The direct debit (also called direct debit ) is a payment instrument in cashless payment transactions in which the payee can collect a claim based on a mandate from the payer , which is done by crediting the account with the payee and then debiting the payer's account by means of book money transfer .
Participants in the direct debit are the creditor as the payee, his account-keeping bank as the “first collection agency” and the debtor as the payer and his account-keeping institute as the “ paying agent ”.
In contrast to bank transfers , the payment process for direct debit is not initiated by the debtor, but by the payee who, as the first collection agency, gives his bank the order to collect a direct debit. The process is also referred to as "direct debit submission", the payee accordingly as the "direct debit submitter". The submission can be made on the forms provided for this purpose (“direct debit receipt”), using the data carrier exchange procedure or online via remote data transmission . Adjustments are required so that the direct debit can also be used in the SEPA environment. The direct debit procedure is aligned with the security advantages of the standing order , where the initiation, as with the transfer, also comes from the payer. The main difference between direct debits and standing orders is that the latter includes a fixed amount; direct debits can also contain variable amounts.
Since November 1, 2010, all credit institutions in the EU have been obliged to support the SEPA direct debit (passive, i.e. it must be possible to collect the bank's accounts). Transitional regulations for the EL (electronic direct debit) procedure were in effect until February 1, 2016, taking into account the German accompanying law. After these transitional periods had expired, the national direct debit procedures no longer existed.
In Germany around 48% of all cashless payment transactions are processed via direct debit, which makes Germany the country with the highest direct debit usage in Europe. In terms of transaction volume, it is the second most important payment instrument after the transfer, and in terms of the number of transactions it is even the most important:
|Payment instrument||Volume in €||proportion of||Transactions||proportion of|
|Transfers||57,058,258 million||80.9%||6,272 million pieces||31.5%|
|Direct debits||13,089,319 million||18.6%||9,932 million pieces||49.8%|
|checks||198,644 million||0.3%||32 million pieces||0.2%|
|Debit cards / electronic cash||164,709 million||0.2%||2,952 million pieces||14.8%|
|Credit cards||59,083 million||0.1%||714 million pieces||3.6%|
|E-money function||108 million||0.0%||32 million pieces||0.2%|
|total||70,570,121 million||100%||19,934 million pieces||100%|
For SEPA direct debits, the material and legal provisions of the payment service law ( BGB ) and formally the special terms and conditions for direct debits apply . The direct debit agreement is to be used between the credit institutions . In addition, in July 2010 the BGH standardized the case law on direct debit authorization in insolvency and showed a way to further develop direct debit direct debits into (pre) authorized payments. In this, the BGH has confirmed that the direct debit authorization procedure can be reproduced by the banking industry with legal effect in the GTC since the new payment service law came into force ( Paragraph 1, Paragraph 1, Paragraph 2, Paragraph 4 BGB) .
A prerequisite for participation in the direct debit procedure is an existing giro contract in accordance with German Civil Code (BGB) between the payee and his credit institution (first collection agency; collection relationship ) and between the debtor who is obliged to pay and his credit institution (paying agent; coverage ratio ). The law expressly provides that the payment order is issued to the payer's payment service provider “directly or indirectly through the payee” (Section 675f (3) sentence 2 BGB). In accordance with Section A No. 2.4 of the Special Conditions for Direct Debit, objections by the payer to direct debit can be raised six weeks after the invoice has been closed.
According to No. 9, Paragraph 1 of the General Terms and Conditions of Banks, the direct debits submitted by the payee are credited before they are redeemed, subject to their redemption (“ reserved ”). If checks or direct debits are not redeemed after this, the bank may reverse the reserved credits even after the invoice has been closed ( cancellation ). Direct debits and checks are deemed to have been cashed if the debit is not reversed no later than the second bank working day after the debit entry (No. 9 (2) General Terms and Conditions banks). The direct debit order can be derived from Paragraph 3 Clause 2 BGB and BGB, according to which the bank should redeem direct debits from certain creditors. The direct debit authorization is only marginally covered by BGB, because the core of the new banking contract law is missing, namely the payment order from a debtor to his paying agent.
