Be careful when resetting up Direct Debits


I have several direct debits on my Starling account and i was told by BT that I should cancel my direct debit while they were looking into a payment query! All went well and the direct debit wad canceled!

The trouble has been when setting up a direct debit as Starling systems keep denying the requests as the REFRENCE is the exact same as a previously canceled Direct Debit!!

BT say the REFRENCE has to be my BT account number and Starling say it needs to change, so I am stuck with BT who threaten charge me extra (Line Rental Plus whatever that is) and having to remember to pay each month on time!!

Never had this issue with the main banks but find this a major bad point with Starling!!


I was banging on about the problems with Starling and Direct Debits a couple of months ago.

It’s a shame they’ve not fixed it. The whole thing is poor in comparison to legacy banks. I thought it was just an inconvenience but, sadly, it affects customers like you.

They need to be plastering BETA across the website and the cards so that people understand that this is not yet a full alternative to your old bank.

But don’t worry, someone will be along in a moment to tell us they’re sure Starling takes it seriously and everything will be ok soon. :neutral_face:


Hi @Bluecandylover can you get in touch with the team via the app so that we can look into this and help out? We can potentially liaise with the Merchant to sort this out.


Would it not be advantageous to allow customers to use the same reference on a DDM? Not allowing them to do so is arbitrary and different to every other bank I’ve used.

“Liaising with the merchant” implies it is somehow BT’s problem when it is clearly not.


To be fair…I reset a DD to my car insurance (in error) its reset up with exact same reference with no issue as yet…


I’ve been in contact with customer services on multiple occasions, each time they say they will speak to the direct debit team (or similar department)… Then come back to me and say they can’t help me.


That’s great, but I’m struggling to see how that helps the original poster?

Two issues here:

  • Starling’s app is preventing the customer from resolving this theirselves
  • the payment functionality has needed a comprehensive overhaul for a long time now


If only they told people they were in BETA and that things like this could/would happen so as to give you the choice of if you wanted to fully switch or not, personally you should take that second line and make Starling pay for it until they can resolve this issue that or go back to your old account where you never had these issues.

Seems like Starling will be costing you if this is not resolved…


I didn’t say it did. I said I had what sounds like same issue but it went through ok.

We set up SO not DD from the app? Doesn’t sound like an app specific issue…does it?


Here’s the correspondence from Starling…


Have you asked if that is a standard thing? Why can’t starling just😟


You set up a standing order. The original poster talks about a direct debit mandate. Seems you may be talking about a different thing which adds little clarity to the original issue described.


No not at all. You have said Starling App is preventing the customer resolving it themselves.

You can’t edit a reference on a Direct Debit. That is a merchant instruction to your bank. You can edit the reference on a Standing Order.

This is a background issue, not app.


Yes, that’s right. It is an issue, nevertheless. Issues also exist in respect of standing orders and references set up from the App.

Either way, the customer is suffering over an issue that exists between the Bank and the merchant with no prospect of a solution.


In fact, the answer to my point is that I resolved the error in under two months which let them reinstate it. By all accounts.

I don’t understand why the two month timeline, that’s odd.


I’m actually at the point where I’m CONCIDERING going to a legacy bank! As Starling isn’t 100% yet, with Direct Debits… I find it difficult to pay the rent due to the lack of Mastercard SecureCode and the odd decline for E.g EE etc (when paying via card)


I would agree. That’s too many issues. We all just want an easy life not having to call around to make sure payments go through…


Seems to be pretty poor from Starling if they can’t do this, as direct debits will usually have the same reference number. They should accept it’s their poor software writing and fix it.


I moved a Direct Debit over to Starling as a test and recently moved it back out. So what Starling are saying is when they finally add Partial CASS to Android I’m not going to be able to move this back again because, like BT, they use my account number as the reference?

Absolutely ridiculous!


I think you’re being a bit of the top there. This is clearly a mistake and will be rectified. Also I’d imagine there are a million and 1 things that are higher priority than facilitating people switching direct debits for testing