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Why hasn’t my Direct Debit been taken?

Direct Debits are the easiest and most convenient way of making recurring payments from month to month. Whether you’re using Direct Debits for energy bills, your phone contract or subscription services like Netflix and Disney+, they make managing finances so much easier.

However, there can be the odd occasion where payment hasn’t been taken on the correct day. If you’re asking yourself, ‘why hasn’t my Direct Debit been taken?’, continue reading to find out.


Direct Debit failure

According to UK Finance, 4.6 billion Direct Debits were processed in total throughout 2021 in the UK. On occasion, a Direct Debit won’t come out of an individual’s bank account, but there are a number of reasons for this, including a payment failure. There are multiple reasons why a Direct Debit may fail to be taken, and they are:

  • Insufficient funds
  • Direct Debit cancelled
  • Incorrect account details
  • Payer deceased
  • Payer transferred to a new bank account
  • Administration error


Insufficient funds

If a customer has insufficient funds in their bank account then a Direct Debit payment will ‘bounce’. Essentially, the payment will fail and any funds attempted to be taken out of the account will ‘bounce’ back, returning to the customer. As a company, you can alert the customer to the missed payment, while their bank or building society may also choose to as well.

You can also manually retry to retrieve the payment too. Or, if the customer gets in touch to explain the situation, a new date can be agreed for the payment to be taken.

Often, if there are insufficient funds and a payment has been missed or is late, a late fee can be added on to the next Direct Debit payment.


Direct Debit cancelled

Occasionally, and frustratingly so for companies, a customer can manually cancel their Direct Debit agreement with their bank. When attempting to retrieve the payment, the company will be alerted to the fact that there is no agreement in place anymore.


Incorrect account details

A Direct Debit payment can also fail because incorrect account details have been passed to the company. However, this should be a very rare occurrence because any company setting up a Direct Debit agreement with a customer should perform their own due diligence to ensure the person is who they say they are, and all of their details are correct. At this stage, the company should perform a Confirmation of Payee check to ensure all information provided to them is accurate.


Payer deceased

Another reason for why a Direct Debit may not be taken is that the payer might be deceased. In this instance, family members must contact the relevant parties (company with the Direct Debit agreement and the bank) in order to cancel and arrange any following steps.


Payer transferred to a new bank account

Quite often, a payer can transfer to a new bank account. All Direct Debits are normally transferred over to the new account at the time but there can be a delay, especially if the transfer takes place on the same day or a day or two before the payment date.


Administration error

An admin error could also be the reason behind failure to take a Direct Debit if the company fails to attempt the collection due to a problem with their service or software, or if they take it late.

The scheme does allow for payments to be taken a little later. Payments are able to be taken on the payment date or immediately after they are due.


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Weekends and Bank Holidays

Another reason why a Direct Debit hasn’t been taken is because the date of payment may well be during a weekend or Bank Holiday.

If a Direct Debit is meant to be taken on the 24th of the month, for example, but that falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Bank Holiday, the payment will be processed on the next working day.

This works differently than for salary payments into your account, which are normally paid on the last working day before the weekend if your payment date falls on Saturday or Sunday.

So, if you notice your Direct Debit hasn’t been taken, but it’s on the weekend, it will be taken on Monday, or Tuesday in the case of a Bank Holiday.


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