When you run your own business, you often spend a lot of time keeping track of unpaid invoices You have to send your customers reminders to settle them on time. To avoid this extra work and invoices that are paid too late, you can enable your customers to pay via SEPA Direct Debits. Payment then occurs from their account automatically and is received by you on time.
✓ Use SEPA Direct Debits to enable your customers to pay automatically
✓ Less admin for you
✓ Less admin for your customers
Automatic payment thanks to SEPA Direct Debits
SEPA Direct Debits enable you to automate payment collection. That’s useful for recurring customer payments (monthly or quarterly for example). Since 2014, you’ve been able to do this using SEPA direct debits. You can agree a SEPA Direct Debit with customers in both Belgium and abroad (within the SEPA zone).
Getting started with SEPA Direct Debits
There are several steps to creating a SEPA Direct Debit. These are set out concisely in the step-by-step guide ‘Getting started with SEPA Direct Debits’.
Setting up mandates
As set out in the above guide, you only have to create a mandate once with the customer for each payment flow. It contains an agreement between you and the customer for the amount due to be collected each time by SEPA Direct Debit.
There are two kinds of mandate:
- SEPA Core Direct Debit mandates: you can use this contract for all your customer-debtors, regardless of whether they are private individuals or businesses. Under it, the customer has up to eight weeks after collection to refuse the payment. You can find a specimen form on the website of the National Bank of Belgium. You don’t have to use this document, but it contains all the requisite information and can be useful when drawing up your own mandates.
- SEPA B2B Direct Debit mandate: you can use the B2B mandate for customer-debtors that are businesses. With this mandate, the customer is no longer able to refuse payment after collection. You can find a specimen form on the website of the National Bank of Belgium. You don’t have to use this document, but it contains all the requisite information and can be useful when drawing up your own mandates.
By signing the mandate, your customers give you permission to have invoiced amounts transferred automatically to your account. This means they will not have to attend to this each time themselves in future. You can find out how to set up a SEPA Direct Debit by following the link to the brochure below.
Your bank will process the payments on your initiative
The initiative for receiving a payment is always with you (the creditor). You supply the bank with a file (‘collection file’) in which you stipulate the required amount and execution date.
The bank collects the amount owing from the customer on the stipulated execution date and credits your business account with the same amount. In this way, payment occurs easily, quickly and without fuss.
The collection file must be created in XML. If you use your own software to do this, KBC offers you a way of testing the files. That way you can be sure that the bank can read your file. You can also use the XML tester for this. The tester does not verify whether the contents of the file are correct.
If you don’t have software for creating files in XML, KBC has a solution for you to do this in KBC-Online for Business.
What if the SEPA Direct Debit (collection) isn’t executed?
There are various reasons why a collection has not been performed. It is possible that your client did not have sufficient money in their account or that there is an error in the collection file that you sent to the bank. If that should occur, the bank will inform you, as creditor, of the reason for non-execution (also known as an ‘R-transaction’) in the shape of a ‘reason code’.
Questions about particular reasons for non-execution? If a particular reason code is not entirely clear, you can request more information using the following Excel file (R-transactions SEPA Direct Debits (SDD)): Checking unpaid SDD Direct Debits.