I'm often contacted to discuss potential projects where many companies wish to opt to for a paperless Direct Debit process over the internet. It seems an obvious enhancement to the processes of many businesses - take the paperwork away and everything becomes
much easier to attract new customers.
If only it was that simple. Your sponsoring bank will need to approve your web pages if your are directly submitting to Bacs, which most companies do. All banks tend to have slightly different approaches to this approval process. A private bank sent one
of my clients a two page ticksheet listing all the relevant verification options (card details, personal info, mother's maiden name, etc). On the other hand, a high street bank did not regard account validation as essential for online set-up. Ultimately,
the paperless sponsorship forms force the company to agree to the indemnity clause, meaning that the company concerned has agreed to the risk.
It seems to me that many companies 'miss a trick' when they offer paperless Direct Debits. They are too concerned about attracting clients that they forget that the web can be a useful customer service tool as well. Introducing log-in areas where clients
can manage their own payment collections details (changing amounts, dates, bank details, etc.) increases customer service and promotes a more proactive approach from your clients. Not too mentioned the potential for up-selling where it adds value for the