Direct debit

BPFI pushes for a coordinated approach to direct debit switching

The Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) and its members have met with a number of regulators and a wide range of levy initiators to discuss a coordinated approach to dealing with customers leaving Bank of Ulster and KBC Bank Ireland.

The organization, which represents the retail banking and fintech sector in Ireland, hosted a roundtable with the central bank, ComReg and the Utilities Regulatory Commission (CRU) to discuss ways to better support clients leaving lenders.

BPFI said it wanted to ensure consumers and businesses are encouraged to update their direct debit payments as they move ahead of the two banks’ pending outflows, with more than 600,000 accounts opened with the three remaining banks so far this year.

The figures collected by the BPFI from a panel of principals estimate that approximately 30% of customers who change accounts have updated their principal with their new bank details.

Speaking after the meeting, Brian HayesCEO of BPFI, said the organization has met with outsourcers monthly to “discuss emerging issues and help highlight key considerations at a broader level.

“In particular, discussions focused on the potential volume of customers required to update account details; communications with customers at the industry and individual company level; change code and how it works; and payment considerations, including IBAN discrimination and direct debit mandates,” he added.

Brian Hayes said 24% of Ulster Bank and KBC accounts have been closed this year (Picture: Sam Boal/

“Building on this, today’s meeting brought together financial service providers, relevant regulators and a wide range of direct debit initiators to have an open dialogue on the state of play in the various sectors regarding the update of direct debits and to ensure that we are working closely together to provide as smooth a transition as possible for the customers affected.

Hayes confirmed that almost a quarter (24%) of KBC and Ulster Bank accounts have been closed since the start of the year, but only 30% of customers who switch accounts have updated their credit giver. order with their new bank details.

“It underscores very well that there is still a long way to go and that further action is needed from both customers and the wider industry in this regard,” he continued. .

“As banks and other financial service providers, regulators and principals continue to step up their efforts to work together proactively in identifying and resolving issues and monitoring capacity, one of the messages Key to today’s session is to urge customers, once they’ve opened a new account, to continue with the process.

“This includes creating a list of all your direct debits and using that list to update all of your suppliers with your new account details, whether that’s your utility company, your telephone or broadband provider, your insurance provider or the Revenue Commissioners.

“Essentially, we also want customers to know that banks and other financial service providers, as well as direct debit originators, are available to support them through this process.

“We encourage consumers or businesses moving accounts to visit our website where they can find a wealth of in-depth information and advice, including a list of some of the biggest direct debit originators and information on how to update your account details of any direct debit arrangements you may have with them.”