps to retain customers loyalty, which can give you a competitive advantage over other tutoring businesses for example.

 

DFC and the educational sector

DFC offers Revenue Management Solutions for in the Education & Childcare sector. Find out more about DFC and get in touch.

Overseas Direct Debit – an overview of how Direct Debit operates in countries outside the UK

What is SEPA Direct Debit?

Normally, Direct Debits can only be made between accounts within the same country. SEPA is the exception – it allows for Direct Debits in EUR to be made cross-border and nationally since 2009.

SEPA Direct Debit is a European initiative that allows merchants to collect Direct Debits in Euro denomination. SEPA is comprised of the 28 EU countries, together with Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino.

Within the individual non-Eurozone countries, local payment rules apply – SEPA payments are only valid for cross-border transactions in non-Eurozone countries.

Within the Eurozone, however, all bank accounts in EUR should now have been migrated to SEPA payments. This means that SEPA rules apply to national Direct Debits also.

SEPA Direct Debits consists of two separate functionalities – Core SDD – which covers consumers. Banks that provide SEPA payments must mandatorily participate in this scheme. B2B SDD is targeting businesses and the participation of the banks is optional.

 

What are the key benefits of SEPA Direct Debits?

  • Faster retail payments;
  • Consumers’ payment protection;
  • Cost-savings for businesses and reducing the threshold for market entry;
  • IBAN and BIC standardisation;
  • Simplifying cross-border payments.

 

SEPA Direct Debits in the UK

To be able to receive SEPA Direct Debits, businesses in the UK need to take a few steps:

  • Collect IBAN and BIC information for all payments in EUR in an organised format;
  • Obtain a Creditor Identifier from your bank.
  • Consider the relevant deadlines.
  • File submissions should be done in the SEPA XML file format.

 

How do Direct Debits operate in different countries?

 

Germany

In Germany, there are two distinct types of Direct Debit systems – Einzugsermächtigung and Abbuchungsauftrag. Direct Debit is called Lastschrift or just ELV – Electronic Direct Debit.

The former type is the most common – the benefactor authorises the payee to debit their account – for a fixed period, one-off or until further notice.

A Direct Debit agreement has to be signed and transactions can be disputed and credited back for a certain period of time.

The latter type is a lot less commonly used – in this case, the payer authorizes their bank to process Direct Debit requests. The transactions are verified by the bank; therefore, it is much harder for them to be returned – it is only via the legal system. It is less convenient than the Einzugsermächtigung, so it’s mostly used for B2B transactions.

 

The Netherlands

Like Germany, a payer can authorise a company to collect Direct Debits without notifying the bank. Around 45% of all transactions are Direct Debits in the Netherlands.

Transactions can be recurring or one-off – and organisations have to sign a Direct Debit agreement called automatische incasso with the bank.

Unauthorised transactions can be disputed via the bank within certain time afterwards – usually 8 weeks. One-off transactions can be recalled within 5 days. Banks can also be instructed to put a selective block or a blanket block on Direct Debits to certain account numbers or for all Direct Debits.

 

Ireland

Direct Debits can be initiated in writing or over the phone. If there’s a dispute about transactions, protections will be put on the account to prevent debit transactions coming out.

 

Denmark

Direct Debits are widely used in Denmark for household payments – the service started in the 1970s by PBS (now Nets Holding) and is called Betalingsservice. Approximately, 95% of Danish households have at least one Direct Debit. In 2012 more than 16,500 businesses, public authorities and associations (creditors) carried out 195 billion payments using Direct Debits.

 

Sweden

Autogiro is the Direct Debit scheme for collecting payments in SEK from customers in Sweden. The scheme is managed by Bankgirot, the clearinghouse for inter-bank payment. In Sweden, the problem of Direct Debit fraud is much smaller than in the UK, since there are more strict requirements on which companies that can use Direct Debit.

 

US

In the United States, Direct Debit usually means an Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer from a bank account to a payee, initiated by the payee.

 

South Africa

In South Africa, Direct Debits (called debit orders), are performed through the ACB (Automated. Clearing Bureau). Debit orders are often a preferred method of payment as they’re quick, safe and cheaper than other methods.

There are three types of debit orders: EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer), NAEDO (Non-authenticated Early Debit Order) and AEDO (Authenticated Early Debit Order).

