Known Payment and Direct Debit Issues


Hello everyone! As you may know, there’s a few merchants which are having trouble accepting Starling cards/accounts, so we wanted to give you a few more details about what’s going on. James, from our Operations team, explains more here…

Acceptance issues

Acceptance issues are when the merchant’s acquirer has not updated their systems to include our BIN range, and thus Starling cards will not be accepted. Acceptance issues with smaller merchants are regularly being raised with Mastercard.

Had a problem using your card with a merchant which isn’t on our list? Let our Customer Service team know and we’ll look into it. We are keen to continually liaise with Mastercard in order for our card to be accepted with all merchants!

Acceptance issues can also arise with Direct Debits. We continually raise these with the Direct Debit service provider once we are made aware of these; so if you’ve had a problem setting up a Direct Debit with a merchant, please get in touch with our Customer Service team so we can get it resolved!

Direct Debits failing post-switch

If one of your Direct Debit fails after using the Current Account Switch Service, it may be due to the following two things which are out of our control.

For a full switch, all the active Direct Debits you had set up at your old bank switch across to Starling. For a partial switch, you can select which Direct Debits you want to switch across to us.

When we, as your new bank, are notified of a Direct Debit being transferred, we send an ‘ADDACS advice’. This is a message sent to the service user of that Direct Debit via BACS. This ADDACS advice contains both your existing and new details, and instructs the service user to update their records and collect any future payments from your new Starling account.

Two things could happen:

  1. The service user ignores the ADDACS advice and takes no action. They continue to attempt to collect payments from your old bank account. For full switches, this won’t impact you because BACS would redirect the Direct Debit to us. But for partial switches, there is no redirection, so the Direct Debit will just be unpaid by your old bank.

  2. The service user cancels the instruction following receipt of the ADDACS advice and creates a new one, instead of updating the original one. Therefore when they send Starling a payment request on the new instruction, we do not have the same instruction reference (which you have authorised as part of your switch) and so we cannot process the payment. So in effect Starling receives a payment request that we are not authorised to pay.

Merchants who have been reported to be handling your Direct Debit switch requests include:

  • Three
  • O2
  • EE
  • Santander Mortgage
  • Virgin Media
  • Virgin Money
  • Paypal

In both of the above cases, we are reporting the instance to BACS. There are also a number of things we are doing to better communicate this problem to you. These include:

  • On day 5 of your switch, in app you will be able to see that your Direct Debit has been set up (transferred) but not yet confirmed. We expect this to be confirmed within 10 working days.

  • Sending you a push notification when a merchant has confirmed your Direct Debit.

  • If your new Direct Debit has still been unconfirmed by the merchant after 10 working days, we send you a push notification recommending you to contact the merchant to avoid missing a payment.

  • For new users of the service, we are also making copy changes in app to advise that confirmation can take between 4 and 10 days, and recommend choosing to switch at a time when you know a payment is not due within the 10 days. This will hopefully prevent any payments being missed or going unpaid.

We hope this helps explain this Direct Debit issue. This isn’t exclusive to Starling - all banks will have the same issues with the same service users. Most switches operate smoothly without any problems, however if one of your Direct Debits does fail post-switch, please get in touch with our Customer Service team and we’ll resolve this as soon as possible!

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