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Direct Debit and the social housing sector

Dawneth Perry, Business Development ManagerPosted on 04 July 2018

At the end of last year Bacs input into a survey undertaken by the Housing Quality Network (HQN) to find out more about the impact of Direct Debit across the social housing sector.

The survey, conducted among HQN’s members, was driven in part by the continued roll-out of Universal Credit and the increase in the number of tenants receiving funds in to their bank accounts - rather than Housing Benefit being paid directly into rent accounts.

As a result, an increasing number of tenants need to make regular payments to their landlords, and we were interested to find out more about how Direct Debit provision and uptake is increasing throughout the social housing sector.

The survey looked at a number of issues, including the rate of Direct Debit take up across the sector, the promotion of Direct Debit among members, and the effect of flexible payments. The survey also examined the impact of the introduction of Universal Credit.

You can find the report here but key findings include:

Of those surveyed, over three quarters reported an increase in Direct Debit take-up in the last 12 months
The use of Direct Debit continues to grow across the sector, with both tenants and social housing organisations seeing the clear benefits of the payment method

Flexible Direct Debit payments (where the frequency and collection dates can be changed) are on the rise
Almost three quarters (74%) of those surveyed now offer ‘any day’ payments. This is more than double the rate of 34% recorded in a similar survey in 2011

Members would like all new tenants to pay by Direct Debit
100% of respondents prefer new tenants to set up payments by Direct Debit, suggesting that this is now an established requirement of pre-tenancy best practice

Housing organisations recognise the advantages of Direct Debit
A substantial 88% of respondents recognised the advantages of Direct Debit as a method of collecting payment and publicise it accordingly

If you represent an organisation looking to increase your Direct Debit sign-up rates then find out how our free-to-use marketing toolkit could help. The resource provides a range of customisable
leaflets, images, and other templates which promote the benefits and ease of paying by Direct Debit, while organisations can also take advantage of a marketing best-practice guide which offers useful tips and strategies to get the most out of any promotional activity.