A new payment system in South Africa is being been devised, called AC – Authenticated Collection – it will give consumers upfront knowledge about their Direct Debits through an electronic authentication process, ensure that Direct Debit payments will be authorised legally and rule out any cash flow management strategies from abusive consumers.

 

How can DFC benefit your business through SEPA Direct Debits?

DFC offers Revenue Management Solutions for clients with a global customer base. Find out more about DFC and get in touch.

The importance of scrutinising your member’s payments

Knowing your audience is important. As attentive leisure organisations, we tend to know our member demographics but we don’t pay much attention to the finer details of our customer payments. This is essential when you think about it, what with money being the end goal of every business.

 

 So what are we looking out for?

Thriving fitness organisations as we are, we witness a continuous tide of new and returning members entering our facilities. Each of these will have invested something different into us. Some will be loyal, others less so. Some may be getting away with lost payments and you don’t even know about it.

The majority of customer payments are collected by Direct Debit. Whilst this is an easy solution for membership collection, it remains vital to keep track of where your money is coming in, for a number of reasons:

  1. Keeping a closer eye on customer payments will enable you to better understand your cashflow, allowing you future-proof your income in a clearer and much more accurate way.
  2. You can gain an improved understanding of your best and worst paying customers. This way, you can reward customer loyalty and start thinking about safeguards to deter customer’s that are a drain on resources.
  3. Following the peaks and troughs of member sign-ups on a more granular level will help you to plan offers and incentives that really work!
  4. Sometimes, defaulted payments slip the net. When you’re a busy organisation with a multitude of tasks on the go, that’s often the way it is. Unfortunately, however, little else burns a hole in the company pocket than lost payments so being on top of them really is crucial.

 

More analytics

Thank the stars for the internet and all the information contained within. Whilst manually analysing all your financial information can leech time away like little else, the internet has birthed the ability to have all the data at your fingertips in seconds!

Reports, such as leading Direct Debit bureau DFC’s Data Retrieval, can provide you with an in-depth overview of your transactions, customer insights and areas that need attention. It’s one of the reasons that so many leisure organisations use DFC to manage their Direct Debit collection.

Data Retrieval is available 24/7 and can be easily integrated with existing CRM systems. Find out more about DFC’s fantastic Direct Debit solutions and see what they can do to help you turn around member attrition, credit control and plenty more: https://www.debitfinance.co.uk/solutions

Managing your Direct Debits

People like Direct Debits. They’re easy to setup and require little maintenance past the odd check-up. Despite this, they still fall under the perplexing finance umbrella which, for many, is a complex place to be. So here’s the low-down on bossing your direct debit payments.
 

Setting up a Direct Debit

In order to get started with Direct Debit payments, you will first need to fill out a Direct Debit Instruction with the company you’re wishing to pay. This can usually be done over the phone or via an online portal.

This will be sent forward to your bank or building society, which will authorise payments from your account to theirs. You’ll simply need your name and address, your sort code and account number and any additional information required by the company related to your purchase.

 

Direct Debit queries

Knowing who to speak to with Direct Debit matters really comes down to the nature of your inquiry. It’s more than likely that you will need to get in touch with the company in question, particularly if your concern relates to your membership/subscription or payments.

If your queries relate directly to the Direct Debit process, then get in touch with your bank or building society. In the event of any errors or miscarriages, you’re protected under the Direct Debit guarantee. You can read more about this here.

 

Payment changes

Many people choose to use Direct Debit due to its flexibility, unlike standing orders which only allow fixed amounts going out at set intervals. You’ll be notified of any changes to the amount, date or frequency of a payment within 10 working days of the payment.

Without advance notice, you are entitled to a refund under the rules of the Direct Debit Guarantee.

 

Direct Debit cancellations

You can cancel your Direct Debit at any time by simply getting in touch with your bank or building society, however, it is advisable that you notify this to the organisation you are paying to. If you wish to continue using them, then you will have to discuss alternative payment methods.

Ensure that you cancel your Direct Debit with a minimum of a day’s grace before the payment is due to come out as you may find the payment will still be made. Money shouldn’t be collected post-cancellation, so be sure to check your statement afterwards.

