The results of a comprehensive public consultation into Direct Debit will be a key theme at the Emerging Payments Association’s (EPA) Pay 360 Digital Payments Annual Conference today (24 May), following its publication by lead sponsor Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs).
The consultation on Direct Debit - which is used to pay 73 per cent of household bills - was carried out in late 2016 and included a call for public responses, market research, as well as in-depth interviews with stakeholders.
While the exercise found that Direct Debit continues to be the most popular method to pay regular bills, the consultation has also prompted plans to investigate further product enhancements; those being considered would ensure Direct Debit remains the payment method of choice for the tens of thousands of businesses and millions of consumers who rely on it to pay and collect funds.
These plans include scoping potential work around flexibility in frequency and date of payments, the future ability to incorporate additional interaction between billers and customers, and improved access for organisations wishing to use Bacs’ services.
The findings are officially released today (available here) and coincide with Bacs’ sponsorship of the EPA’s Pay360 Digital Payments annual conference, which brings together a wide range of organisations from the fintech and paytech industries.
Bacs’ Director of Product and Strategy, Anne Pieckielon, said: “While Direct Debit usage has never been higher, we are committed to ensuring that this trusted and market-leading product continues to meet the future needs of millions of consumers and tens of thousands of businesses alike, remaining a payment method of choice.
“It is for this reason that we conducted a review, including a public consultation, into Direct Debit in late 2016. This process has helped us understand the business challenges and customer needs today and in the future - establishing where Direct Debit is functioning flawlessly and where there is potential to adopt changes to enhance the product still further.
“We will continue to collaborate closely with all stakeholders, and the wider industry, to ensure that any future work carried out is consistent with the overall regulatory framework and industry strategy and we look forward to discussing this further at the EPA’s annual conference.”