Beacon

Transferring Direct Debits to GoCardless

Updated 6 months ago

GoCardless and Beacon logos

Sick of manually importing and reconciling your Direct Debits from a previous provider? Transfer them to GoCardless so that not only are they all in one place, but all new payments will flow into Beacon automatically. You can even change amounts or cancel mandates from within Beacon!

Transferring mandates can take some time, and there's a few hoops to jump through, so we've created a guide to take you through the process.


link Process overview

Requirements For each donor being moved, you will need their:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Address
  • Bank details

help_outline If you are missing email addresses for some donors, see our answer below

Initial transfer:

  1. As early as possible, inform GoCardless and your previous provider of your intention to move mandates.
  2. Complete and submit a 'Bulk change deed' and a 'Notification of change' form
  3. Notify your donors of the upcoming change
  4. Export and clean your full list of mandates ready for transfer
  5. Take final payments with your previous provider
  6. Upload your cleaned mandates to GoCardless

check_circle_outline New mandates have moved and you can start charging people! But, there's no payment information in GoCardless yet, so it won't know how much to charge, and when.

Setting up subscriptions:

  1. Compile a list of the payment schedules/subscriptions
  2. Send to us! We'll create them all in your GoCardless account, and update your subscriptions in Beacon.
  3. Your new payments will start to be taken a minimum of 7 days later, and will then appear in Beacon immediately.

link Tranferring mandates to GoCardless

link 1. As early as possible, inform GoCardless and your previous provider of your intention to move mandates

Minimum 4-6 weeks before transfer

It's importatant to kick off the process as early as possible when you know you'd like to move your mandates. Your old provider may have long lead-times on completing a changeover, and it can take time to get forms signed and ready to go.

link 2. Complete and submit a 'Bulk change deed' and a 'Notification of change' form

3+ weeks before transfer

Two forms are required to process the move between providers.

  1. The Bulk Change Deed

This transfers liability for indemnity claims to the new Service User Number (SUN) provider.

help_outline What is a Service User Number? A SUN is like the licence number of the provider or their bank (the Service User) that does the actual processing of Direct Debits. You won't likely have your own SUN, so you'll need to get your old provider to fill out the form and send it back to GoCardless. You're the go-between here!

  1. The Notification of Change Form

This form informs GoCardless's sponsor bank of the size and date of the change. The dates will be those you've agreed with both your previous provider and GoCardless.

link 3. Notify your donors of the upcoming change

1-3 weeks before transfer

You are required to inform your customers in writing of your change in provider in advance of your agreed bulk change date. Notice can be provided via post or email, and GoCardless will be able to provide you with a template message to use as there are strict legal requirements for what needs to be on the notice. See an example here.

You will need to inform GoCardless once you've notified your customers.

link 4. Export and clean your full list of mandates ready for transfer

1 week before transfer

It's important to have your list of donors ready to import on your changeover date. To get it ready, you'll upload it to a GoCardless test account to check it's valid.

First, you'll need your donor/mandate list:

  • If you were storing your customer's bank information prior to migrating to Beacon, you will likely have this information already.
  • If this is stored with your last Direct Debit provider, you will need to contact them to get an export of the data.

Transfer the data into this template ready for upload to GoCardless. If you're getting this data from your previous provider, you could ask if they'll put it into the template for you. More detailed instructions for filling out the template are available here.

help_outline Tip: The next steps in the process will be much easier if you are sure to include an ID for these customers that is already in Beacon in the 'customer.metadata.custom_reference' column. e.g. a member number, a record ID from your last CRM, Beacon's record ID.

Next, create a 'Sandbox' GoCardless account here. This is different from your real GoCardless account, and is solely to check your donor/mandate data. Once you've created your account, contact GoCardless to let them know so that they can update it ready to test your mandates (they need to enable the BACS/Direct Debit mandate feature).

Head to your imports section in your new GoCardless account (https://manage-sandbox.gocardless.com/imports), click 'Import', choose 'Migrate Bacs mandates (GBP)', and upload your file. GoCardless import mandates

GoCardless will run through your list and check that each row is valid, returning errors where it's not yet ready. GoCardless importer error

help_outline You'll likely have a bunch of errors to work through, and this is totally normal! The validation is quite strict, so let us know if you need help understanding any of the messages you see.

Clean the errors and repeat the upload process to check your sheet again.

check_circle_outline Once you can upload with no errors, your data is ready!

link 5. Take final payments with your previous provider

1-2 days before transfer

Just before your official change date, your old supplier will take their final set of Direct Debits.

link 6. Upload your cleaned mandates to GoCardless

From transfer date

On the bulk change date, your previous Direct Debit provider will cancel your existing customers' mandates, and the option will be enabled in your GoCardless account to upload your customers' details.

Go to the import section of your live GoCardless account, and select the 'Migrate Bacs mandates (GBP)' just like you did in your sandbox account. Your cleaned list should upload without any errors, but if there are any that come up, simply fix them in your sheet and re-upload.

check_circle_outline You've uploaded your mandates! They will take a day or two to be approved and ready to take charges. Proceed to set up the payment details for your new mandates...


link Setting up subscriptions in GoCardless

Your mandates and customers are in GoCardless, but there isn't any information for how much to charge each donor. This will need to be added before any payments start getting taken.

help_outline Unfortunately, GoCardless don't have any way for you to add subscription information in bulk (you'd have to go one-by-one)...

check_circle_outline Fortunately, Beacon is super helpful and will upload this for you! We'll even update your subscriptions in Beacon to make sure your new payments get added automatically going forwards.

link 1. Compile a list of the payment schedules/subscriptions

Export subscription information

If you've already migrated your data, you can export this information from Beacon. Create an export template with the following fields:

  • Record type: Subscriptions
  • Record ID
  • Type
  • Amount (Currency)
  • Amount (Value)
  • Frequency
  • Next payment date (you might need to add this manually if it's not accurate in Beacon)
  • The ID that you included in your mandate sheet (Important!)

If your subscription data is not in Beacon yet, you will still need the details above, minus the 'Record ID'.

Export customer information from GoCardless

To upload to GoCardless accurately, we also need an export of your newly-created customers in GoCardless to cross reference.

Log in to your GoCardless account, go to 'Customers'... GoCardless customers section

...and click 'Export'.GoCardless export

link 2. Send to us! We'll create them all in your GoCardless account, and update your subscriptions in Beacon.

Send both your subscription file and your GoCardless file to your friendly Beacon team. We will compile the final list to upload to GoCardless, creating subscriptions and schedules for all your donors.

We will then take the subscription IDs for all the schedules we just created, and add them back into your Beacon subscriptions. This will ensure that when payments are taken they flow automatically through into Beacon.

link 3. Your new payments will start to be taken a minimum of 7 days later, and will then appear in Beacon immediately.

check_circle_outline Payments will be lined up and scheduled to come out at the next payment dates. Your GoCardless account is sorted, your Beacon account is updated and ready, and you deserve a muffin and a cup of tea for that epic job!


link Frequently Asked Questions

link Do customers need to agree to the transfer?

No. You do need to advise them that you're changing providers, but they don't need to opt-in to the transfer.

link Do I need email addresses for everyone?

Yes. Since GoCardless automates ongoing notifications to your donors they require an email address for them.

If you don't have an email address for everyone, there are 2 options:

  1. Contact these customers to get an email address where they can be reached (it could be for a close relative or partner if they don't have their own email address)
  2. On the GoCardless Pro tier, it is possible to collect paper and phone mandates, and therefore you won't need an email from everyone. You will be responsible for updating these donors by post for any changes/cancellations/upcoming charges.
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