Setting up a Direct Debit

Direct Debit is a simple, safe and convenient way to manage your household bills or make regular or occasional payments from your bank or building society account. You agree with the organisation the amount to be collected and the date of payment. From then on the amount will be deducted from your account as agreed. If they need to change the amount or collection date, they have to notify you first.

You can complete a Direct Debit Instruction, obtained from the organisation you wish to pay, and return it to them. With many organisations, you can set up Direct Debits over the telephone or online. The organisation will then forward your instructions onto your bank or building society authorising them to allow payments to be collected from your account to them.

Most current accounts at banks and building societies can be used to make Direct Debit payments. Some special deposit accounts also allow them – just ask at your branch.

You will require the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • The name and address of your bank or building society
  • Your bank or building society account number
  • The branch sort code of your bank or building society (see your debit card or banking app)
  • The name(s) on the account.

You will be sent written confirmation of your Direct Debit Instruction within three working days of the telephone call or online sign up, or alternatively no fewer than 10 working days before the first collection. Simply check the details and contact the organisation you're paying if you have a query. Regardless of what method of sign up you use, you are still fully covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee.

Under the rules of the Direct Debit Scheme the organisation you are paying is responsible for checking all the information contained on your Direct Debit Instruction and satisfying themselves that they have sufficient identification. If your bank or building society has any reason to doubt the authenticity then they may request a copy of the Direct Debit Instruction from the organisation.

No. Only the account holder can set up the Direct Debit Instruction. In this instance the organisation concerned would forward a paper Direct Debit Instruction to you for authorisation.

Around 40,000 organisations use Direct Debits for collecting a variety of regular and occasional bills including utility payments, insurance, council tax, mortgages, loans, vehicle tax, and subscriptions.

No, Direct Debits can only be set up from a UK bank account.

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