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Direct debit - frequently asked questions

1. What is direct debit?

Direct debit is a payment method, by which a pre-authorised agreement enables one organisation to debit money automatically from the bank account of another individual or organisation. Direct debits are made automatically, and on a regular basis. SWIFT operates a system of payment by direct debit and highly recommends this method of payment. This method is favoured by 70% of SWIFT customers.

2. What are the advantages of direct debit?

This service offers the following advantages:

  • Automatic and electronic settlement of invoices after 40 days (manual payment terms: 30 days)
  • No overdue interest charges and no reminders
  • Automatic refund of credit notes
  • Reduced administration costs in handling payments
  • No prepayment
  • Board Audit Committee decision

3. How do I register for direct debit?

First, contact your region’s commercial administrator to find out the currency that you are invoiced (EUR or USD).

Then visit Pay your SWIFT invoices by direct debit on our website. 

4. Can I select the currency to be invoiced?

No. We send an invoice to you in either euro (EUR) or US dollars (USD). To find out the currency that you are invoiced, contact your region’s commercial administrator.

5. What should I do if I do not have a bank account to make invoice payments in EUR or USD?

Open a EUR bank account in one of the SEPA countries or a USD bank account.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to our International Drawdown (IDD) service. This service requires you to have either a EUR or a USD account with one of the banks that participate in this service. Find out more about our IDD service.
For more information, contact SWIFT Treasury by email at Treasury.Generic@swift.com or by phone on +32 2 655 3567.

6. When will my direct debit service be activated?

For EUR direct debit, we will activate the service when the completed form is approved by your correspondent bank.
For USD direct debit, we will carry out a debit test of USD 0.10 on your new account. If this test is successful, your account will be activated. The activation procedure can take up to a month to complete.
If you are connected to the SWIFT network, you will receive a notification of activation through an MT 999. If not, you will receive the notification by mail or fax. 

7. What happens to invoices that are pending after the activation of the direct debit?

When your direct debit is activated, we automatically deduct the payment for all invoices from your account. This includes invoices that are pending, and new invoices that become due.

If you are charged twice during the activation process, use the Case Manager to get a refund.

8. How can I find out the total amount of my invoice?

We send a notification seven days before the value date of the direct debit. If you are connected to the SWIFT network, you will receive this notification through an MT 999. If not, you will receive the notification by mail or fax.

The notification shows the total amount to be debited, the invoice numbers and amounts, and the direct debit value date.

You can also see your invoices on our Billing Services page. 

9. What if I have a dispute on an invoice?

To report your dispute, use the Case Manager. The invoice can be blocked for direct debit within 30 days of the invoice date. After 30 days, and after an investigation by SWIFT, you will be issued either a credit note or a debit note. This will show on your next invoice. 

10. Can I print my invoices online?

Yes. You can print your invoices from the Billing Services page. 

11. How do I change my direct debit account?

For USD direct debit, contact SWIFT Treasury by one of the following methods:

Make sure you tell us:

  • your BIC code
  • your new account number for direct debit
  • the name of your correspondent bank and its ABA number
  • the closing date of your old account

We will then carry out a debit test of USD 0.10 on your new account. If this test is successful, your new account will be activated.
For EUR direct debit, you must complete a new direct debit form, which can be found here.

12. How do I close my direct debit account?

To close your direct debit account, contact SWIFT Treasury by one of the following methods:

Make sure that you tell us the closing date for your direct debit.

We will send a confirmation when your direct debit account is closed. You will then need to make manual payments to the accounts shown on the relevant invoices.