This high-level guide aims to help you get started with GoCardless, explaining the key features and functionalities available within the product. We have also included instructions on how these can be utilised using either the GoCardless dashboard or a direct API integration.
Note this is not an exhaustive reference to all features, so if you want more detail, please refer to our Support Centre and API developer documents. Alternatively, our Support team are available to give further advice and answer specific queries.
- Overview of Direct Debit
- Overview of GoCardless
- Creating your account
- Configuring your account
- Adding customers
- Viewing customer information
- Updating customer information
- Cancelling customers
- Collecting Direct Debit authorisation
- Mandate statuses
- Creating mandates
- Viewing mandate information
- Updating mandates
- Cancelling mandates
- Types of payment
- Payment statuses
- Payment timings
- Creating payments
- Adding payment references
- Viewing payment information
- Updating payments
- Cancelling payments
- Retrying failed payments
- Refunding payments
- Creating a subscription
- Updating a subscription
- Cancelling a subscription
- Viewing payouts
- Exporting payout information
- Chargebacks / [indemnity] claims
- GoCardless email notifications
- Custom email notifications
- Custom payment pages
- Adding custom fields / metadata
Overview of Direct Debit
Direct Debit is an automated payment method which allows the recipient to collect payments from the payee’s bank account. Direct Debit has two key features:
- It is pull based: Once you have a Direct Debit instruction set up with your customer, you can initiate Direct Debit payments provided the customer has been notified in advance
- The payments are bank-to-bank: There are no card networks involved in the Direct Debit scheme. This has significant benefits when taking payments on an ongoing basis such as lower costs and higher customer retention as churn due to card expiry is completely eliminated
Direct Debit is a widely used payment method across the globe. Different territories operate different schemes such as Bacs in the UK, SEPA across the Eurozone and BECS in Australia. Click here for more information on how GoCardless can help collect payments in various regions.
Overview of GoCardless
GoCardless makes it easy to take recurring payments online. We are creating a new international payments network to rival credit and debit cards. Our ambition is to break down barriers so businesses can quickly and easily take payments from anyone, anywhere in the world. For further information on GoCardless and international payments, please click here.
i). Creating your account
To get started with GoCardless, you need to:
- Create a GoCardless account
- Add your company and contact details
- Connect and verify your bank account
ii). Configuring your account
Your GoCardless account can be configured by logging in and accessing your Settings page. We strongly recommend configuring the following settings based on your business preferences:
a). Two-step sign in / Multi-Factor Authorisation (MFA): The two-step sign-in process increases the security of your GoCardless account. The first step requires you to enter your email address and password as you set up at account creation. With MFA enabled, you would then receive an SMS text message to your specified mobile phone number containing a code which you’ll enter to complete step two of the login process. Alternatively, you can make use of an Authenticator app instead of an SMS text which would periodically generate a new code.
b). Adding additional users: You can add multiple users to your GoCardless account. Each user will be able to log on to the same dashboard but using different login details. Each user can have one of three access levels:
- i) Read-only: User can view resources but not create or update anything.
- ii) Read-write: User can read and write standard resources, but is restricted from changing developer or company settings.
- iii) Admin: User can manage company settings, as well as reading and writing standard resources.
c). Email alerts: The default account settings include you receiving email alerts related to payouts. You can further specify which optional notification emails you receive relating to new customers and payment events (e.g. payment failures, chargebacks, etc.)
d). Contact preferences: You can specify contact preferences for:
- i) Support contact details: These contact details are provided to your customers if they get in touch with GoCardless.
- ii) Developer contact details: If you use GoCardless through an API integration, developer contact details will be used to provide updates on any changes to our API.
- iii) Billing contact details: These contact details are used to send payout notification emails or get in touch with any billing related queries.
