Direct Debits – “With great power comes great responsibility”

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In one of our recent Blogs we wrote about the range of payment arrangements that can be used by accounting and legal firms to enable their clients to pay their bills in a timely manner.  One of the increasingly popular methods involves recurring Direct Debits – both for outstanding invoices and for pre-paid fixed fee arrangements.

Direct Debits are facilitated by the accounting or legal firm (ie creditor or payee) and presented to their client to authorise for processing through the firm’s bank facility.

The Direct Debit Request (DDR) issued to the client must comply with the Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS) regulations,administered by the Australian Payments Network. Amongst the 200 pages of regulations, the main requirements are – the issuer must:

  • provide the client a bank approved Direct Debit Request (DDR) 
  • provide the clients a bank approved DDR Service Agreement (DDR SA) 
  • verify that the person/s signing the DDR are authorised to do so 
  • ensure the DDR shows the firm’s name, address and bank provided User ID
  • ensure the client knows for what services the amounts are being direct debited 
  • retain the signed DDR for at least 7 years after the last direct debit was processed and be able to retrieve it on 3 days’ notice by the bank

Fortunately for FeeSynergy clients, FeeSynergy has done all the hard work to enable its client firms to take full advantage of a properly integrated BECS compliant Direct Debit facility.

So how does the FeeSynergy Direct Debit facility work?

The FeeSynergy Direct Debit facility is a module of the FeeSynergy Collect debtor management platform (Collect).  With this module, it is an easy 2 click process to set up a Direct Debit arrangement to automatically Direct Debit from the client’s nominated bank account or credit/debit card at the agreed interval – typically weekly or monthly. 

The Direct Debit process in Collect enables the firm’s clients to:

  • View the payment schedule
  • View the Direct Debit Request form
  • View the Direct Debit Service Agreement
  • Digitally complete and sign the DDR forms – no more waiting around for documentation to be returned by the client
  • Retain a PDF copy of the signed forms – they are automatically emailed a copy of the signed form

Bank Integration

The Direct Debit function in FeeSynergy Collect has been built with bank grade security and functionality

This capability enables the Collect system to automatically check to see if the scheduled instalments have been successful (99% are successful) and does not depend on manual checking of your bank accounts.  If a Direct Debit payment does fail, the Collect system will be alerted by the bank and a task will be created for the responsible team member to contact the client to arrange a redraw.

Direct Debit facility check list

There are many third-party providers of Direct Debit services in the market. When shopping for a provider you need to consider many things including the client experience and the associated costs. These can vary enormously!

  • Are they PCI DSS compliant and if so, at what level?
  • Are your clients comfortable transacting through a third-party provider?
  • Is a copy of the signed DDR automatically sent to the client once they digitally sign the DDR?
  • Do they offer Direct Debit from bank accounts and credit and debit cards?
  • Is an automatic email sent to the client 2 days before the scheduled Direct Debit date to remind the client to ensure they have sufficient funds in their account to avoid payment dishonour?
  • Whose name appears on the DDR and DDR SA and the client’s card or bank statement – it should only be your firm’s name
  • How much do they charge?  What may seem like small transaction fees soon add up! FeeSynergy’s Direct Debits are only cost $0.30 each!
  • Are the funds settled to your bank account overnight?
  • Do they integrate with FeeSynergy Collect? … No!

Direct Debit facilities are a fantastic addition to the firm’s range of payment options. The FeeSynergy integrated and automated Direct Debit solution ticks all the right boxes!

For further information please email hello@feesynergy.com.au

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