Direct debits are particularly suitable for periodically recurring payment obligations from continuing obligations (such as rents , loan repayments , taxes ). The creditor of these contractual relationships submits the direct debit for his claim on the basis of the authorization of his debtor to the first collection agency, which gives the creditor a provisional credit "reserved for receipt" and submits the direct debit to the paying agent. The paying agent redeems the direct debit with the consent ( authorization ) of the debtor by debiting the account. Without authorization, the debit according to Paragraph 1 Clause 1 BGB is ineffective and must be reversed. In the case of the direct debit authorization procedure, the effectiveness of the debit depends on the debtor approving it to his paying agent ( sentence 2 BGB). In the absence of giro-contractual instructions, the paying agent in the cover relationship is not entitled to a claim for reimbursement of expenses in accordance with BGB until the debtor has approved the unauthorized debiting of his account in accordance with Section 684 sentence 2 BGB.
Direct debit authorization and direct debit order
The two classic types of direct debit, the direct debit authorization and the direct debit order , will be abolished in the EU because they are considered too insecure. The SEPA (basic) direct debit and the SEPA corporate direct debit remain . The previous distinction between direct debit and direct debit will no longer apply.
The previous direct debit authorization procedure may only be used for payments that are generated at a point of sale with the help of a payment card (electronic direct debit procedure) . It is still used by various merchants because it is cheaper than card payments .
- Germany: Since February 1, 2016, the direct debit authorization procedure without a payment card is no longer permitted.
- The direct debit procedure no longer exists since February 2014.
- In Austria, the changeover to SEPA took place on February 1, 2014.
Validity of the SEPA direct debit scheme
SEPA direct debits are available throughout the European Payments Area (SEPA). This includes all 28 members of the European Union (including the French overseas departments of Guadeloupe , French Guiana , Martinique , Réunion , Mayotte (since March 31, 2011) and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon , the Canary Islands belonging to Spain , the exclaves Ceuta and Melilla and the Portuguese islands of Azores and Madeira ). The European Payments Area also includes Switzerland , Monaco and San Marino , as well as the three other countries of the European Economic Area Iceland , Liechtenstein and Norway . For the non-EEA members Switzerland, Monaco and San Marino, however, the special situation applies that they are bound to the SEPA regulations, but not to the EU regulations and EU directives. Since July 1, 2013, Croatia has also been a new member of the European Union .
The British Channel Islands Jersey and Guernsey , the Isle of Man , the Danish Faroe Islands and Greenland do not belong to the European Payments Area . Furthermore, although they use the euro as their national currency, participating countries are not Kosovo and Montenegro or the small states of Andorra and Vatican City , but the dependent areas Gibraltar and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are .
There are other payment habits outside of the European payment area. In the US, payments are made through three main payment instruments, namely cash, check, and credit card. The share of check payments in all cashless transactions fell in the USA from 32% (2006) to 22.5% (2009), while the share of debit card payments from 26.3% (2006) to 34.8% (2009) increased; the credit card share remained at around 20%. In 2006 , the debit card replaced the check as the most widely used cashless payment method in the USA. Overall, credit and debit card payments, automated clearing house (ACH) payments and electronic benefit transfers (EBT) accounted for around two thirds of all cashless payments.
Types of SEPA direct debit
Since November 2009, SEPA payment transactions have provided bank customers with two direct debit procedures:
- The Direct Debit ( SEPA Core Direct Debit / SEPA Direct Debit CORE ) contains many familiar elements for consumers from the German collection authorization direct debit.
- The Direct Debit ( SEPA Business to Business Direct Debit, SEPA Direct Debit B2B ) granted irrevocable payments from customers and is similar to the former debit order procedure.
SEPA core direct debit
Due to the regulations for the SEPA core direct debit, recurring and one-off direct debits must be received by the paying agent one day before the due date. A SEPA core direct debit can be objected to within eight weeks of the account debited so that the debited amount is credited again. In the event of an unauthorized payment, the payer can request reimbursement of the direct debit amount within 13 months of the debit.
Before the changes on November 20, 2016, the deadline for submitting direct debits to the payment service provider (ZDL) was five days for the one-time or first-time recurring basic direct debit, and two days for the following recurring days. The meaning of the value CORE has been changed to D-1. The obsolete express letter COR1 was abolished with the change.
SEPA B2B direct debit
One-off, first-time or subsequent direct debits must be received by the paying agent one day before the due date in accordance with the SEPA regulations for SEPA B2B direct debits. With the SEPA B2B direct debit, there is no possibility of contradicting the direct debit, as the paying agent is obliged to check the mandate data for compliance with the payment in hand before the debit. Since the SEPA B2B direct debit can only be used by customers who are not consumers , the right to reimbursement under (1) BGB may be for this type of procedure ( (4) BGB in conjunction with Section D. No. 2.1 . 1 at the end).
