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Customer profile

 

The key benefits of using Direct Debit are that it is secure, guaranteed and offers peace-of-mind. Attitudes to Direct Debit and motivations or barriers to its use vary by different customer groups. Using messaging that will resonate with a particular group is key to campaign success.

It is useful to refer to the customer pen portraits below to inform your campaign messaging.

Different customers have different reasons to buy in to Direct Debit. And they fall into three clear groups: preferers, selectives, reluctants.

These three groups are well worth targeting. Using the right motivational messages can change their mindset and behaviour, and they can be converted to Direct Debit. For example, preferrers are defined as likely to be aged between 25 and 44, ABC1C2s with younger children or older ones who have left home. For them, convenience is the best feature of Direct Debit, so that’s the best message to use to convince them to sign up to Direct Debit. Simple!

View the detailed pen portraits below.

    ​Preferers

  • ​Definition

    Choose to pay the majority of their regular commitments by Direct Debit.  

    Generalised portrait

    • Equal male / female split, aged 25–44, ABC1C2s
    • More likely to be better off than on lower incomes, tend to be home owners with a mortgage, or own a home outright, less likely to live in the South East with a relatively even split over other UK regions
    • More likely to be in full time employment than self employed or retired
    • Find it a convenient, quick and hassle free form of payment, have the time to be very well organised financially.

    Assumptions

    Actively preferring to pay by this method and generally opt to do so if it is offered as an option.


    Reasons for preferring Direct Debit: 

    • Find it a convenient, quick and hassle free form of payment
    • Have the time to be very well organised financially.

    Payment attitudes

    Prefer regular, convenient methods for paying bills. 

    Marketing messaging

    Convenience, ease, hassle free.


    Examples of messages to use in marketing communications: 

    • Take it easy. Just pay your bills by Direct Debit and put your feet up.
    • Direct Debit bill payments. For people who want to get  more out of life.
    • Relax. It’s easier and simpler to pay your bills by Direct Debit.
    • Why not pay your bills by Direct Debit and free up some precious time!

    ​Selectives

  • ​Definition

    Pay some of their regular commitments by Direct Debit, but are selective which ones. 

    Generalised portrait

    • Equal male / female split, tend to be 45+ with highestproportion being 65+, more likely to be ABC1s who have older children that no longer live at home
    • A slightly higher percentage come from lower income households,living in privately rented propertiesor homes they own outright, more in East Anglia, London, South East and Wales than other UK regions
    • They are less likely to be students with a relativelyequal split across other employment status classifications
    • Concerns about the safety aspect of automated payments, don’t trust some organisations to administer Direct Debit correctly
    • Have time to manage financial matters and may be stuck in their ways – for example, they like paying bills in full where possible, fear losing control of their
      finances if too many bills are paid by Direct Debit.

    Assumptions

    Their decision is usually influenced by their level of trust in the organisation collecting the payment or where there is no option, all payments have to be made by Direct Debit.


    Reasons for being selective:

    • Concerns about the safety aspect of automated payments
    • Don’t trust some organisations to administer Direct Debit correctly
    • Have time to manage financial matters and may be stuck in their ways in terms of how they make their payments. For example, they like paying bills in full where possible
    • Fear losing control of their finances when too many bills are paid by Direct Debit.

    Payment attitudes

    Like to pay some regular, necessary payments by Direct Debit but have concerns over security and safety of automated payments. So they like to remain in control and will opt to pay by other methods such as cash or cheque. 

    Marketing messaging

    Safe and reliable, secure, trusted payment method, puts you in control, don’t forget to pay.


    Examples of messages to use in marketing communications:

    • Trust Direct Debit to put you in control of your bills
    • Never forget to pay your bills again. Direct Debit is safe, reliable… and easy!
    • Direct Debit is the UK’s favourite way to pay their bills and manage their money
    • Never forget to pay your (insert bill) again. Set up a Direct Debit online now!

    ​Reluctants

  • ​Definition

    Will only use Direct Debit if there is no other option, reticent to use an automated payment for financial commitments. 

    Generalised portrait

    • Equal male / female split, predominately falling into two age brackets 16–24 and 55–64, with a high proportion being lower social grades D and E
    • From lower income households, more likely to live in Eastern areas from the North East down to the South East, mainly living in being bought / part rented houses
    • Students are likely to be reluctants with house sharing and low income levels most likely influencing their current reluctance to Direct Debit
    • They fear losing control of their payment service provider (PSP) account / balance, concerns about PSPs and billers making mistakes, assumption that companies can dip into their account and take money whenever they want
    • Don’t trust themselves to have the required funds when the Direct Debit is due, concerns over PSP charges if they miss a Direct Debit payment.

    Assumptions

    General lack of education and understanding about automated payments is the key issue. Loss of control is their main fear. Irregular and limited income means this audience may believe Direct Debit is not for them. Direct Debit can appeal if it seen to enhance control of finances not threaten this and show that they are in control of the situation not the PSP or the biller.


    Reasons for reluctance:

    • The fear of losing control of their PSP account/balance
    • Concerns about PSPs and organisations collecting Direct Debit payments making mistakes
    • Assumption that companies can dip into their account and take money whenever they want
    • Don't trust themselves to save enough money or have the required funds when the Direct Debit is collected
    • Concerns over PSP​ charges, which could cause havoc with their budgeting, if they miss a Direct Debit payment.

    Payment attitudes

    They feel the pay as you go approach suits their needs and behaviour better than Direct Debit. They tend to opt for payment cards, cash and cheque, preferring to pay for bills over the counter so they know they have been paid. 

    Marketing messaging

    Safe and reliable, secure, trusted payment method, budgeting, saves money, financial management, don't forget to pay.


    Examples of messages to use in marketing communications:

    • Simply pay your bills by Direct Debit. It’s one thing you’ll never need to worry about
    • Take the stress out of paying your bills. Direct Debit is safe and easy
    • Millions of people trust Direct Debit to save them time and money with bill payments. You could too!
Links to extra information relating to the page you are on
 
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  • WWWDirect Debit website
    Everything you need to know to effectively manage your payments. Including advice to help solve common issues
  • BACSDDIs and Logos
    Direct Debit logos, DDI designs and guidelines for use
  • BACSFacts and figures
    A range of statistics published by Bacs
  • BACSPress releases
    Last 12 months press releases from Bacs
  • BACSBacs training
    Materials and courses to help organisations properly train their staff in all elements of payment products
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