How to take payments with GoCardless using a Direct Debit mandate

This article explains how to start accepting Direct Debit payments for your FreeAgent invoices using GoCardless.

Once you’ve set up the integration between FreeAgent and GoCardless, you can set up a Direct Debit mandate with your customer to allow you to automatically collect payments.

Please note that to use the integration, you'll need to set up a direct debit mandate with your customer from within FreeAgent. It’s not possible to import an existing mandate into FreeAgent.

You can also collect invoice payments online using PayPalStripe or Tyl by NatWest. Find out more about online payment solutions in FreeAgent.

Setting up a new Direct Debit mandate

Before you invite a customer to set up a Direct Debit mandate, you may want to talk it through with them first. Currently this option is only available for customers with a UK postcode.

When you’re ready to set up the mandate, navigate to the customer’s page in the ‘Contacts’ area of FreeAgent and select 'Direct Debit mandate' from the ‘Add new’ drop-down menu.


Complete the information for the Direct Debit mandate request. Remember that the mandate covers all payments for this customer, rather than one project in particular. When you’ve completed all the details, select ‘Send Request’.


The customer will then receive an email with the details of the Direct Debit mandate, which they can then authorise. Please note that the mandate link will expire once it has been clicked, so the customer will need to action the mandate at the time the link is used.

While you wait for the customer to respond, FreeAgent will display the Direct Debit panel of the customer’s page in the ‘Contacts’ area as ‘Authorisation Pending’.


Please note it can take up to three working days for the mandate to be fully set up.

Setting up a Direct Debit mandate for multiple signatories

Some customers may require more than one person to authorise a Direct Debit mandate on their bank account. If this is the case, the customer should follow the link on the email they receive with details of the Direct Debit mandate and then untick the ‘I can authorise Direct Debits on this account myself’ option and select 'Set up this Direct Debit'.


The customer will then receive an email that includes a mandate document that they can print and sign. Once all necessary signatories have signed the mandate, the customer will then need to upload the mandate document via the link provided in the email to complete the Direct Debit authorisation.

Please note that the mandate will not be submitted to the customer’s bank until the customer has completed and uploaded the paper mandate document.

Taking payment using the Direct Debit mandate

When you create an invoice, or recurring invoice profile, select the 'GoCardless' checkbox in the 'Online Payment Options' section and create the rest of your invoice as normal.


If you've set the invoice to be emailed automatically, the payment will then be taken automatically as detailed below. However, if you haven't set invoice to be emailed automatically, you'll need to take the payment manually instead.

Automatically taking payment using the Direct Debit mandate

If you’re issuing an individual or recurring invoice and have it set to automatically email, then the payment will be automatically taken when the invoice email is sent. You don’t need to do anything else unless the invoice date is the same as the date you create the invoice or activate the recurring invoice profile. If this is the case you will need to select the 'Take payment now' button.

Whether you’re taking payment for a single or recurring invoice, GoCardless will notify the customer that the payment has been taken. You should receive the payment from GoCardless in about a week. During that time, your invoice will show a payment status of ‘Payment Pending’.


In the event that the payment fails you will see a ‘Payment Failed’ status. In this instance your customer hasn’t been charged and you need to get back in touch to ask them to attempt another payment.


While payments are pending or being processed, FreeAgent will stop sending late payment reminders.

Manually taking payment using the Direct Debit mandate

If you’re issuing an individual or recurring invoice but haven’t set it to automatically email, you will be given the option to manually take payment after the invoice is emailed or marked as sent. Select the ‘Take payment now’ button to begin the process. Please note that the customer doesn't need to authorise this payment.


Deleting a Direct Debit mandate for a contact with a recurring invoice

Please note that if you cancel a Direct Debit mandate for a contact that has a recurring invoice, the recurring invoice will automatically ‘expire’, even if there is no end date on the recurring invoice profile. 

If you choose to set up a new mandate, once it has been approved, the recurring invoice can be reactivated by navigating to the relevant recurring invoice profile and selecting ‘Active’ at the top of the profile.


Reconciling invoice payment

If you have enabled auto-reconciliation for GoCardless invoices, FreeAgent will automatically mark the invoice as paid once payment has been received. It will also reconcile the charge that GoCardless has issued to you for using the service.

If you haven’t enabled auto-reconciliation, you will need to mark the invoice as paid and account for the GoCardless charge manually.

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