Debit card payments are better than Direct Debit

We can take both debit card and Direct Debit payments.

Debit card payments are much more modern. They are quick, seamless and you as the payer have just as much control over them as direct debit. Plus they have the added benefit of not resulting in fines by the member’s bank for insufficient funds. It’s a win-win in our books.

By default, members will be on debit card payments, because we think they’re better for you and for us. If you joined us through a comparison site, a collective switch or you specifically asked us, you’ll probably pay by Direct Debit. If you’d like to set up a Direct Debit payment, just give us a ring and we’ll be happy to get that (started/set up) for you.

Here’s an example of why Direct Debits are so slow. Here, a payment has failed, we retry it and then ultimately have to get new payment details from the member.

Day 0 – attempted payment collection
Day 1 – ARUDD message received by us notifying a payment failure
Day 1 – We contact the member to understand why it failed
Day 4 – We retry 3-4 days after payment failure
Day 5 – We are notified that the retry failed
Day 5 – Contact member and set up a new Direct Debit mandate
Day 11 – Payment is collected against the new mandate

This means that the total time taken until everything is settled can be up to 11 working days. Possibly more if we retry additional times.

On the flip side, with debit card payments, notification of failure and retries are both nearly instant. Saving both us and the member time as we can get a new card at the beginning without having to ring back while you’re doing something important.

January 25, 2017 8:19PM
Hi I just received an email from bulb stating my direct debit will come out in 3 days from today when I spoke to Helen at bulb she ensurEd me my first payment would come out on the 1st Feb 2016. I was was told this would not happen earlier as you have already attempted to take it on the 18 January 2017 and now I’m going to be charged by my bank because of insufficient funds. Can someone please tell me what is going on ? This is not a good start considering I just changed over to you this month. I think I will now take Helen’S advice and switch to debit card payments please. I will cancel the dIrect e debit and will call you tomorrow to arrange for my first payment on 01 February 2016 as discussed with Helen.

Hi @ainos_1959, great that between them Helen and Evie got this sorted out for you. Have a great weekend

Hi I just checked my bank account and my bulb account but it’s not showing the payment for 1St Feb 2017 is this right?

Can anyone please help me with my last question regarding the first payment not showing on my account as it states it is zero when it should show a first payment debited on the 1st Feb 2017. Please respond

Direct debit allows suppliers to take what they want, when they want from your bank account. My ex used to work in a building society and saw the turmoil when they went wrong. One guy had three months rent removed from his account at the same time. This left him no money in the account and he nothing to spend on food. He went to the building society and they told him he would be better off speaking to the landlord as he had signed a DD giving the landlord access to his bank account. The landlord told him to just not bother paying rent for the next 3 months, (presumably by cancelling his DD). After a fight, the landlord refunded the money they had wrongly taken from his account. We would all be so much safer with standing orders.

The DD Guarantee says (amongst other things) If an error is made in the payment of your Direct Debit, by the organisation or your bank or building society, you are entitled to a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from your bank or building society, but the ex-wife’s experience was that it often took a lot of effort and left the user in a financial predicament.

This isn’t a dig at Bulb, (who I think are excellent), more a nudge to DD users about the potential risks involved. Bulb are just following the industry standard of pulling payments, rather than accepting pushed payments.


Hey there @ainos_1959, sorry for not getting back to you sooner. It looks like you’ve already contacted us about your issue and one of us is already on the case!

@lerwegian, you are spot on with those issues with DD (and we think you are excellent too!). We actually like our customers to be signed up with a standing monthly debit charge instead of a direct debit. This allows us to make faster changes, refunds and all that good stuff instead of going through the bank. We try to combat all those cons of DD setups by making our statements as transparent and all your account details available to you online :).