SEPA direct debit mandate
In accordance withParagraph 1, Clause 1 of the German Civil Code, the decisive for the effectiveness of the payment transaction is whether the debtor has consented to it (authorization). This authorization of the payment transaction can take place in advance or - if agreed between the debtor and his bank - also subsequently by mandate (Section 675j Paragraph 1 Clause 2 BGB). If there is no mandate, it is an unauthorized direct debit. An unauthorized direct debit can be returned by the debtor within 13 months after the account was debited.
The "Special Conditions for Direct Debit" revised in October 2009 stipulate that the payment by direct debit in the SEPA direct debit procedure to the paying agent is authorized in advance with the issuing of the SEPA direct debit mandate (Section C. and D. each No. 2.2 . 1). The SEPA mandate not only includes - like the direct debit authorization (Section A. No. 2. 1. 1) - the authorization of the payee to collect the amount from the debtor's account, but also the general transfer to the paying agent, which to redeem the SEPA direct debit drawn by the payee on the debtor's account (Section C. and D. No. 2. 2. 1, respectively). According to the new terminology of the law, this instruction contains the payment order in accordance with(3) sentence 2 BGB. The payment order to be sent to the paying agent is sent to the paying agent in the SEPA direct debit procedure by the payee as a messenger (cf. BGB) via his credit institution. If the payment order is sent to the paying agent in this way, it becomes effective ( (1) sentence 1 BGB). Since the payment order issued in advance as a general instruction still needs to be specified, the payer with the mandate also authorizes the payee to specify this by submitting a numbered direct debit.
Types of SEPA mandate
The regulations of the European Payments Committee (EPC) provide for three types of mandate for SEPA:
- the paper-based mandate with the debtor's handwritten signature;
- The EPC's e-mandate: This form of mandate is a voluntary service provided by the banks and is not offered by the Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft ;
- the electronic mandate with a secure signature. The German banking industry is obliged by the EPC rules to support this type of mandate. At the meeting of the German SEPA Council on August 21, 2013, it was confirmed that the previous business practice for the redemption of direct debits based on direct debit mandates issued on the Internet will not change.
Effective online mandate issuing in Germany
In EU Regulation No. 260/2012, the written form is required when issuing a SEPA mandate. The final national regulation is defined in(2) BGB. According to the German Civil Code (BGB), telecommunication transmission is sufficient to maintain the written form required by the EU regulation, provided that the parties involved have no objection. In addition to the creditor and the payer, banks are involved in a transaction. They must adhere to the rules of the European Payments Council, the SEPA Direct Debit Core Rulebook . This set of rules contains a recommendation (not an instruction) to the banks to accept the SEPA direct debit mandates in printed and hand-signed form. Thus, the individual banks can decide whether to accept mandates issued online. Both the German SEPA Council and the Federal Government in the Bundestag spoke out in favor of this conclusion in a press release.
Features of the SEPA mandate
Certain characteristics are associated with the SEPA mandate:
- It contains the express instruction of the debtor to his paying agent to redeem certain one-off or recurring direct debits (has also been applicable to national direct debits since July 9, 2012 due to changes in the general terms and conditions of all banks). Due to the SEPA mandate, the collection of the SEPA direct debit is always considered an authorized payment according to debit is fundamentally unauthorized (since July 9, 2012, due to the change in the general terms and conditions of all banks, this also applies to national direct debits). Paragraph 1 BGB, whereas a direct
- The SEPA mandate indicates that a SEPA core direct debit can be returned within eight weeks (since July 9, 2012, due to changes in the general terms and conditions of all banks, this also applies to national direct debits).
- If the payer contests the mandate, the creditor must deliver the SEPA mandate to the payer via the bank.
- If the SEPA mandate is not used for 36 months, it will expire. In general, the reference for the SEPA mandate (e.g. the signature of the debtor) must be saved by the payee.
- SEPA mandates can be changed (so-called "mandate versions"). The administration of these mandate versions can take place over several versions (current and future) - this is u. a. realized with the help of referencing.
