Accepting direct debit payments through GoCardless

Updated 5 months ago

GoCardless logo

GoCardless is one of the world's leading Direct Debit processors, serving more organisations than any other provider.

GoCardless offers a simple & modern API-based platform - making it easy to collect Direct Debit payments in Beacon, and to have those payments flow automatically into Beacon in real-time, without any manual data entry or uploads.


  1. Create a GoCardless account
  2. Connect GoCardless to Beacon
  3. Getting verified
  4. Setting up mandates
  5. Viewing GoCardless subscriptions
  6. Changing subscription amount
  7. Cancelling an upcoming payment
  8. Cancelling a subscription
  9. Collecting payments
  10. Frequently asked questions

link Create a GoCardless account

To collect Direct Debit payments via Beacon, you'll need to connect your GoCardless account to Beacon. If you haven't already got a GoCardless account, you can sign up here.

help_outline You'll need to verify your GoCardless account before you can start collecting Direct Debits through Beacon.

link Connect GoCardless to Beacon

  1. Go to Settings > Payments in your sidebar

  2. Click Connect with GoCardless

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 13.22.36

  1. You'll see a new window open, prompting you to give permission to Beacon to access your GoCardless account. (Connecting will allow Beacon to create payments on your behalf)

  2. Click Connect account

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 13.21.59

  1. That's it! You'll now see the option to set up a direct debit as a payment option on your recurring donation forms. When new subscriptions donations come in, you'll see them in your GoCardless dashboard, as well as in Beacon.

link Getting verified

To collect Direct Debit payments and receive payments through GoCardless, you'll need to verify your GoCardless account. This primarily involves providing information about your charity to GoCardless.

You can get verified at

In Beacon, you'll see your GoCardless verification status once you've connected your account:

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 13.40.06

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 13.42.17

link Setting up mandates

Donors or members can set up mandates using Beacon's online recurring donation forms:

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 14.16.15

After completing their donation, a number of magical things happen automatically.

In GoCardless:

  • A customer will be created
  • A bank account will created (linked to the customer)
  • A mandate will be created (linked to the customer)
  • A subscription will be created for the amount the donor/member chose in the form (linked to the customer)
  • The customer will be sent an email confirming their direct debit (from GoCardless)

In Beacon:

  • A person will be created / updated
  • A Gift Aid declaration will be created (if the Gift Aid box was checked and one doesn't already exist)
  • A subscription will be created (linked to the person)
  • An email will be sent to the donor/member acknowledging them
  • Notification(s) will be sent to internal Beacon users

On top of this, any payments paid as part of the subscription set up will be automatically imported into Beacon once they are processed.

help_outline It's currently not possible to set up mandates manually in the Beacon admin. Let us know if you'd like to see this feature.

link Viewing GoCardless subscriptions

To show just GoCardless subscriptions in your list, filter Subscriptions for 'External ID starts with 'SB''. GoCardless subscriptions filter

Since Beacon is always talking to GoCardless, it's possible to see the status of a someone's Direct Debit mandate and payment schedule by visiting their relevant subscription record.

GoCardless subscription card

help_outline Can't see the GoCardless card? Enter customisation mode, click Add card, and choose 'GoCardless subscription'.Add GoCardless card

link Changing subscription amount

error_outline Make sure you have the permission of the donor before changing any payment amounts

help_outline Can't see a GoCardless card on your subscriptions? See here to add it.

You can change the subscription amount directly from Beacon by clicking the edit button (the pencil!) next to the subscription detail. Update GoCardless subscription amount

You can then enter the new amount, and click Update. Enter new amount GoCardless subscription

The donor will receive an email advising them of the change to their Direct Debit. Email notification GoCardless change

link Cancelling an upcoming payment

help_outline Can't see a GoCardless card on your subscriptions? See here to add it.

In the 'Uncollected Payments' section of the GoCardless card, you can see any future payments that are currently scheduled.

To cancel the next payment, click the 'X' next to the payment. Cancel upcoming GoCardless payment

Click Cancel payment to confirm. Further payments will be unaffected and continue as normal. Cancel payment confirmation GoCardless

link Cancelling a subscription

help_outline Can't see a GoCardless card on your subscriptions? See here to add it.

To cancel someone's subscription, simply click the 'X' next to their subscription on the GoCardless card. Cancel GoCardless subscription

Click Cancel subscription to confirm. This will cancel both the subscription and the underlying Direct Debit mandate. Cancel subscription and mandate confirmation

The donor will receive an email advising them that their mandate has been cancelled, and no further payments will be taken. Direct Debit cancelled email from GoCardless

link Collecting payments

As mentioned previously in the article, any payments collected through GoCardless subscriptions set up via a Beacon form automatically flow into Beacon:

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 14.41.24

help_outline Any subscriptions set up outside of Beacon are not automatically saved to Beacon. However, if you add the subscription ID from GoCardless to the 'External ID' field of the subscription in Beacon, any new payments will be imported automatically. external id

link Disconnecting GoCardless

When you disconnect your GoCardless account from Beacon there are some important steps that you will need to take:

  1. Disconnect GoCardless on your payments page in Beacon

  2. Go to your apps page in GoCardless and revoke access to Beacon:

  3. You will need to either delete your subscriptions or ask GoCardless to remove the fees from each of your subscriptions, otherwise GoCardless will continue to collect fees from your direct debit subscriptions.

link Frequently asked questions

link How do payment timings work?

Unlike credit cards, Direct Debits mandates need ~10 days to be verified by the donor or member's bank before they become active. As such, there will be a bit of a time delay between a donor completing a recurring donation via a Beacon form and the money being paid to you.

When setting up the subscription, Beacon automatically sets up the subscription to issue the charge at the earliest possible date - so you can get paid as soon as possible.

Note: money never touches Beacon's bank account. It's paid directly from GoCardless to you.

link Do we have to be on a particular GoCardless plan?

Beacon works with all GoCardless plans. The Standard plan is good for getting started, but if you'd like to customise the reference shown in donor bank accounts or the email notifications they receive from GoCardless, it's worth checking out the Plus and Pro plans they offer.

Visit the GoCardless pricing page for more information.

Absolutely! Simply put the 'Subscription ID' from GoCardless in the 'External ID' field of the Subscription record in Beacon. We will then automatically add any new payments that get made, and you will also be able to cancel or change the amount of the subscription directly from Beacon.

help_outline The ID will start with 'SB' and can be found from the subscriptions list here, or from the customer's page and then click the relevant subscription.

If you'd like to import these in bulk, see our guide here.

link I've heard Beacon works with multiple currencies. Which currencies can we collect Direct Debit payments in?

Currently, only UK Pounds (GBP) is supported. If you'd like to collect Direct Debit payments in other currencies, please do let us know!

link The "Gateway fees" in Beacon don't match the fees in GoCardless!

Unfortunately, GoCardless don't make it possible to see the fees associated with each payment via their API, which Beacon uses to integrate with GoCardless.

As such, we use the calculation as shown on GoCardless' pricing page to calculate the "Gateway fees" set on each payment.

If the fees in GoCardless are lower than in Beacon, it means that you're currently on a lower pricing plan than what's shown on their pricing page. Congrats - you're saving some money!

If the fees in GoCardless are higher than in Beacon, then it's likely that the fees were calculated before we updated the fee calculation to reflect the increase GoCardless made in Feburary 2020.

help_outline This is only a GoCardless issue. Stripe and PayPal do make this data available.


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