A Direct Debit is an instruction from a customer to their bank or building society authorising an organisation to collect varying amounts from their account. The merchant must give advanced notice of the collection amounts and dates to the customer.
The merchant (or third party provider) captures and submits this authorisation to the your bank on your behalf. Your bank automatically debits your account based on details provided by the merchant.
To protect you from unscrupulous merchants, there are certain conditions that the merchant has to meet. These are detailed in the Direct Debit Guarantee. For example, advance notice of the amounts and dates of collection.
So, if the merchant you are paying wants to change an amount or date of collection, they have to tell you about it first in advance.
Direct Debit is a simple and convenient way for you to pay regular and occasional bills.