Content of the SEPA direct debit mandate
The content of a SEPA direct debit mandate is specified by the "SEPA Direct Debit Core Rulebook" from the European Payments Council (EPC):
- Mandate reference (assigned by the creditor)
- Name and logo of the creditor
- Authorization by the payer: direct debit authorization and instructions for redemption to the payer's bank
- Reference to the right to reimbursement of 8 weeks
- Details of the payer
- Further information on the creditor
- Payment type: one-time or recurring
- Place and date of signature
- Signature of the payer
- Information on the contractual relationship between the creditor and the payer
SEPA direct debit advance information
The advance information is an informal announcement that the account will be debited from the upcoming SEPA direct debit. The obligee must inform the payer of the time of the debit to the account and the amount, for example by means of a note on the invoice. The prior information gives the payer time to prepare for the debit and to keep his account sufficiently covered. The deadline for the advance information is usually 14 calendar days before the due date of the direct debit and can be shortened to a minimum of one day in consultation with the payer, for example by adding an invoice.
In the case of recurring direct debits with unchanged amounts (e.g. magazine subscriptions), the direct debit only needs to be announced once - before the first debit. In order to be able to determine and specify the exact time of debiting the account, the submission deadline to the bank must be observed.
According to the principles of the fulfillment of a monetary debt , the claim on which the direct debit is based is only fulfilled with unconditional credit to the account of the payee - with a condition for dissolution . With an unconditional credit, the payee obtains the necessary unrestricted power of disposal over the payment amount. There are no changes in the collection relationship between the creditor and his bank in the SEPA procedure. In the case of the collection of the claim by direct debit, the debtor does not effect the originally owed cash payment with the account credit, but instead gives the creditor a claim for payment against his first collection agency. Such a legal contractual performance agreement can be subject to a dissolving condition, so that the legal consequence of performance does not apply in the event that the condition occurs. However, in the SEPA core direct debit procedure - unlike in the SEPA business-to-business direct debit procedure ( Paragraph 4 BGB in conjunction with Section D. No. 2.1.1 at the end) - the creditor only has a finally secured legal position eight weeks after the debit entry attained. Up to this point in time, the debtor can request reimbursement of the payment amount from his bank without giving reasons ( Paragraph 1, Paragraph 2, Paragraph 4 BGB in conjunction with Section C. No. 2.5 Paragraph 1 ).
Since the debtor cannot determine the amount or the time of payment in the direct debit procedure, his account-keeping paying agent grants him a right of revocation. The revocation is finally regulated in cancellation ). If the objection is made within eight weeks of the debit entry, the paying agent can return the direct debit in an interbank relationship (Section III No. 1 and 2 of the direct debit agreement); the collection agency then debits the creditor's account with the amount previously credited, including return debit fees. In the case of company direct debits , the right of revocation under Paragraph 2 BGB in conjunction with Paragraph 4 BGB can be excluded, with the consequence that a direct debit debited from the payer's account is not possible. Claims by the debtor against the recipient of the payment can generally be asserted within three years ( limitation period ; BGB). bgbParagraph 2 Clause 1, BGB, provided that at least one consumer is involved. According to the unambiguous wording, BGB the debtor an independent claim as an active reciprocal right, which does not omit the authorization of the payment transaction. In the same way, § 675p (4) sentence 1 BGB does not give the option of extending the deadline for revoking the payment order through a contractual agreement between the debtor and the debtor bank in the case of direct debits. If the payer refuses approval by contradicting the debit entry, the paying agent must correct this debit (
Direct debit return
A direct debit that has not been redeemed is known as a direct debit return. It is posted back between the banks involved according to a procedure defined in the direct debit agreement, debited again from the payee's account and credited back to the account of the debtor. Reasons for returning a direct debit are for example:
- The catchment account has no funds in the account on the account is not sufficient bank balance nor a sufficient credit line available.
- The specified account does not exist or has been closed.
- The account specified is a savings account .
- There is no direct debit order (only for the direct debit order procedure ).
- Return debit: the payer has objected to the direct debit (only for the direct debit authorization procedure ).
The payee is usually informed of the reason for a returned direct debit, for example in the event of an objection by printing the text "Presented and not paid due to objection". However, if the direct debit is not carried out due to insufficient funds , often only “presented and not paid” is printed out.
