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 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.

If the customer doesn’t fully complete the mandate setup process and their link expires, you can select ‘Cancel Request’ in the ‘Direct Debit mandate’ panel. Once cancelled, you can follow the steps to set up a Direct Debit mandate with the customer.

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 'Payments' section. If you’d like GoCardless to be selected by default when creating future invoices, find out how to set up default payment options.


Next, select whether you want the payment to be taken on the invoice date, the payment due date or manually.


Payments taken on the invoice date

If you choose to take the Direct Debit payment ‘On invoice date’, the Direct Debit process will be initiated once the invoice is marked as sent, or sent automatically, and can take up to 10 days to complete.

Payments taken on the payment due date

If you choose to take the Direct Debit payment ‘On payment due date’, the Direct Debit process will be scheduled to begin once the invoice is marked as sent or sent automatically, to allow the payment to be taken when the invoice is due to be paid.

Please note that the payment can take up to 10 days to be completed so the payment may be received after the due date. The invoice will also be locked for editing during this time unless the Direct Debit payment is cancelled via GoCardless.

Payments taken manually

If you choose to take the Direct Debit payment ‘When manually triggered’, you’ll need to initiate the Direct Debit process manually once the invoice has been marked as sent or sent automatically, by selecting the ‘Take payment now’ button.

Once you’ve entered all the relevant details for the invoice, select ‘Mark as Sent’, or if you’ve chosen to automatically email the invoice, select ‘Send Now’.

Screenshot with Mark as Sent highlighted.png

If you’re marking the invoice as sent in FreeAgent, select ‘Mark as sent’ in the pop-up window to complete the process.

Screenshot showing mark as sent modal.png

What happens next?

The ‘GoCardless payment status’ panel on the invoice will indicate when the payment is scheduled to be taken.

Screenshot showing payment panel highlighted.png

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 within ten days. During that time, your invoice will show a payment status of ‘Payment pending’.

Screenshot showing payment pending.png

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’ll need to select ‘Retry payment’, which can be attempted three times. If the payment fails for a fourth time, you’ll need to get back in touch with the customer to ask them to attempt the payment using another method.

Screenshot showing payment failed.png

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

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.

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.


Did you find this article useful?