 

Direct Debit top tips:
  • Always ensure you have sufficient funds in your account to sustain your Direct Debit payments.
  • Stay on top of your outgoing payments so you can remain vigilant in case of errors.
  • Keep an eye out for Direct Debit offers. Direct Debit is a cheap collection method for companies so many will offer incentives for you choosing to pay this way.
  • A rewards account is a great way to get money back or rewards from banks when you pay your Direct Debits through them.
  • Direct Debits are a great choice for paying bills, insurance, mortgages, loans and subscriptions and memberships. Around 15,000 UK organisations offer this collection method.

 

Find out more about DFC’s trusted and transparent Direct Debit collection solutions. Our mission is to help you improve your relationships with your customers so that they stay longer. You can leave us to collect your Direct Debits, while you concentrate on running – and growing – your business.

Incorrect payments and refunds

A Direct Debit is known to be one of the safest and easiest ways to pay for your products and services, but as with anything errors can occur. Whether you’re a customer who has entered bank details incorrectly or a business that has taken a payment a day early, we have got you covered on what to do.

 

Check the Direct Debit set up details

When a Direct Debit is set up all parties should be aware of the amount due to be taken and the date in which this will be deducted from an account. A document known as an ‘advanced notice’ will be issued to the bank account owner. If the amount taken or the transaction date differs from what is stipulated on the advanced notice, an immediate refund may be available as part of the Direct Debit Guarantee.

An important thing for both customers and businesses to check is whether the payment date has been changed to allow for an upcoming bank holiday or weekend. If a payment is set to fall on a National Holiday e.g. Christmas Day it is common practice that the payment date will be changed to a day further in advance e.g. December 28.

On occasion, a payment may be deducted earlier than expected. Where this is the case, notification should be given to the account holder.

 

What to do when you are certain an error has been made

Once you are certain an error has been made, the bank in which the account is held should be contacted immediately, either face to face or via email, letter or telephone communication.

It is helpful to know that if an unauthorised payment has caused you to become overdrawn you can also claim back these additional charges.

Payment errors should be refunded immediately. Where this is not done a complaint can be raised with the bank in question directly or through the Financial Ombudsman.

 

Delays in refunds are possible

In many instances, a refund is not immediately paid because the bank and the organisation that mistook the payment will need to liaise with one another.  Your bank should give you a rough timescale on how long they think this will take. It is also important to remember that the bank is the party that is responsible for chasing the refund, meaning the process is relatively stress-free for customers.

If you are a business and you have been made aware by a customer that an error has been made, whilst it can be frustrating to hear, you must make the customer aware that for data protection and security purposes only the account holder can report the error.

 

Further guidance

Whilst we hope the above has clarified the course of action one should take if a payment error has occurred, however further help and support can be found for DFC customers/ clients by calling the dedicated helpline 01908 422 000 or by completing an enquiry form.

Is it time to consider direct debit?

A set amount coming out of your bank account every month in the form of a direct debit can sometimes seem like a daunting prospect. However, here at DFC, we know this is one of the safest and easiest ways to pay for your products and services, with the benefits far outweighing the negatives.

If you have a direct debit mandate in front of you or are tempted to pay this way to secure yourself the best deal, then have a read of this blog post to find out why direct debit is for you!

 

There’s a safety net in place for if things go wrong

Let’s imagine you write a cheque to your local gym, ensuring your salsa classes are booked and paid for for the next six months. You quickly check your online banking and notice the amount has been deducted not once but twice. Now hours of phone calls to your bank and the gym are about to take place, with the dance class a distant memory.

Set Direct Debit payments to prevent this, with a Guarantee in place ensuring that customers will get a full and immediate refund if a payment error has been made.

 

Your money is immediately available, meaning a better service for YOU

A fixed amount going into a business’s account every month gives companies the opportunity to put that money back into the business, rather than having to wait until more revenue comes in to fix the rowing machine!

It’s easy to assume that businesses want you to pay by Direct Debit to boost their balance. Whilst all companies have bills to pay, your direct debit payments mean funds are available to improve the products and services you are paying for.

 

No late payments

Is there anything worse than having to pay a company, for not paying a company? Two payments deducted for one service.

With a Direct Debit in place, you can rest assured knowing how much is coming out and when.

 

It’s easier to manage your money

We would all like our savings accounts to be fuller and for money to be more readily available when needed. However, many of us just don’t have large amounts of cash to spare meaning that a little and often direct debit payment is the perfect way to avoid missing out.