Direct Debit Return Fees
Generally, there are bank charges for direct debit returns. The banks regulate the exact distribution of these between the payee and debtor in accordance with local legislation. If there was a collection agreement with the payee at the time the direct debit was submitted, the payee will be able to claim the expenses and expenses incurred from the payer as compensation. In Germany, a bank is not allowed to charge a debtor for a direct debit return. In the event of a legitimate but unsuccessful collection attempt, the debtor may only charge the debtor the actual costs of a return debit; These are usually the fees charged between the banks involved (according to the direct debit agreement, a maximum of three euros) and the fees that the bank charges the payee, but not the workload for the payee. For the notification that a direct debit could not be redeemed from the account of the payer, no fee may be charged, unless it is a SEPA direct debit for which notification fees may be agreed.
Change of terms and conditions
The changes to the terms and conditions of the credit institutions that came into force on July 9, 2012 apply to both past direct debit authorizations and those issued after the change to the terms and conditions. It should be noted that the creditor must inform the debtor in writing before the first SEPA core direct debit collection about the change from direct debit collection to SEPA core direct debit collection. The "EU Regulation No. 260/2012" ("SEPA Regulation") provides for a regulation on mandate migration. However, this will only apply in cases in which there are no corresponding national regulations or other customer agreements. The latter took place in Germany with the cited amendment to the terms and conditions. The ordinance accompanies the GTC amendment and ensures legal certainty in cases in which the GTC amendment should not have taken effect. The ordinance came into force on March 31, 2012; In 2014 it was changed by reformulating a transitional provision and adding two additional transitional provisions.
These GTC changes do not include the direct debit orders issued in the direct debit procedure. This means that it is necessary to obtain a new SEPA B2B direct debit mandate. Therefore, the payee and the debtor have to agree on using either the SEPA core or the SEPA B2B direct debit scheme. A corresponding direct debit mandate must be obtained from the debtor.
Abuse of the direct debit system
The direct debit procedure can be used with fraudulent intent, both for obtaining credit ( direct debiting ) and as an unauthorized direct debit in the expectation that the debited account holder will not notice this. Both are punishable as fraud . It is also punishable for a payer to pretend that he intends to pay as a fraudulent transaction if he is unwilling to pay the direct debit and knows that his current account will not be covered on the day of the debit. This is the case , for example, if the debit is made immediately after an order has been placed .
For the handling of a correction of incorrect direct debits, the differences in contract law according to BGB and HGB between the action of a consumer as the payer and the action of a merchant as the payee must be observed. The payee is usually a merchant:
- The consumer can express a general revocation of the direct debit authorization procedure to the merchant by means of a simple one-off declaration. If the merchant as the payee does not respond, this revocation remains unchallenged. In this case, a new debit is not an objection by the payee, but behavior contrary to the contract with the threat of fraud.
- A merchant as the payer can also give his consent for each individual process by tacit tolerance. He must therefore expressly and again declare his consent or his objection in writing for every action by the other merchant as the payee.
The burden of proof is regulated as follows:
- The payee must prove the payer's consent (copy sufficient).
- The debtor must prove that the declaration of cancellation has been served (registered mail recommended).
- Both contractual partners must agree to the cancellation in writing (copy of the agreement).
In order to prevent misuse of internet payments by direct debit, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) has tightened the minimum requirements for the security of internet payments, starting on November 5, 2015. Recently, online shop customers have had to double check their identity when paying. However, this only applies to purchases of more than 30 euros.
The direct debit procedure is possible in all SEPA participating countries. This includes all 28 members of the European Union (including the French overseas departments of Guadeloupe , French Guiana , Martinique , Réunion , Mayotte (since March 31, 2011) and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon , the Canary Islands belonging to Spain , the exclaves Ceuta and Melilla as well as the Portuguese archipelagos Azores and Madeira ). The SEPA also includes Switzerland , Monaco and San Marino , as well as the three other countries in the European Economic Area , Iceland , Liechtenstein and Norway . For the non-EEA members Switzerland, Monaco and San Marino, however, the special situation applies that they are bound to the SEPA regulations, but not to the EU regulations and EU directives. Since July 1, 2013, Croatia has also been a new member of the European Union .
The British Channel Islands Jersey and Guernsey , the Isle of Man , the Danish Faroe Islands and Greenland do not belong to the SEPA . Furthermore, although they use the euro as their national currency, participating countries are not Kosovo and Montenegro or the small states of Andorra and Vatican City , but the dependent areas Gibraltar and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are .
Colloquially, direct debit is generally used to describe the debiting of a bank account .
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