|Adding customers||Send customers a request to set up a Direct Debit||Click to view article||Click to view documentation|
|Viewing customer information||Access customer information such as the date the customer was added, contact details, payment history, etc.||Click to view article||Click to view documentation|
|Updating customer information||Update customer related information (e.g. address, email etc.).||Coming soon||Click to view documentation|
|Cancelling customers||Cancel a customer to invalidate their Direct Debit mandate. You will no longer be able to create payments for them and the customer will appear on the dashboard as 'inactive’|
|Collecting Direct Debit authorisation||You are required to obtain authorisation from your customers in order to set up a Direct Debit. Without a Direct Debit mandate in place, you are unable to charge your customers using Direct Debit.||Click to view article||-|
|Mandate statuses||A mandate will always have a status assigned to it. Payments can only be collected from a customer when a mandate is 'active'.||Click to view article||-|
|Creating mandates||Create a Direct Debit mandate to collect payments from a customer via Direct Debit.||Click to view article||Click to view documentation|
|Viewing mandate information||You can view information on a customer's Direct Debit mandate, including details of any associated subscriptions and / or payments.|
|Updating mandates||You can update the bank account a customer is using to make their payments, effectively updating their Direct Debit mandate.||
|Cancelling mandates||When you cancel a mandate, all associated pending payments will also be cancelled. The customer will also move to 'inactive' status.|
|Types of payment||
GoCardless offers multiple payment types and creation processes to use according to your business preferences - subscriptions, one off payments, plans, paylinks, and bulk payment imports.
|Click to view article|
|Payment statuses||Each payment will always have a status assigned to it according to where it is in the process.||Click to view article||-|
The time required to process a payment through GoCardless varies for each available Direct Debit scheme.
|Click to view article||-|
|Creating payments||Create an individual, one-off payment for one or multiple customers.|
|Adding payment references||Payment references can be added to individual payments to make them more easily identifiable for customers when viewing their bank statements.|
|Viewing payment information||Access and view payment information such as creation date, submission date, charge date etc.||Click to view article||Click to view documentation|
|Updating payments||You are not able to edit the charge date or amount on an existing payment. You can only cancel a payment before it is submitted to the banking system for processing.||n/a||n/a|
|Cancelling payments||Individual payments can be cancelled any time up until they are submitted to the bank for processing. This happens at 4pm GMT across all schemes, but varies in the number of days prior to the charge date. Please check scheme payment timings for further information.||Click to view article||Click to view documentation|
|Retrying failed payments||Where it's possible to retry a payment (when the customer's Direct Debit mandate is still active), you can retry a failed payment up to a maximum of 3 times.||Click to view article||Click to view documentation|
|Refunding payments||Refund functionality is only available to merchants on our Pro package and is assessed on a case by case basis. If approved and enabled, any payments refunded through GoCardless are sent to the customer using the Faster Payment method. These funds are settled against your collected payments.||Click to view article||Click to view documentation|
|Creating a subscription||Create a recurring payment subscription for a customer||Click to view article||Click to view documentation|
|Updating a subscription||Update the amount being charged to a customer through their subscription. (Please note: it is not possible to update the charge date; a new subscription would need to be created).||Click to view article||Click to view documentation|
|Cancelling a subscription||Cancel an existing customer subscription. (Please note, if a payment within the subscription has moved into processing, cancelling the subscription will not cancel the payment - this will need to be cancelled separately)||Click to view article||Click to view documentation|
|Viewing payouts||You can view a breakdown of each payout you receive from GoCardless.||Click to view article||Click to view documentation|
|Exporting payout information||You are able to export payout information in a CSV format.||Click to view article||-|
|Chargebacks / Indemnity claims||Chargebacks and indemnity claims are two terms commonly used to describe the same situation – when a customer reclaims funds that were collected through the Direct Debit scheme, via their bank. The process and ability for payers to action this varies between Direct Debit schemes. More information on chargebacks and how to dispute a chargeback can be found here.|
|GoCardless email notifications||Each Direct Debit scheme has strict requirements for sending notifications to customers. GoCardless sends fully compliant emails to your customers on your behalf. Additionally, we will also notify you in relation to your customer’s payments and any payouts. For more information on GoCardless notifications, click here.|
|Custom email notifications||By default, customers making payments through GoCardless are notified of their upcoming payments via GoCardless' standard notification emails. If you are using GoCardless Pro, you can send out your own customised notifications to greatly improve your customers' experience. If you want to send your own emails, we’ll work with you to make sure your emails comply with Direct Debit scheme rules and give you the final approval on behalf of our sponsor bank. For further information on designing your custom email notifications, click here.|
|Custom payment pages||If you are using GoCardless Pro, you can use our custom online payment pages feature to provide your customers with a bespoke experience right from the start. If you would like to use your own payment pages, we’ll work with you to make sure your pages comply with the Direct Debit scheme rules and give you the final approval on behalf of our sponsor bank. For further information on designing your custom payment pages, click here.|
|Adding custom fields / metadata||You can add up to three pairs of additional information to your customers. This is done via custom fields and can be used for things such as custom references, account numbers etc. For further information, click here.|