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Understanding the Timing: What Time Do Direct Debits Go Out

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Have you ever wondered, ‘What time do direct debits go out?’ Well, if this question has ever crossed your mind while managing your finances, you’re not alone.

Handling recurring expenses through direct debits lets you stay on top of your bills. However, understanding the timing of when these payments go out is crucial to avoid surprises in your bank account.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of direct debits and provide insights into these payments so you can stay in control of your financial obligations.

What is a direct debit?

Direct debits are a widely utilised payment system that offers a straightforward and convenient approach to handling recurring payments or so-called continuous payment authorities.

In contrast to basic regular payments, direct debits grant a company the authority to withdraw funds from your current account on a prearranged date.

For instance, you might use a direct debit for your gas and electricity bills. It’s of utmost importance that you and the company provide prior notice of any modifications to the payment amount or date.

In most cases, you set up direct debit payments for reoccurring expenses like phone service, insurance, and utility bills.

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Setting up a direct debit: How to do it?

Setting up a direct debit is easy. The customer himself gives the bank this right by signing an agreement, usually one for each service provider. The customer can sign a direct debit agreement either with the bank itself or with the company.

To create a direct debit, a person must contact the company or financial institution via phone, online, or mail. Then, they should provide the bank with personal details (full name, address, sort code) and the account number from which the customer agrees to be debited.

When signing with the company, you must indicate the account and the bank serving. Moreover, the client should use their current account.

Term deposit accounts are not suitable. Most term deposit accounts are blocked for debits and unsuitable for making payments. However, a loan servicing account is acceptable. Also, a retirement savings account shouldn’t be your go-to choice.

Next, choose a payment date when you have provided all the bank account details. It can be any day of every month or other specified period. Your bank will set up the direct debit, with payments processed regularly.

However, use standing orders for self-initiated regular payments from your bank account.

Fees for direct debits

Using a direct debit service to pay your bills is usually free. Also, banks do not charge a set-up fee.

However, watch alert for account insufficiency. Your bank may charge you a fee of £5 to £25 if a direct debit is declined due to insufficient funds in your account to cover it. If the payment goes through, you may incur overdraft fees by accident.

Moreover, many financial institutions will attempt to contact you if your payment is declined.

A bank or a company

What time do direct debits go out?

A direct debit mandate is required before a bank or business can collect money from a customer.

It takes two days to collect the payment after submission if it is already in place. After three days you can think of the mandate as almost complete. When four days passed, the mandate should be finished.

There is no rule on what time of the day the direct debit leaves an account. However, there are some patterns.

Usually, direct debits leave an account between 1:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions. The direct debit will leave the next working day if the payment date falls on a weekend or bank holiday.

Direct debit guarantee

The Direct Debit Guarantee offers protection in various situations and guards you against fraudulent transactions. Organisations wishing to collect payments via direct debits must adhere to the Direct Debit Guarantee.

In the case of an error by the bank or the organisation collecting the direct debit, such as an incorrect amount or payment mishap, you can request a refund.

Also, the guarantee allows you to cancel all direct debits. However, you must do it ten working days before the payment date. Furthermore, there is a possibility of a shorter advance notice.

In situations where your provider faces administration, applying the Direct Debit Guarantee depends on your bank’s discretion.

Keep in mind, that if a direct debit payment is not paid as it should be, the banks do not refund the money.

Direct debits and standing orders

A standing order is a method of payment whereby you ask your bank to deduct a specific amount from your checking account on a recurring date. Due to their similarities, direct debits and standing orders may look the same. However, they have some differences.


You can notice the main difference in the purpose of these elements. When setting a direct debit, you authorise a company to withdraw funds from your bank account on a specific date.

In contrast, customer requests their banks to routinely deposit a specified sum into a specified account by setting up standing orders.

Who can use them?

When it comes to the question of whether you can use direct debits and standing orders, the answer is usually the same. If you have a current account or a basic one, you can make a standing order or direct debit.

Moreover, for this purpose, you may also use some prepaid cards or credit union accounts. However, you should hear a solid ‘no’ when it comes to Post Office card accounts.

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Direct debit payments usually help you save time. There is no way for you to forget to pay bills or be charged for missed payments. Moreover, they may save you money. Some utility providers give discounts for paying by direct debit.

Furthermore, they are safe. If you make incorrect payments, the bank will pay them back.

On the other hand, a standing order helps you when you can’t make a direct debit. You can make a standing order to a landlord or any other person or even regularly move money between your bank accounts.

Also, it can be a practical option if you want to move a set amount into a savings account every month.


Do direct debits come out at 12 a.m.?

It is a common misconception that direct debit always comes out at midnight. It can be taken any time during the day or even the next working day, in case of holidays or weekends.

Can direct debits come out at any time?

Direct debits are made at any time only on a fixed payment date, except in specific cases.

What time do bills come out of the bank?

Usually, banks handle a standing between midnight and 3 a.m. on the payment date. On the other hand, direct debits are typically debited from an account between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m.

What time do direct debits bounce back?

If a payment bounces, the bank might try to make a direct debit transaction again later. The usual time for it is before 2 p.m.

Can a direct debit be taken twice?

Direct debits typically operate without a hitch, and errors such as double deductions or incorrect payment amounts are rare.

However, you can rely on the Direct Debit Guarantee to protect your interests if you encounter one of these infrequent errors.

This guarantee stipulates that your bank or building society must provide a full refund to rectify the situation, ensuring your financial well-being remains intact.

What if my bank account is empty?

Direct debits, being automated processes, don’t conduct real-time fund checks in your account, potentially leading to a bounced payment and cancellation of the direct debit, plus possible fees due to insufficient funds.

Companies that are a part of a Bank Guarantee Scheme will notify you regarding any unpaid direct debit. Swiftly contact them to clarify the issue and request a fee-free reprocessing.

Moreover, establish a warning system with your bank or building society to prevent these situations and penalty fees. This system notifies you of a scheduled direct debit when your account lacks sufficient money, allowing you to avoid penalties.

How do I cancel a direct debit?

It is pretty simple to cancel a direct debit or make any adjustments. To do so, contact your bank or building society ten days before the change. They can typically handle it immediately, confirming your account records.

This confirmation should reach the company within seven working days. Notably, cancelling a direct debit won’t affect associated standing orders.

In case of standing orders, you have the flexibility to cancel them anytime or modify payment details as necessary. The process for that is the same. However, before proceeding, check for any associated cancellation fees.

What happens if you switch bank accounts?

When you move your current account, you benefit from the Current Account Switch Guarantee. This service transfers direct debits, standing orders, and other payments. Money from your old account will go to your new one for 36 months.

If anything goes wrong during the transition, the bank will repay interest or charges on your new or old current account.

Živilė Šarkauskaitė

Živilė is a writer with a diverse background, having worked with tech start-ups and pioneering brands across various industries. Her profound interest in progress and innovation drives her to the field of Fintech, a realm that sparks her curiosity and inspires her to share insights with others.

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