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Mandate: the Direct Debit Authorization

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Introduction

In order to collect a direct debit on a bank account, a creditor needs to get the approval of the debtor through the acquisition of a valid SEPA Direct Debit Mandate.

This mandate is the authorization given by a debtor (customer) to allow a creditor to collect future payments on their bank account.

Before the migration to SEPA scheme, mandate management was the responsibility of the banks. One of the biggest changes initiated by the SEPA regulation is the switch regarding the mandate management responsibility: it’s now up to the creditor (merchant) to deal with everything related to this mandate management: user mandate management, digitization, dynamic archiving, unique reference number, etc. 

Types of mandate

There are basically 2 types of mandate:

  • the paper mandate

  • the electronic mandate, or e-mandate

The paper mandate is the traditional form of mandate, displaying mandatory information and a customer signature. As direct debit transactions need to be documented and identified with mandate information, the creditor has to transfer the printed information of the mandate paper into an electronic format to process bank transactions. 

In addition, as the mandate is evidence of debtor consent, it has to be safely stored and may be needed in case of dispute or bank inquiry. This may require a strong infrastructure, which could be costly to maintain.
The e-mandate is an electronic form of the mandate. This paperless e-mandate needs to be properly processed in order to be legally binding and enforceable in case of dispute.

The best practice for processing mandates relies on a 3-step approach:

What makes a SEPA Direct Debit e-mandate valid?

• An advanced electronic signature* (or above) makes a mandate valid, given it complies with strong customer authentication requirement
• Only a qualified electronic signature* has the same legal effect as a handwritten signature
• A certain set of mandatory attributes*(see the next paragraph or refer to the SEPA Direct Debit Core Rulebook)

*Advanced and Qualified are the two levels of electronic signatures recognized by EU regulation 2014/910 Art3(10)(11)&(12). 

What information is mandatory on a mandate?

For a mandate to be valid, there is certain information that must be present. This includes:

  • Unique Mandate Reference (UMR) - a 35-character reference that you can create. If you do not create it, SlimPay will generate one. You have the option also to set a prefix
  • Debtor's name
  • Debtor's IBAN
  • Creditor details (you, the merchant)
  • Creditor identifier (SlimPay can help you get one, more information here).
  • Type of payment (one off or recurrent)
  • Date of signature
  • Electronic signature

What are the different statuses of a mandate?

Here are the potentials statuses associated with a mandate in your SlimPay Dashboard. 

 DASHBOARD V.1 (Back Office)

Displayed in Mandate Management tab, for Pending signature section 

Created 

The pending signature has been:

  • created
  • sent to the client email address

The user is able to modify/resend the pending signature request or to cancel it. 

Signed

The pending signature has been:

  • created
  • sent to the client email address
  • the signature process was successful

The merchant now have a valid mandate enabling him to debit the customer. 

Cancelled

A pending signature has been:

  • canceled by the user
  • or something went wrong during the process (e.g. the user exited the payment page before the end of the Checkout session)

DASHBOARD V.2

Displayed in Authorizations tab, for Mandates section

Waiting for UMR A mandate is created without the UMR (Unique Mandate Reference) which is added later on
Active A mandate is “active” when it is signed with success
Revoked

A mandate is “revoked” when:

  • the consumer asked for a mandate suspension
  • the merchant asked for a mandate suspension

It stops any future payment related to the revoked mandate

Expired A mandate expires when no one single payment has been made over a period of 36 months (as of the last SDD)

It stops any future payment

 

Mandate migration to SlimPay's mandates base

SlimPay has a proven expertise in mandate management, and has a strong know-how in managing high volumes of mandates. SlimPay can support merchants for the migration of their mandates thanks to a secured procedure that allows the continuity of the service and payments. This step is completely transparent for end-users (debtors). The mandates migration also prevents any interruption to a merchant's revenue collection, ensuring the sustainability of recurring payments. 

SlimPay can support merchants who already have a mandate base, migrating them to our solution thanks to a data transfer procedure. SlimPay provides merchants with a file format in order to import the mandates. These data are then tested before integrating them in the production environment. 

Please contact our compliance service (existing mandate-import option) in order to start the migration process. 

FAQs

Do I need to send the mandate signed to the debtor?

It is not compulsory, but a good practice. Legally, you just need to send the Unique Mandate Reference (UMR), the date signed, and the creditor name. SlimPay can configure a email notification: the debtor will automatically receive a copy of the signed mandate.  

What can I modify once my mandate is signed?

Once the mandate is signed you can only modify the IBAN of the debtor. If you want to modify other information, you will have to revoke the mandate and sign a new one.

NB: The new bank details will not appear on the mandate.

When do I need to revoke the mandate?

You can revoke the mandate any time, but it is not entirely necessary. If a client is no longer your customer, there will be no direct debit orders on their signed mandate. However, if that client again makes payments before the end of a 36-month period, you can use the same mandate. Indeed, a mandate is valid 36 months from last debit, so if the debtor has regular debits, it will remain valid. If you do not want ever to use it for a direct debit, you can revoke it.

 

 

 

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