 

You can get access to the service you want more quickly

Alternative payment methods (to direct debit) often involve remembering to send a cheque or engaging in a telephone conversation. With direct debit, if you decide you want something you can visit the website and sign up there and then!

Our valuable call centre does more to help your customers

The internet is great for answering all manner of intricate questions and emails are fantastic for squaring off quick queries. Sometimes though, you just need to speak to a human. That’s where call centres come in.

This is particularly pertinent in complicated areas such as finance. Providing a quick, direct line of communication that allows people to settle matters from the comfort of their own home is a cornerstone of customer service.

DFC set up their call centre to deflect the onus off busy organisations without the necessary knowledge or time to deal with Direct Debit queries. It’s proved an ongoing success, with almost 50% of all enquiries now handled over the phone!

 

A high grade of service

DFC’s trained call centre experts are busy taking up to 20,000 calls a month from their client’s customers. Enquiries cover everything from the setup of Direct Debits to cancelling and changing payment dates.

It’s their goal not to get caught up in the negative associations that befall most call centres, especially in areas like wait times. DFC’s call handlers’ answer 95% of all calls that come their way and 75% of these are picked up within the first 45 seconds.

With the reputation of their clients reflected in the service provided by DFC’s handlers, it’s imperative that all calls are handled in a professional and effective manner.

More recently, they opened their doors on a Saturday to provide support to hard-working individuals who simply don’t have the time to get in touch during the week. This way, customers can manage their payments more efficiently and busy organisations can get back to what they do well – growing their business.

 

Training and security

One of the top priorities at DFC’s call centre is security. When handling sensitive data frequently, it’s imperative not to let it fall into wayward hands.

All customers are taken through a series of security questions before their enquiry is dealt with and staff are trained to a level in which they are competent to comfortably handle all safety measures that are in place.

Beyond this, employees undergo a thorough training induction that teaches them the ins and outs of the business alongside the nature of calls handled on a day to day basis. No stone is left unturned. As a result call handlers can manage each call efficiently and as quickly as possible.

 

Our call centres are open from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 4 pm. If readily available help for your customers regarding their Direct Debits sounds like something you could benefit from, then get in touch now on 01908 422 000 or drop us a message.

Direct Debit for charities and fundraising organisations

A large bulk of income for charitable organisations comes from people making regular donations. For that reason, it makes every bit of sense to use a sustainable collection method that enables a consistent transfer of money with little input from the donor. Direct Debit is the simplest solution.

Luckily, it seems the majority of charitable organisations have taken advantage of this arrangement. According to London and Zurich, Direct Debit now accounts for 31% of all UK voluntary charity donations. In the last year, 58 million donations, worth £1.1bn, were made to UK charities.

The benefits of Direct Debit

Fundraising 

Looking to save money where you can is important to any business, but it’s particularly crucial to charities. On average, a charity spends £0.12 on fundraising for every £1 they receive as a donation. Getting as many donors on board with Direct Debit as you can won’t only ensure a continuous stream of income; it will give you one less person to try and win over.

 

A cheaper alternative  

Direct Debit is cheaper than the majority of collection methods, like credit and debit card. This is a great opportunity to throw incentives, discounts and prize draws into the mix to encourage people to sign up. For example, if you’re a charity-based leisure facility, take this opportunity to push out some membership offers.

 

 Save time on admin

Using Direct Debits means you’ll always know in advance exactly when funds will be cleared and in your bank account. This greatly reduces the room for oversights and cash flow issues within the business. Beyond this, Direct Debits are automated. Never again will you have to worry about where money is coming and going, making it easier to plan to for the future.

 

Spreading costs

How many of us choose to pay that little bit extra and spread our outgoings rather than pay a large sum upfront?  It’s the same story for your charity donors. £2 a week sounds much more appealing than £104 upfront. Once they’re signed up, that’s that. The money comes out of their account automatically.

 

Easy sign-up

Online joining provides another relief to pricey fundraising costs. Quick, convenient and easy, online joining portals like our FastDD give people the option to sign up on a range of platforms wherever they see fit. As long as there’s an internet connection, they can do it from the comfort of their couch or on their commute. This can even also be pushed out on various forms of marketing collateral. Best of all, it’s great for the environment!

 

Go one step further and get in touch with DFC. Our experts can manage your Direct Debits for you, improving collection rates, ensuring knowledgeable customer service for your donors and enhancing your bottom line.